What You Need to Know About Renters Insurance

Renters Insurance Arkansas helps cover your belongings in a loss, such as theft or fire. It also includes liability protection.

Bankrate’s insurance editorial team recommends getting enough coverage to replace all your belongings if necessary. Creating a list with estimated values for each item you own is important.

renters insurance

Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace your belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by a covered problem, such as a fire. This is a standard part of any type of property insurance policy, whether you’re a homeowner, condo owner or renter. Depending on your needs, you may also want to consider getting personal property coverage that is designed to protect your possessions while you are away from home — often called “abroad” or “travelers” policies.

The amount of personal property protection you get is typically represented on your policy’s declaration page. It’s important to understand how much personal property protection you need, especially since everyone’s possessions are different. For example, a college student probably has very little to lose and will need less personal property coverage than a married couple who owns expensive furniture and electronics.

Most property insurance policies cover your belongings from named perils, which include fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, the impact of snow and ice, vandalism and theft. Some policies also provide coverage for things like water damage from burst pipes. However, normal wear and tear is generally not covered.

If you want to ensure your items are protected against problems that your homeowners, condo or renters policy doesn’t cover, you can buy additional coverage called a personal property endorsement. You can purchase this as an add-on to your policy or as a separate policy.

Condo owners need to be especially careful, as their condominium association may have its own insurance that doesn’t provide adequate coverage for individual condo owners. That’s why personal property coverage is a great option for people living in condominiums.

One way to help determine how much personal property coverage you need is by creating and maintaining a list of your belongings. This inventory is useful for determining what your belongings are worth and will help you in the event that you need to file an insurance claim. You should also store a copy of your inventory in a safe place, such as a fireproof box.

Most renters insurance policies include some level of personal liability protection, which typically pays for legal fees and damages if someone is hurt in your apartment or home. Some policies may also pay for the cost of medical treatment for people who are injured in your home. Liability coverage typically has a dollar limit and a policy deductible, so it is important to purchase a plan with limits high enough to meet your budget and your level of risk.

Most policies offer additional living expenses coverage that will reimburse you for hotel bills, temporary rentals and meals if a covered loss renders your apartment uninhabitable. This type of coverage is optional, and most insurers place a dollar or time limit on how long they will reimburse you for added living expenses.

The most common types of losses that are covered by renters insurance include fire, smoke, lightning, theft, vandalism, and certain forms of water damage. However, some policies exclude losses due to earthquakes and floods.

In addition to coverage for your possessions, most renters policies will also cover the cost of any repairs or replacements you need to make after a covered loss. Some policies provide actual cash value coverage, which takes into account depreciation, while others offer replacement cost coverage that will pay you for your lost items based on their current value and cost. The premiums for a policy that offers replacement cost coverage will usually be higher, but it is worth the extra investment to know you have enough money to replace your belongings.

Other coverage options available include off-premises coverage, which will insure your belongings while they are away from your apartment, and umbrella or excess liability coverage, which is used to supplement the standard limits of a renters policy. Some policies have separate deductibles for property inside and outside your apartment, so it is important to understand the coverage and limits of each before you buy.

A good way to determine how much renters insurance you need is to create an inventory list of all your belongings and their values. Store this list in a safe location, and consider taking photos of your belongings to help document their condition. You can then compare this to the coverage and deductibles offered by different policies to determine which one is right for you.

As the name suggests, this coverage pays some of your expenses if you’re forced to move out of your home due to damage from a covered peril. It’s similar to loss of use coverage under homeowners, condo owners and renters policies (HO-6). The upper limit for this coverage is typically 20% of the dwelling insurance policy limit.

In contrast, renters insurance does not usually include this type of coverage. Instead, it’s often included in a separate policy referred to as a loss of use endorsement.

This is a policy rider that covers expenses for food, hotel rooms and other living costs while you’re temporarily displaced from your apartment or house due to a covered disaster. In many cases, this coverage will pay for the difference between your usual living expenses and what you incur while staying in a hotel. It might also reimburse you for the extra gas you have to use to get to work or the higher cost of meals from restaurants because your temporary home is farther away from your workplace.

Some financial experts recommend getting ALE coverage limits as high as possible because you can’t predict how much it will cost to live in a temporary location. It’s important to understand what qualifies as a valid claim and how long your ALE limits last, as well. Some insurers may pay a lump sum upfront to cover expenses. Others require that you pay for your expenses, submit receipts and wait to be reimbursed. If the latter is the case, it’s best to ask your agent or insurance company representative how to calculate normal living expenses so you know how much you might need in a given situation.

It’s important to note that ALE coverage does not cover mortgage or property tax payments, health and life insurance, auto insurance or any other recurring expenses. In addition, it does not typically cover damages from natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. You can often obtain these types of coverage by purchasing a separate insurance policy, such as a flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, available through a private policy from an independent agent.

The type and amount of personal property coverage you have, your liability insurance limits and whether you choose a standard or broad form policy are among the factors that can affect the cost of your renters insurance. Also, the deductible you select will have an impact on your premium. Generally, a higher deductible results in lower premiums, but you will be responsible for paying the full cost of any losses up to the dollar limit of your policy if the loss occurs.

Most typical policies include $100,000 worth of liability coverage that protects you against lawsuits and settlement costs if someone gets hurt in your home. Liability coverage will cover things like medical bills and lost wages if, for example, your guest slips and falls over an object in your apartment or your dog bites a visitor.

Aside from personal property coverage and liability coverage, most policies offer other coverage options that can make a difference for some renters. For example, some policies will pay for temporary housing if yours is damaged by something like a fire. They may also provide additional living expense coverage for items like food and hotel bills if you have to move out while the home is under repair, as well as liability coverage that pays for small injuries to guests — such as covering the cost of a trip to the emergency room for stitches — regardless of who was at fault.

Some companies, such as Liberty Mutual, offer a range of add-ons that can help you customize your policy to better suit your needs, such as jewelry coverage and earthquake coverage. You can also typically increase your personal property and/or liability coverage limits.

Before purchasing a renters policy, it is a good idea to complete an inventory of your possessions and determine how much personal property coverage you need. You can do this by listing all your belongings, including their age and purchase price or current value, as well as any identifying information such as serial numbers. Taking pictures or video recordings of your belongings is also a good idea, especially for expensive items.