Finding a place to rent seems harder than ever these days. Even small apartments can cost over a thousand a month, on top of parking fees and pet fees. So why do some apartments require renters insurance? Are they just trying to squeeze more money out of you?
The question is slightly more complicated than that. Renters insurance isn’t for the rented property itself, but for you and the other tenants. A landlord is required to carry property insurance for the actual apartment building and attached structures, but their insurance won’t necessarily cover your belongings, nor will it help if you cause injury to someone else. Renters insurance offers liability coverage in case you cause bodily injury or property damage to someone else. This liability insurance not only helps you, but the landlord. This way, neither of you should have to pay out of pocket for medical or property replacement expenses. So, apartments aren’t trying to squeeze out extra money from you with renters insurance but are instead protecting themselves against tenant actions and lawsuits.
What Else Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Though apartments usually only require tenants to carry a certain amount of liability insurance, there are other coverages renters should consider to protect their own belongings. This includes:
- Pet Liability: If you bring a pet into an apartment, you may also be required to carry pet liability insurance. Even if it’s not a requirement by the apartment, it’s a worthy investment. Pet liability provides compensation if your pet causes bodily injury or property damage to someone else. This doesn’t always cover damage done to your own property, however, so be sure to go over your policy with an insurance agent to discuss what is and isn’t covered.
- Personal Possessions: Personal possessions coverage provides compensation if your belongings are damaged due to fire, water from burst pipes, theft, vandalism, smoke and more. This doesn’t cover the structure of the actual unit, but may cover items in transport, such as if your laptop is stolen from your car. This coverage does not typically include floods or earthquakes.
- Additional Living Expenses: Sometimes disasters sweep in and make it impossible to remain in the rented apartment. In this case, additional living expenses (ALE) help you temporarily move while repairs are being made to the apartment building.
Renters insurance does not cover criminal acts, purposeful bodily injury or intentional property damage.
When to File a Renters Insurance Claim
Like with most policies, there are some instances where filing a claim isn’t always the best option. Consider the incident and how much it will cost to replace what has been lost. If the cost to replace an item is less than the cost of filing a claim, you may want to go ahead and replace the item rather than filing a claim. On the other hand, if you accidentally cause bodily injury to someone else, you may want to file a claim to help pay for expensive medical bills.
The best way to avoid filing a renters insurance claim is to keep your belongings safe and ensure that your apartment has anti-theft devices, fire alarms and a fire extinguisher. Keep your pet on a leash at all times.
How Much is Renters Insurance
Thankfully, renters insurance is one of the cheapest parts of renting. In Texas, renters insurance costs an average of $15 a month for $10,000 of personal property coverage and $100,000 of liability.. Factors besides coverage limits affect the cost of renters insurance, too, including the value of the insured items, your credit history, age, lifestyle and more.
Also Read: Will Renter's Insurance Cover Theft Claims?