Protect Your Stuff: Renters' Insurance

As a renter, your stuff is your responsibility. And you’re also responsible if others injure themselves or damage their stuff while visiting your place. So it’s important to set up safeguards against incurring expenses in the event of theft or damages that can result if, say, your washing machine overflows and ruins your sofa. What you need is a renters’ insurance policy.

Following are three things you should know about renters insurance:

  1. It can protect you and your stuff. Having renters’ insurance protects you in a number of ways. A typical policy will cover:
  • Loss of personal items to theft or vandalism
  • Loss of possessions due to fire, smoke, lightening, wind, leaking water, freezing temperatures, or other acts of nature
  • The cost of liability claims filed against you by someone who is hurt on the property and accuses you of negligence
  • The medical expenses of someone who is hurt on your rental property
  1. Your stuff may be covered under another policy . Find out if a parent’s homeowners’ policy covers your possessions. Questions to ask:
  • Does it cover you at school? If it does, read the policy carefully to find out if there are limitations in the types of possessions covered. If you have questions, call your parent’s insurance agent.
  • Does it cover you if you live off campus? Your parent’s insurance may cover your belongings as long as you live in a dormitory, but not after you move off campus to a rental house or apartment.
  • Does it cover laptops? Laptops tend to be stolen more frequently than other items, and some homeowners’ and renters’ policies exclude them. 
  • If your parent’s policy doesn't cover you, ask the apartment’s management if they have an insurance option you can add onto your rent.
  1. Find the policy that’s right for you. The Insurance Information Institute provides a checklist for choosing a renters’ insurance policy and offers free, Web-based home inventory software for keeping records of your stuff. Doing so will make filing an insurance claim faster and easier.

Now that you have the scoop, you can make an informed choice between getting your own renters’ insurance policy or taking coverage through a parent’s homeowners’ policy—and breathe easier knowing your stuff is protected!

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