If you are renting a house, an apartment, or another place and paying monthly for it, you think that you may not need insurance at all. But what if your landlord isn’t there to check your unit regularly, or that his policies don’t cover your own personal belongings as his tenants?
It is recommended that homeowners purchase insurance to cover the house and their belongings in case there is an issue such as flood, fire, or another act of God. Should those that live in apartments, townhouses, or other temporary dwellings depend upon others to insure their belongings in case of an accident? Of course not, and that’s why it is recommended that those renting should get renters insurance.
Consider these “what if’s?”
What if your place is burned down shortly after the time you left your apartment to do some shopping? What if a thief breaks into your flat? What if your visiting friend gets accidentally pinned down by the heavy chandelier in your living room? What if your apartment’s water system stops working and your belongings in the room get damaged? If you’ve never considered that something could happen, well, it’s time that you consider getting renter’s insurance.
What is renter’s insurance?
Renter’s insurance is an insurance policy which provides security for the apartment tenants as opposed to landlord insurance which provides security for the building itself. The tenant/homeowner who benefits from this insurance is called a policyholder. Renter’s insurance provides coverage for the policyholder’s belongings but the coverage does not include the whole dwelling or structure of the dwelling. There may be a small exception though, especially whenever a policyholder (tenant) wants to apply some alterations or modifications to his/her humble abode. Renter’s insurance applies to tenants who are renting an apartment, a duplex, a loft, a townhouse, or a studio. Depending upon where you live, you may also be able to get renter’s insurance for mobile homes.
This type of insurance covers your personal property, from your furniture and TV down to your computer, jewelry, and even your iPhone if you have one. Clothing and personal appliances you’ve purchases should also be covered.
In case a fire or a theft occurs in your unit, the owner of the building (landlord) is responsible for ensuring a tenant’s property but he is not responsible for the loss of the tenant’s personal belongings. The landlord is concerned only about the structure whereas the renter is concerned about the things they own.
Renter’s insurance also provides liability insurance. So what is a liability insurance then, you might ask? The following is an example:
Suppose a guest seriously injures himself by accidentally falling off from your apartment’s staircase because of a faulty stair rail, and he plans to press charges for your negligence. So to keep yourself from taking these matters to court, liability insurance is a must. It’s also an insurance policy that keeps the tenant safe from the risk of being sued and held legally liable for committing something such as negligence, malpractice, or injury to someone else – as long as it occurs within the premises. Of course, if you have written documentation that you have spoken to the landlord and asked them to fix the stair rail, the landlord’s insurance may come into play.If you ask if landlords can force their tenants to have renter’s insurance, it depends. Some landlords see it as a requirement for tenants to apply for renter’s insurance during the tenants’ stay in the buildings they manage. Some other leases do not require the tenants to have insurance at all. However, landlords may insert this requirement after the renter has been in the apartment or townhouse for a while and if the lease has been renewed.
Renter’s insurance is especially important for medium to large rental properties. Landlords express in their lease (a contractual agreement between the lessee [the tenant] and the lessor [landlord]) that their tenants should hold renter’s insurance. As stated earlier, with a renter’s insurance the landlord is not responsible for the tenant’s personal property although the latter is legally required to insure it.
It’s best to talk with an agent to get more detailed information on renter’s insurance, and hopefully, you will be able to arrive at a decision that this is the best way to protect you and your personal property.