6 surprising benefits of renters insurance

While buying a home is still the “American Dream,” there is no denying the growing number of people who are choosing to rent rather than own. Whether it’s for financial reasons or a desire to not be tied down to a permanent location, “More people are renting now than at any point in the past 50 years,” according to a CNBC report based on Pew Research Center data.

Here are a few more interesting stats about the increasing number of renters:

  • The total number of US households grew by 7.6 million in 2016
  • The number of households headed by owners remained flat
  • Households headed by renters grew by nearly 10% during the same period
  • There were 43.3 million renters in the US in 2016

A similarly-growing trend is a rise in people buying renters insurance. In some cases, renters have come to realize they need coverage to replace or repair their personal belongings should anything happen. Many landlords are now requiring renters to purchase insurance as well. While the value of rental insurance might seem straightforward, there are actually many little-known benefits you probably aren’t aware of.

Here are 6 surprising benefits of renters insurance

1.  Renters insurance includes liability coverage for injuries and property damage to others

Liability coverage is meant to protect you in the event you are sued if someone is injured or you accidentally hurt someone in your apartment. “The liability coverage on a renters policy would pay your legal costs and court awards, up to the policy’s limits,” explains Forbes. The limit is set by you but usually starts around $100,000.

Liability insurance will also cover damage to someone else’s property if you or someone in your household (anyone related by blood, marriage, or adoption) is at fault. So, if you’re cutting a tree limb and it falls on your neighbor’s house or your son breaks a neighbor’s window playing baseball, you would be covered.

2.  Renters insurance will pay medical expenses for injured guests

If someone is injured in your apartment and they require medical treatment, your renter’s insurance will pay up to the policy’s limit. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most policies include medical coverage of $1,000 – $5,000.

3.  Renters insurance covers dog bites

We all adore our beloved pooches, but if Fido ever bites anyone, you could wind up facing a big legal battle. Renters insurance will cover you, no matter if the bite occurred at home or you’re walking your dog outside. Be careful though, because every policy is different and some include exclusions or limitations.

4.  Renters insurance covers your things even when you’re away from home

Let’s say someone steals your phone at a restaurant or a thief breaks into your car and takes your laptop. Renters insurance covers these circumstances. Your policy will list the perils that are covered, so check that out. “This ‘off-premises’ coverage is usually limited to a portion of your total coverage for personal belongings, such as 10%.”

5.  Renters insurance can pay for a hotel room after a disaster

If damage from a disaster such as fire or storm forces you out of your home, renters insurance can pay for temporary housing while repairs are being done. Most policies will reimburse you the cost to stay in a hotel or another apartment.

6.  Renters insurance covers things you’ve rented or borrowed

Renters insurance covers anything “in your possession.” In other words, anything in your apartment, whether you own it or not.

How to choose renters insurance coverage

If you’re shopping for renters insurance, there a few things you should consider:

  • Know how much coverage you need at the outset. Take an inventory and assess how much it might cost to replace your belongings. Include your clothes, furniture, computers, tablet devices, TVs, electronics, and any small appliances you own such as a blender or toaster, etc.
  • Choose a liability limit that will protect your savings and property if you are ever sued. Look at your financial circumstances and understand how much you can pay out-of-pocket.

One note about renters insurance

Renters insurance may not cover roommates, significant others, or anyone who is not related to you by blood or marriage unless specified on the policy. He or she will need to obtain his or her own separate policy.

Insurance is important, even if you’re a renter. It will protect your property in the event of damage, but the coverage doesn’t stop there. A typical renters policy covers more than you might expect. If you have questions about renters insurance or you would like to obtain a quote, contact NICRIS today.