Monday, April 4, 2011

Things You Should Know About Renter's Insurance: An article printed in the Daily Trojan

What exactly is renter’s insurance and why should you consider it?  While apartment buildings are insured against certain catastrophes, this coverage does not usually extend to personal property. Property crimes are common in the USC area, and renter’s insurance can help to mitigate your losses should you be the victim of theft or property damage. These are some common misunderstandings about renter’s insurance:

"I’m covered because my landlord has insurance."
Usually a landlord’s insurance covers only structural damage to the building itself—and a lot of policies don’t even go that far if the damage is caused by a tenant. For example, if you leave the tub running and it drips downstairs, damaging your neighbor’s couch, you may be liable for the whole mess. If your building caught fire, your landlord’s coverage would include repairs, but only to the building.  It’s too expensive.

Renter’s insurance can be as little as $10 to $20 per month. It depends on factors such as the type of personal property you’re covering, the size of the dwelling, the location and the deductible you want. Lower prices are offered for apartments that contain smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. For lower rates, you can raise the deductible; for more protection, you can pay more for replacement cost coverage.

"My neighborhood is safe."
Renter’s insurance usually extends beyond on-premise theft and hazards. If your luggage is stolen while you’re on vacation, you’ll often be covered. The same may be true with property stolen from your car. You’ll also likely be protected if someone slips and sprains their ankle at events you hold; you may even receive compensation for legal defense costs in the case of a lawsuit.

"I don’t own valuable things."
You might be surprised at how quickly all your books, CDs, and kitchen appliances add up. Even students can easily own thousands of dollars worth of belongings. Following is a list of common household items.  List each item along with its year of purchase and what you think it would cost to replace it today.  Types of  coverage offered personal property coverage:

Coverage varies by state, company, and type, but here are some basic examples of personal property to include in your inventory. Items not listed here may still be insurable; ask agents about customizing your policy with more options.
Property typically covered:
• Stereo systems, VCRs, and television sets
• CDs, DVDs, videos, and tapes
• Photography equipment
• Movable appliances, including microwaves
• Furniture
• Sports equipment
• China and glassware
• Clothing and books
Property covered with limitations:
• Home computers
• Cash, including coin collections
• Checks and traveler’s checks,
• Jewelry and watches
• Precious and semi-precious stones
• Comic books, trading cards, stamps
• Antiques and fine art
• Goldware and silverware (theft)
• Rugs, wall hangings, and tapestries
• Firearms (theft)
• Furs or clothing trimmed in fur
Natural hazard coverage:
Natural-hazard coverage varies by state and company, but most policies protect your property against losses created by the following:
 • Vandalism
• Water damage from failure of plumbing or appliances
• Frozen water pipes
• Hail
• Windstorm
• Smoke
• Explosion
• Vehicles or aircraft
For a higher premium, most insurance carriers offer options to add coverage for hazards not included in a standard renter’s policy:
• Earthquake, landslide, or other movement damage
• Water damage cause by an underground source or flooding
• Nuclear-hazard damages

Insurance is about your protection against unforeseeable circumstances. Even if you think it can’t happen, paying the price of one music CD a month might make the difference between an empty house and a replacement shopping spree.  A few pennies invested each day in renter’s insurance can pay for itself if your expensive belongings are lost or stolen.


  1. I have been told if my tenant has a person staying for more the 3 nights a week without be mentioned in the tenancy agreement my landlord insurance is invalid is that true. My tenant has got a new boyfriend and he seem to have moved in so i need to check this quickly

  2. Hi Rufus,
    Sorry, I am afraid we cannot be any help to you in this matter. We were only posted about the topic of Renter's Insurance, which is insurance taken out by the tenant to protect their belongings.

    We suggest you check your insurance policy and read the specific terms to which you have agreed. Also, it seems from your link that your are in the United Kingdom. I strongly suspect that the rules will quite different from what we are used to in the USA.

    Best of luck!