Renters insurance provides you with extra security as a tenant. Generally, renters insurance covers the contents of your apartment if they’re stolen, damaged or destroyed by causes you can’t control, including theft, fire, power surges or water damage.
For example, in the event of theft or burglary, you can get reimbursed for anything that was lost or stolen that’s listed on your policy. While the damage to the actual property is the landlord’s responsibility, your personal property is not, so protecting yourself is critical.
What does renters insurance cover?
Every policy is different, but most renters insurance plans will cover the following:
- Belongings damaged, lost or stolen on the property
- Belongings damaged, lost or stolen off the property
- Damage from hail, fire, rain or wind
- Personal liability
- Lodging during repairs
The question is, what doesn’t renters insurance cover? Find out now so you can protect yourself as a tenant.
1. Bed bugs and pests
If you live in an old or unclean building, your renter’s insurance will likely not cover the damage done by the critters that live there. Renters insurance policies generally exclude bug infestations of any kind — including bed bugs, cockroaches and rodents. This also means any damage done to you or your belongings is not covered, either.
2. Flood or earthquake damage
If a leaky apartment pipe ruins your belongings, rental insurance will cover it. However, if there’s a flood, you’ll need separate insurance to be compensated for damages. Renters typically need to purchase separate flood insurance, in addition to earthquake insurance, to be covered in this event.
This is the case for earthquake-prone states, like California, too. If you do buy earthquake insurance, however, you’ll be covered for your personal belongings and the costs of living elsewhere while your apartment is being repaired.
3. High-end valuables
While most personal items can be included in your renters insurance policy, to cover high-cost items, you may need to purchase a “floater” or “endorsement.” This increases the amount of coverage past the $1,500 item maximum that most providers offer for jewelry or other expensive items that have been destroyed or lost.
4. Your vehicle
While renters insurance covers a bike as a personal belonging, it does not protect a vehicle. Automobiles are only covered with auto insurance, which can often be purchased by the same insurance company.
However, items stolen from your car while traveling may be protected. “Most renters policies include what is called off-premises coverage, which means belongings that are outside of your home are covered against the same disasters listed in your policy. For example, property stolen from your car or a hotel room while you’re traveling would be protected,” according to the Insurance Information Institute.
5. Your roommate’s property
Just because you live in the same apartment doesn’t mean that your renter’s insurance covers your roommate’s property. They may need to have their own policy to ensure that if something is lost or stolen from the apartment, it is, in fact, covered and reimbursable. Or, you may want to split the cost of renters insurance, depending on your financial circumstances and the value of your personal property.
Understand if you’re covered
Renters insurance provides affordable protection for your personal belongings when living in an apartment, but it won’t cover every possible scenario or every item you own. Be clear on your rental insurance policies before purchasing to ensure that you know what’s covered and where you need to purchase additional coverage.