Learn: Renters Insurance

If catastrophe struck tomorrow, could you afford to replace everything you own? Or if you were sued, would you have enough money to pay legal fees and possibly settle the suit? If not, chances are you would benefit from the protection that renters insurance brings.

Why Renter’s Insurance?

Renters insurance offers the same general personal property coverage and liability protection as a home owner policy. Thus, your camera is insured while you are on vacation, and you are covered if your grandfather clock crashes into the apartment lobby’s wall and leaves a gaping hole. In fact, most policies are surprisingly extensive and may include additional living expenses (also called loss-of-use coverage) if you are forced by fire or other damage to live elsewhere.

Isn’t my apartment covered under my landlord’s policy?

No, the landlord’s insurance covers damage to the building and the landlord’s property, not your personal property or liability. Plus, you may be liable for damage to the building if it is your fault. If you go out and leave the stove on and an ensuing fire causes extensive damage to the entire building, you may be held liable to the landlord.

I live in an apartment with three roommates. Do we each need a renters insurance policy?

Check with your agent. Usually, it is best if all roommates are on the same policy although it is possible for each to purchase his or her own coverage. If they are not named, they (and their possessions) are likely not covered. If you do need to “go it alone,” you alone receive the security of renters coverage.

I own a condo. How is my policy different?

Condo owners insurance provides coverage for some situations specific to condominium unit owners.

Usually, the condominium association buys insurance to cover the property (building and structures) and liability coverage for the general association. If you own a condominium unit, you may be responsible for covering from the “walls in” on your unit. That includes cabinets, fixtures, built in appliances, shelves, flooring, as well as your personal property and the interior of your unit (whatever area is excluded from the condo association’s policy) as well as for your personal liability.

Sometimes, condo owners are assessed by their condo association for losses “outside the walls” that were not completely covered by the association’s policy. For example, if the clubhouse is destroyed and the condo association did not have it insured, you could be assessed for a “share” amount needed to replace it. If you wish, check with your agent about adding such “loss assessment coverage” to your condo owners policy.

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