Safe Haven: Protecting Your Home Sanctuary

How renter's insurance policies protect renters from the unexpected

Written by Susan Doktor
on March 05, 2021

The phrase “home, safe and sound” has taken on a far more profound meaning since the advent of the global pandemic. A June 2020 survey reported that some 40% of Americans were working from home due to the virus. Cities across the nation have enacted various stay-at-home restrictions in response to the crisis.  And health officials continue to cite staying home (and wearing masks when we don’t) as our best hope for vanquishing COVID-19. 


The assault on our sense of safety has been reflected in the marketplace. Sales of home security systems have increased by double digits. Homeowners are asking themselves whether they’re doing all they can to protect their homes. Renters are asking themselves the same question and many have decided to carry renter’s insurance for the first time. Does renter’s insurance make sense for you? Let’s take a look at how renter’s policies work and how much they cost to help you decide.


How Renter’s Insurance Protects You

The best renter’s insurance policies have at least three main components: personal property, liability, and living expenses:


  • Personal property insurance protects you if the belongings you keep at home are stolen or damaged. It also offers another nice perk: if your laptop, for example, is stolen from your car or while you’re sipping a latte at Starbucks, renter’s insurance will cover that, too.


  • Liability insurance, on the other hand, protects other people. It pays for medical bills, property damage, and other losses a visitor to your apartment might. suffer Yes, friends sue friends. You don’t want to be in that personal or financial position. And in any case, wouldn’t you want your friend’s medical bills covered if he or she was hurt in your home? 


  • Renter’s insurance policies also cover living expenses if you’re forced to vacate your apartment due to fire, flood, or another event that makes your home temporarily uninhabitable.


Doesn’t My Landlord’s Insurance Policy Cover Me?

The short answer is maybe. If a fire or flood in your building damages your belongings, for example, you will likely be compensated by your landlord’s policy. But landlords choose the upper limits of their policy. If your landlord selects a policy with low coverage limits, it could be exhausted before it can compensate you fully. That’s a particular concern if you keep antiques or other expensive items in your home. But your landlord’s policy won’t reimburse you for stolen items. Most importantly, your landlord’s policy won’t protect you against your own negligent actions. Landlord’s insurance is designed to protect your landlord, not you.  


Can You Afford Renter’s Insurance?

Landlords are increasingly requiring tenants to carry renter’s insurance. So depending on where you want to live, you may simply have to budget for it. The average cost nationally of a renter’s policy with $30,000 in property, $100,000 in liability, and $10,000 in living expense coverage is $168 a year. You may be able to save money by buying (bundling) your renter’s policy and auto insurance from one company. Be sure to ask about available discounts: some companies offer them for non-smokers or homes that are protected by security systems. 


Is Renter’s Insurance Worth It?

How much did you pay for that new MacBook? More than $168, we reckon. A single loss makes renter’s insurance look like a no-brainer.  But as you consider whether to purchase renter’s insurance, keep this in mind. We buy all kinds of insurance hoping we never have to make a claim. What do those policies buy us? Peace of mind. And in these uncertain times, it’s hard to put a price tag on that.

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