Most people understand that owning a home requires the purchase of homeowners insurance. Many people, however, rent an apartment or a house long before they make the commitment to purchase their own home. Rental properties are insured by the property owner or landlord. The property is protected, but your personal belongings are not. If you are renting, the only way to ensure your possessions and personal property are protected is to purchase renters insurance. From your first apartment to long-term rental residences, renters insurance is the guaranteed way to protect your belongings.
Renters insurance is designed to replace or repair personal items that are damaged in situations that cause damages to the rental property. The landlord’s insurance will cover the damage to the building, but not your personal possessions. Disasters covered by renters insurance can vary. In general, most include fire, theft, riots, storms, and leaks. Just like standard homeowners insurance, renters insurance can also cover personal property located outside of the dwelling.
There are typically three categories of coverage. Personal property coverage protects personal belongings. Items like furniture, electronics, and clothing fall under this category. Should a fire in your building occur, personal property coverage will help you replace damaged furniture and clothing. Loss of use coverage works to provide an alternative dwelling if yours is temporarily unlivable. If the fire that damaged your furniture and clothing requires you to leave during repairs, loss of use insurance will provide funds that will allow you to stay somewhere else. Personal liability coverage pays for injuries that guests sustain while visiting. It also covers legal fees if you are sued for those injuries. An injured guest’s medical bills are usually paid as well. In the event that something in your dwelling damages another unit, those damages could be covered by liability insurance. Most policies focus on these main types of coverage to ensure you are protected.
Many insurance carriers also offer optional coverage. You can purchase additional coverage for disasters not typically listed. Floods and earthquakes fall into this category. Flood insurance usually has to be purchased separately. Coverage for expensive items is also available. You can purchase special or extra insurance to cover items like jewelry or electronics. These items are covered by your base policy but often exceed the limits outlined by your insurance. Special coverage allows you to extend those limits for more comprehensive coverage on your expensive possessions. In some cases, basic liability may not be enough to meet your needs. For example, dog owners may want added protection in the event their pet causes an injury. An umbrella insurance policy can offer even more liability insurance if you feel it is needed.
Renters insurance is recommended for anyone currently renting an apartment, condo, townhouse, or rental house. If you are currently a student or dependent, your parent’s homeowners insurance may extend coverage to you when you are living away from home. If this is the case, it does not usually offer the same coverage limits as the homeowners policy. That makes it a good idea to have a renters insurance policy to ensure you are fully covered. Renters are generally not required to purchase renters insurance in Texas. The landlord is required to insure the property, but remember this does not cover the personal property of the tenant. In many instances, landlords or rental property owners will require tenants to purchase renters insurance. It offers an extra level of protection for you and is usually cost effective. It is a best practice, even when not a requirement.
Once you have purchased your renters insurance policy, you do not have to do anything unless you have to file a claim. After you purchase your policy, you will probably want to complete a home inventory checklist. This list will be an asset if you need to make a claim later on. It is a document that helps you note all items in your rental and estimate their value. Completing this checklist prior to purchasing or finalizing your policy can also ensure you get the most accurate premium to cover all of your possessions. As you continue to accumulate belongings, keep receipts for newer items you purchase. Your receipts will be a valuable resource in tracking the property you want covered and its value. In the event you experience a fire, theft, or other event, call your insurance company to initiate the claim process. They will likely send an adjuster to evaluate your loss, but your receipts and checklist will be helpful to speed up the process. Remember that when you file a claim, there is likely a deductible. You will pay the deductible and the insurance company will cover the rest up to the limit of the policy.
Whether you are renting for the first time or for the long-term, Herring Insurance can work with you to find the best renters insurance policy to meet your needs. The security of knowing you are protected will help you rest easy.