19 questions about renters insurance you’re too embarrassed to ask
1. Wait … renters insurance doesn’t cover my actual apartment?
Nope, it covers the stuff in your apartment …
Umm, well, accidents happen. And stuff is expensive. So, say, a pipe bursts and the leak destroys your furniture or a thief breaks in and steals your laptop. If you have renters insurance, you won’t have to replace all that stuff out of pocket. You can file a claim and get reimbursed for damaged or stolen possessions.
3. You mean my landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover me?
No, your landlord’s homeowners insurance protects the building. It covers, say, structural damage to the apartment itself. But your stuff is … your stuff. It’s up to you to insure it.
4. OK, I get it. So I just order some renters insurance and all the stuff in my apartment is covered?
No — this is insurance we’re talking about, and, as with all policies, there are coverage limits. With renters insurance, those limits come in two forms. There’s an overall limit, specifying how much money your policy pays out in total and there are individual limits on things that are super-expensive.
5. You mean items over a certain dollar amount? More like categories of stuff. So jewelry, collectibles, furs, musical equipment, firearms, art, gift cards, checks, electronics — insurance companies generally set limits for those items.
6.OK, but then the policy pays full-price for the covered items? That depends. There are two types of renters insurance policies.
7. So a replacement cost value policy is better than an actual cash value policy? Well, it pays out more, for sure, but it also costs more (in the form of higher premiums), so you’ll need to assess the value of your things, decipher how much coverage you need and, ultimately, consider the trade-off.Just so you know, renters insurance is actually pretty cheap. In most states, a basic policy costs less than $20 a month. Again, though, how much you pay is affected by how coverage you need, which is based on how much you own.
8. Oh man. How do I figure out how much my stuff is worth?That’s actually easier than it sounds, thanks to technology. There are quite a few websites and home inventory apps out there that help you log, price and track the value of your possessionsolicy pays full-price for the covered items?
9. Why do I need to inventory my stuff? Well, so you know how much coverage to buy. (To give you some context, people commonly opt for $25,000 in personal property coverage and $300,000 in personal liability coverage with a $250 deductible.
10. And the insurance company just accept my estimates?Save receipts, log serial numbers and take plenty of pics. Again, a solid home inventory app can help, but, if this all sounds very daunting, no worries.
11. Is that all renters insurance covers? Stuff? No, actually! Some policies also tout additional living expenses, like hotel stays and even meals if you can’t stay at your apartment as a result of a peril.
12. What do you mean ‘a peril’? Perils are the incidents renters insurance covers. They typically include some weather (hail, wind, lightning), fire, electrical surges, explosions and water damag
13. Right. So you’re saying there are incidents my renters insurance won’t cover?Yes, there are exclusions
14. Wait … renters insurance covers injuries? If someone has an accident at your place, your policy pays for their medical bills or your legal expenses in the event said person sues.
15. Ah. How do I know exactly what my renters insurance covers? By reading the policy closely, of course!
16. Sure. What about bed bugs? Will my renters insurance policy pay if I get bed bugs? Sadly, no, bed bugs aren’t covered by your renters insurance
17. Will renters insurance reimburse whatever my landlord takes from my security deposit? No. Your security deposit is the insurance against any damage you do to your apartment.
18. But wait … my landlord is requiring renters insurance because I have a dog. Isn’t that to cover damages to the apartment? So most renters insurance policies cover pets under the personal liability portion of your policy — meaning if you disclosed Fido’s existence to your insurer and he bites someone, you’re covered when it comes to medical expenses and legal fees.
19.Speaking of gaming the system … say I lose something outside of my apartment. Can I just tell my insurer it was stolen and, you know, call it a claim? OK, well, lying is wrong. And insurance fraud is, you know, a thing, so it’s always in your best interest to stay honest. Having said that, renters insurance actually covers your stuff when it’s not in your apartment. Say, your tablet is stolen from your car