Do you like your stuff? All your clothes, furniture, electronics, and the like? How about your money? If so, and if you rent your home, you need renters insurance. Period. Without it, all those nice things you bought with your hard-earned cash could disappear—poof!—should your apartment be burgled or damaged by fire or water. Need further convincing? Below are eight things you might not know about renting and renters insurance.
1. RENTERS INSURANCE CAN COVER YOUR BELONGINGS OUTSIDE YOUR HOME…
If you’re at all familiar with renters insurance, you probably already know that even the most basic plans cover most of your personal property. Should your valuables be damaged or stolen, your renters insurance can reimburse you either their actual cash value (the amount they’re worth at the time of their damage) or their replacement cost (the amount it will cost you to buy a new one), depending on your coverage.
But did you know that—in certain cases—renters insurance also protects your belongings when you take them out of your home? If your laptop is stolen from your hotel room or your bicycle is stolen from the bike rack, they may still be covered (since renters insurance covers theft).
2. …AND IN YOUR CAR.
So, does that mean you’re covered if your purse is stolen from your car? In most cases, yep! While your renters insurance won’t cover the cost of any damage done to the car itself—that’s what your car insurance is for—belongings kept in your car are usually safe.
3. IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO CATALOGUE YOUR BELONGINGS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.
Should you be the victim of a break-in or fire, you’ll want to have an inventory of your personal belongings on hand. You can download an app like Allstate’s Digital Locker to take and store photos of all your items so you’ll know exactly what needs replacing.
4. YOU CAN PURCHASE ADDITIONAL INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR YOUR VALUABLES.
Did your engagement ring fall to the bottom of the ocean (on your honeymoon, no less), or did you leave your new digital camera at the airport? If you plan ahead, you may be covered.
For high value items, such as an engagement ring or other jewelry, art, musical instruments, or cameras, you might want to consider purchasing additional coverage for those items. This will not only give you peace of mind within your home, but may cover you in the event that you lose or misplace the item (even if it’s not stolen, as with the instances of theft mentioned above).
5. YOUR RENTERS INSURANCE CAN PROTECT YOU…
Renters insurance doesn’t just cover your stuff, it also covers you. If a guest is injured in your home (trips down the stairs, for instance), your renters insurance may help pay for some of their medical bills if you are found to be liable—so you’re not stuck shelling out the grand total.
6. AND FIDO, TOO.
The liability coverage of many renters insurance policies extends to injuries inflicted by your pet. So, if your cuddly cocker spaniel bites your mother-in-law or your cat takes a swipe at your nephew, your policy will help cover the cost of the injured party’s medical bills. Of course, there are exceptions to this coverage, including dog breeds considered “high risk,” and every policy is different, so check the details of your policy before it’s too late.
7. IT CAN BE AN ANTIDOTE FOR YOUR ACCIDENT-PRONE KID.
With many renters insurance policies, that liability coverage extends to damage caused by you and any other insured persons in your household. If your kid throws a baseball through the neighbor’s window, for instance, or your bathtub leaks into the downstairs apartment, your insurance policy can help cover the cost of the repairs.
8. YOUR POLICY MAY HELP YOU THROUGH A TOUGH TIME.
Should your home be rendered unlivable due to fire, smoke, or water damage (this will vary by policy), your renters insurance policy will help cover some reasonable living expenses you incur by moving into temporary housing. This can include hotel bills and potentially increased food costs—if, for instance, your hotel room has no kitchen and you’re forced to order takeout instead.