Renters Insurance 101

Do you really need Renters insurance? The short answer is yes - simply because stuff happens that is completely out of your control. Someone steals your laptop, you're hosting a party and someone falls and is injured, or your apartment is damaged by fire and you need temporary housing - you would be financially responsible for all of these scenarios if you didn't have a Renters insurance policy. When you rent an apartment or a house, the landlord will have an insurance policy that protects the actual dwelling ( walls, roof, etc.), but you are responsible if you, or a visitor get injured, or your personal property is damaged due to a number of causes. Purchasing a Renters policy creates a contract between you and an insurance company, where the insurance company will reimburse you for your loss in the event of a claim.

How much coverage should you have? To make sure you have enough insurance to protect your personal property, look at everything you own - mattress, electronics, dishes, furniture, jewelry, and even socks, and make an inventory of their value. Then ask yourself, "Do I have enough money to replace everything if I lost it?" The average renter in a two- bedroom apartment has about $30,000 worth of personal items.

What's my landlord responsible for? Your landlord will have separate property insurance that could vary depending on the company they are insured with, but generally speaking that insurance policy only covers the building itself. Your landlord is not responsible for your personal property if it's destroyed or stolen. That's what a Renters insurance policy is for.

What's covered? There are three components to a Renters policy: personal property, loss of use and liability.

  • Personal property refers to your belongings. Your policy covers your belongings from things like power surges, fire, vandalism, theft and other events out of your control.
  • Loss of Use covers the cost of the hotel, food and other expenses that you incur in case you can't live in your apartment due to a covered event.
  • Liability pays for bodily injury and property damage caused by your negligence, such as when your dog gets loose and bites the mailman, or your bathtub overflows and damages the apartment below.

How much does it cost? Price varies by state, liability limit, and the amount of personal property that you want to cover. A typical Renters insurance policy has a $30,000 limit for personal property, and a $100,000 limit for liability. The cost of a basic Renters insurance policy is $15-$30 per month. That's a small price to pay for the peace of mind you'll have knowing you're covered.

There are several contributing factors that will impact the price of Renters insurance, including:

  • Location - your zip code is an important factor in determining the cost of Renters insurance.
  • Type of residence - the larger the building and number of units can determine the amount of your premium.
  • In some states, your insurance score could also factor into the cost of insurance.
  • Owning a dog could result in a higher rate.
  • The amount of coverages that you select will determine what your rate is. A higher deductible means a lower rate.
  • Bundling your Renters policy with your Auto insurance policy can save you money.

How do you choose the right deductible? Your deductible is the amount of money that you would pay if you have a claim. That means if you have a $500 deductible and have a $3,000 claim, you would pay $500 and the insurance company would pay $2,500. When choosing your deductible, consider how much you can afford to pay out of pocket if you have a claim. Your deductible should never be higher than that amount, because if something happens, that's the portion for which you will be responsible.

How to purchase a Renters policy from Stillwater:

  • Online: It's quick and easy. We ask a few questions and you'll have a quote in two minutes. You can purchase the policy instantly.
  • Call us at (855) 712-4092. Our licensed reps are available Monday through Friday from 8am-9pm ET, and 8am-3pm ET on Saturday.
  • Visit a local independent agent. Click here to find an agent near you.