Just because you're not ready to buy a house doesn't mean you don't need financial protection for yourself, your friends and family, and your stuff, too. Whether you're renting a tiny studio or a 3-bedroom house, renters insurance has your back if disaster (or a little bad luck) strikes.
What is renters insurance?
Renters insurance coverage protects you and your personal belongings when the worst happens.
While you may only be renting your apartment or house, chances are you own most of the stuff in it. And while your landlord's insurance policy on the home typically covers the building structure itself, protecting your valuables comes down to you.
What does renters insurance cover?
Not all renters policies are the same. But in general, renters insurance can cover:
Renters coverage can help you replace your belongings after a covered incident in your home, such as a fire or burglary. You may be surprised at how much everything in your pad is worth when you add it all up. The average renter owns about $20,000 in personal property and is 25 percent more likely to be burglarized than someone who owns a home. And the beauty of how renters insurance covers theft is that it protects your belongings anywhere in the world, whether they're stolen from the trunk of your car or your backpack in a Paris hostel.
If you're sued because someone was hurt in your apartment or because you (or someone covered under your policy) accidentally injured someone, renters insurance can provide liability coverage for legal costs. The limits of personal liability coverage vary, so check to see what your limits are when you get a quote.
Your renters policy can also help cover medical payments up to a certain limit if a guest or visitor is injured on your property — though it generally doesn't cover injuries to you or other household members.
Property damage to others
Rental insurance coverage for your apartment or house follows you wherever you go, so if you accidentally break or damage someone else's property, your policy can help pay to replace it.
Additional living expenses
If you can't stay at your place because of damage or another covered incident, home rental insurance can help you pay for a place to stay. Loss-of-use coverage, otherwise known as relocation expenses or additional living expenses, could help cover the cost of living expenses up to a certain limit.
Other renters coverage options
Replacement cost coverage
Many insurance policies allow you to opt for replacement cost coverage (RCC) instead of actual cash value (ACV) for your personal property coverage. Replacement cost value coverage replaces your damaged or stolen possessions at the current market value. ACV, on the other hand, will take into consideration wear and tear from prolonged use. In other words, the payout from ACV coverage will be less than market value, which means you might have to cover the difference when replacing your belongings. Unlike ACV, RCC doesn't take depreciation into account.
Sewer or drain backup coverage
A sewer backup can do some real nasty damage to your home. If it happens, sewer or drain backup coverage protects you against losses caused to your valuables.
In some states, earthquake coverage is available with renters insurance. Check with your insurer to find out whether you can add it to your policy — especially if you're sitting on a fault line.
If you have a rare coin collection, expensive watches, jewelry, furs, or other valuables, your policy will cover your prized possessions up to certain limits. Certain exclusions do apply. We recommend checking the specifics of your contract to determine the exact limits allowed.
Also, in most cases, you can add a cost-effective insurance rider, which provides additional protection on top of your standard policy, to get the best renters insurance coverage possible for your valuables.
Disasters and incidents covered by your policy
Disasters strike in many forms, but they have one thing in common: unexpected costs. With renters insurance, you can mitigate your out-of-pocket expenses brought on by:
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Volcanic eruption
Flood damage vs. water damage: what's covered by renters insurance?
Renters insurance generally does not cover flood damage. But if a pipe bursts in your apartment and water damages your cherished belongings, renters coverage would cover you up to your policy's limits.
Managing your policy
What happens to my renters insurance policy if I move?
If you move, your policy can move with you. Simply contact your insurance company and your insurer will update your policy accordingly. If you move to a new state, your insurer will work with you to review your needs and assess rates and guidelines.
How many renters can I insure under one renters insurance policy?
This depends on the specifics of your policy. In general, when you get a renters insurance quote, you'll have the option of adding another person to your policy. However, it's recommended that, unless you're married or related to your roommate, each person obtain individual coverage.
What are my payment options for my renters insurance policy?
Most companies will allow you to pay your premium all at once or in installments. When you purchase your renters insurance policy, you'll be able to choose a payment plan that suits you best. If you do decide to pay in one lump sum, you can avoid installment fees.
What payment types are accepted?
This will depend on your insurance company. In general, most insurers will accept all major credit cards, checks, and Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT).
Can I manage my policy online?
Usually, yes. If you bought your renters coverage from Esurance or through our partners, managing your renters insurance policy online is easy. Just go to your insurance company's website and log in to your account to access your policy documents, pay your bill, check your billing history, review coverages, change your address, and more.
More about renters insurance
Looking for another insurance product?