Renter's (Tenant) Insurance
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If you rent an apartment or a condo, you can purchase renter’s insurance. Having it can help protect your valuables and save you money in the long run.
What is apartment insurance? Do I need it?
Renter’s insurance insures your personal belongings in your unit if they’re stolen or damaged. It also protects renters if they’re responsible for damage to their building or injury suffered by someone on the premises.
There’s no legal requirement that tenants purchase insurance. However, some landlords may require it as a condition of your lease. If you do sign a lease that stipulates tenant insurance, it’s your responsibility to buy it. Not having it during your tenancy could be grounds for eviction.
Legal requirements and lease contracts aside, it’s a good idea to consider getting insurance. If something does happen where you’re at fault, the cost of not having coverage can be very substantial. Few people think they will ever have an issue but accidents happen all the time.
Insurance also provides peace of mind in case there’s a break-in or fire and valuable items are lost or stolen. Many people keep expensive things such as jewellery or electronics at home. Having insurance ensures that doing so isn’t a risky move.
Finally, if you have to move out due to something like a fire or flood, insurance often covers expenses associated with living elsewhere for a long period of time. This is known as additional living expenses coverage and can include costs such as hotel room stays.
Things I need to know as a renter
As a renter, the first thing you’ll want to figure out is if you’re already covered by an existing insurance policy. If you’re a student at university, your parents’ property insurance may also cover your apartment away at school. It’s good to look into this before buying insurance that you may not actually need.
Second, as a renter it’s good to know how much coverage is standard insurance. The typical liability coverage is $1 million, whereas $25,000 is normal for contents insurance. Within this $25,000, there may be limits for specific kinds of items (e.g., up to $3,000 for jewellery). As with all kinds of insurance, raising or lowering your coverage will result in your premiums going up or down.
Third, renters will want to know how much tenant insurance costs. Premiums generally cost between $15 and $25 per month, or $180 to $300 a year. How much you’ll end up paying depends on the size of the property you’re renting and the amount of your coverage and deductible.
You’ll want to determine the amount of coverage you need. In addition, it’s important to decide whether you are looking for a cash value or replacement value policy. A cash value policy takes into account depreciation, meaning that you won’t get back what you paid for an item if you have to make a claim. In contrast, a replacement value policy will allow you to purchase the lost or stolen item at its current retail price.
To make a claim, you’ll need proof of your policy as well as documents that show the items you lost and how much you paid for them. The last thing you want is to have this necessary documentation destroyed in a fire or flood so make sure you store them in a safe place somewhere else.
Do insurers require a credit check?
A credit check isn’t generally required but it can help reduce insurance premiums. The reason for this is that insurance companies have noticed a relationship between someone’s credit score and their likelihood to file a claim. The higher your credit score, the less likely insurers expect you to make a claim.
Where am I not covered with my renter’s insurance?
There are a few situations in which renter’s insurance will not cover you if your property is lost or damaged. These include:
- Any loss as a result of deliberate actions by the insured (including criminal acts)
- Damage or destruction as a result of flooding
- Damage to property that was illegally acquired
- Any loss due to war or terrorism
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