Most tenants make the mistake of assuming that their landlord’s insurance will cover their belongings in the event of loss or damage. You might think that your landlord is responsible for damages caused by leaky roofs or broken appliances, but the landlord wouldn’t be responsible in the case of theft or injuries to guest visiting your apartment. Another misconception is that renters’ insurance is too expensive. However, not purchasing renters’ insurance could cost you a whole lot more. Here are some reasons a good renters’ insurance policy would be needed.
If a guest slips and falls, trips, or has any other accident in your home, you may be liable for injuries and medical bills should your guest pursue you for damage because of your negligence. It’s simple to assume that guests are safe in your house, but if they happen to injure themselves falling down on a loose step, or a heavy painting falls and hits them in the head, the medical costs can get quite expensive. And if your pet bites a guest you may also face some pricey medical bills.
In the event that your home gets burglarized, your landlord will not be responsible for anything stolen, assuming that your landlord is not legally responsible for the break-in. If your landlord isn’t responsible, the chances of recovering your valuables are typically slim, but renters’ insurance will protect your stolen property as long as it’s listed on your policy and you meet the coverage limits.
If your rental home and property is damaged because of a natural disaster, such as wildfire, hail, or tornado, the landlord may or may not repair the home damages, but your personal property usually isn’t covered. Renters’ insurance will protect you in the event that a natural disaster occurs, but keep in mind that a few natural disaster coverage options are considered “riders,” which means they are add-on coverage, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and hurricanes.
Unnatural Fires of Short-Circuit Damage
Fires due to electrical issues and short circuit damage may or may not be covered by your landlord. In most cases, it will depend upon the fine print in your lease. If it’s not covered by your landlord, you’ll be liable for smoke and fire damage not only to your own belongings, but to the property as well. If you live in a multi-dwelling building and the fire spreads to other tenants’ apartments, you could be liable for damages to their belongings as well any property damage to their dwelling.
Damage You Caused Yourself
Landlords are rarely, if ever, liable for damage that you cause yourself, such as unintentionally breaking a window which results in ruined furniture during rain, falling items that weren’t secured properly, and accidentally overflowing water. Since these types of accidents are among the leading reasons for property damage, renters’ insurance will help cover the costs of replacing or repairing the belongings. Keep in mind, though, that insurance will not cover intentional damage you cause.
There are also additional coverage options available in most instances, including:
- Sewer drainage damage. If a sewage drain gets backed up and ruins your valuables, added sewer and/or drain backup coverage will protect your valuables.
- Extended theft coverage. This type of coverage extends to stolen items that were not in your home. For example, you may have valuables in a storage room, your car, or a trailer which isn’t covered under basic renters’ insurance.
- “Loss of use.” Loss of use covers living expenses if your home is damaged beyond repair. For example, hotel, restaurant, and other living expenses you incur because of the loss of your home are covered. It’s important to note that there is usually a limit to the amount covered in loss of use, typically a set percent of your total renters’ insurance coverage.