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Your Guide to Renters Insurance Coverage

Is renters insurance worth it? Let us count the ways.

renters insurance coverage

Moving into a new apartment or rental can be a project. You have so much furniture, clothes and knickknacks to move into your new place. But once you’re settled, how do you know your belongings will stay safe? You might not think you have expensive things, but could you afford to replace all of them at a moment’s notice? That’s where renters insurance coverage comes in.

To learn more about renters insurance coverage and AAA renters insurance, we spoke to Ray Eng, vice president of insurance sales for AAA Northeast.

Why do you need renters insurance coverage?

If you live in an apartment or other type of rental situation, renters insurance is a way to cover your personal possessions and your personal liability. “Many apartment complexes require their tenants to have renters insurance,” said Eng. “And also for them to carry certain liability limits.”

Your landlord is already paying the property insurance, but if you want to cover your personal items, you need renters insurance. Renters insurance coverage provides protection for personal items in the event that they are stolen or damaged. It also covers personal liability in the case that someone is injured at your rental and you are held liable.

Where does renters insurance coverage apply?

Renters insurance coverage travels with you.

“Let’s say you play golf and you have expensive golf clubs in your car,” Eng said. “And your car gets broken into and they steal the golf clubs.” If you only have auto insurance, the theft of the golf clubs wouldn’t be covered. But if you also have renters insurance, they would be.

This is also the case for personal liability. “It looks just like liability coverage with a homeowners insurance policy,” Eng said. “So if you have $300,000 worth of liability coverage as part of your rental policy, that coverage follows you. If you were to inadvertently injure someone and you were held liable, even if the incident were to occur outside of your apartment or almost anywhere, you would be covered.”

What kind of specific perils fall under renters insurance coverage?

“Robbery would be covered as a peril,” Eng said. “We promote water and sewage backup coverage. Depending on what you’re renting, typically the flood insurance is purchased by the property owner. Renters insurance covers water damage that originated inside the house, like an overflow or a collapsed sewer line.”

Renters insurance can also cover items damaged by fire, lightning, smoke damage, vandalism and windstorms. Make sure to review your renters insurance policy with your agent to check which named perils it covers. If your apartment becomes damaged in one of these events and you can’t stay there while it’s being repaired, renters insurance will usually cover additional living expenses.

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Is there anything renters insurance doesn’t cover?

“It’s typically like all property or dwelling insurance, there’s general coverage for your personal property up to a certain limit,” Eng said. “That’s something you would have to talk to your agent about…If you have exotic items or anything you might place a lot of value on that you’re not sure about, you should just ask. Whether it’s artwork, firearms or jewelry, most carriers will offer some sort of endorsement that you’ll have to pay an extra premium on to get coverage.”

What do I do now?

A great way to get the most out of your renters insurance coverage is by making an inventory of all your personal belongings. This sounds much harder than it actually is. Just whip out your phone and make a home inventory video (our article gives you step-by-step instructions.) This can help you keep track of exactly what you own and the condition of your items. Another great way to keep track of your more expensive items is to keep your receipts. You can take photos of them or store them in a safe place.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your insurance agent about any part of your policy. That’s what they’re there for. And for ways to save even more at home, go to AAA.com/HomeServices.

Learn more about AAA renters insurance.

Do you have renters insurance? Has it ever helped you through a sticky situation? Share your story in the comments section below!

Comments
  • Joanne P.

    I moved into my condo about 20 years ago. My son owns it and I rent from him. I have consistently had a crack in the ceiling which houses radiant heating. At least on three occasions I have had a painter “tape” and “repair the long crack at the seam, but shortly thereafter it reappears. It may be about 3 feet long and a sheet rock problem. I believe this is a structural problem and is this something that either rental or home owners’ insurance would cover. I understand it can cost several hundred dollars to repair and only the ceiling looks fine as a whole, that crack is unsightly.

    Reply
    • Marisa P.

      Hi Joanne- We sent this along to Ray Eng, VP of insurance sales for AAA Northeast, for his advice: “This is a difficult one to comment on as it’s unclear as to what the cause of the damage truly is. The fact that it’s continues to crack leads one to believe that there’s something more going on than meets the eye. It’s best to get someone in there to first figure out what’s causing the crack to reappear.”

      If you have any other insurance questions, please reach out by visiting AAA.com/Insurance. Thank you for reading! -MP

      Reply
  • Kathleen G.

    How much does renters insurance cost? Please send me the rates. Thank you , Kathy

    Reply
  • I pay 1800.00 dollars a year for car insurance, for one car. Why is it so much ? My wife and I are senior citizens is that why. It just not fair !!!

    Reply
    • Marisa P.

      Hi Sam, one of our experienced AAA Insurance agents would be happy to help you. You can get in touch with them by visiting AAA.com/Insurance. Thanks for reading! -MP

      Reply
  • In the last 5+years, there are many large ins. companies that would “sell” a renter ins. policy: their coverage/prices for the “same” location varied greatly; must also know your building’s site location and ALL its safety/protection installations BEFORE signing up; ask for discounts if you have other ins. w/ the same ins. company.

    Reply
  • DAVID N.

    Also’
    take current pictures of all
    & email it & store it in another location

    Reply
  • I am a landlord and it happens that tenants usually do damage to my property : either while they are living there or when they move out. Is there any kind of insurance that I can compel them to purchase before they move in that will cover the appliances and structure of the apartment.

    I want to be able to make a claim against their policy rather than my own dwelling and fire policy.

    Any ideas?

    Thank You

    Reply
    • Marisa P.

      Hi – In response to your question, Ray Eng, VP of insurance sales for AAA Northeast, says “It’s not uncommon to require tenants to carry a “renters policy” as a condition within their rental agreement. This would provide some level of coverage to the landlord assuming the damage was the result of a coverage loss. My suggestion would be to consult an agent to understand what should be required and what the premium range might be so it can be communicated to any potential tenants.”

      You can get in touch with a AAA Insurance agent by visiting AAA.com/Insurance. Thank you for reading! -MP

      Reply

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