What Is and Is Not Covered by Renters Insurance Policies

Melanie O'HaraDec 18, 2017

Aunt Milly has always been known as a bit of a klutz. Yet you think nothing of it as you two chat in the kitchen about her “world-famous” fruitcake recipe. You turn your back for a moment to pull the ham out of the oven, and soon hear her shriek. Turns out her orthopedic shoes have less traction than you both thought. Three hours later in the emergency room, you’re dismayed to discover that her medical bills add up to over $5,000. She's living on a pension and her health insurance won't cover it. So, just who will pay for that?

The answer hangs on one factor: renters insurance. If you already have a policy, it will most likely cover Aunt Milly’s hospital bill because she was in your home when the injury occured. Otherwise, you may need to break out your piggy bank.

Renters insurance mainly exists to protect tenants from potential damages inflicted to their personal property, and from no-fault injuries that occur on the premises. Since this type of insurance policy does not cover property or structural damage—that is the responsibility of the landlord—it is significantly less expensive than homeowner’s insurance.

What Types of Housing Can Be Covered with Renters Insurance?

If you’re curious to know whether your home qualifies for insurance, rest assured that it probably does. Renters insurance can be purchased for apartments, condominiums, townhouses, single-family homes, duplexes, studios, and lofts. You even have the option to protect your storage unit with a separate policy.

What Kind of Events Are Covered?

The personal property component of your insurance policy offers financial reimbursement for a diverse set of unfortunate occurrences including:

  • Injury
  • Property Damage
  • In-home Accidents
  • Injury Caused by Pets, Fire or Lightning
  • Weight of Ice, Snow, or Sleet
  • Explosion
  • Aircraft and Vehicle Impact
  • Smoke
  • Sudden and Accidental Tearing or Bulging of Heating or Cooling Systems
  • Windstorm or Hail
  • Theft
  • Riot or Civil Commotion
  • Falling Objects
  • Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
  • Sudden and Accidental Water Discharge from Plumbing or Appliances
  • Freezing of Plumbing Systems

There may be protection against additional disasters outlined in your policy.

What Types of Personal Property Are Covered?

Potentially covered possessions include furniture, clothing, computers, TVs, electronics, and household appliances. You can choose the “actual cash value” coverage of replacing your possessions, which factors in depreciation, or go with the “replacement cost” coverage that reimburses you for the amount it would cost now to buy the item anew.

Research insuring more expensive items such as jewelry, firearms, bank notes, watercraft, and coins, since many have the option to be insured at an additional cost.

What Does Liability Insurance Cover?

Liability coverage is essential because it protects you and your family members, (and your pets), instead of just your possessions. This can come in handy in a wide variety of situations, such as the aforementioned Aunt Milly’s legendary clumsiness. Any guest that incurs an injury on your home’s premises won’t have to pay for their medical bills, as these will be dealt with under your liability coverage. You’ll also potentially be protected against paying money out of pocket, if found legally responsible for accidentally causing bodily injury or for damaging your neighbor’s property while in their home.

What Does Renters Insurance Not Cover?

While renters insurance policies are quite extensive, there are some arenas that aren’t included under their protection umbrella. If you live in an area prone to floods, for instance, you may want to purchase a supplemental policy to protect you against this natural disaster. If terrorism damage is on your radar of concern, that can also be included for an extra cost. It’s also important to note that your policy will not cover your roommate. You two have the option to purchase a joint plan, or they can select their own individual policy.

It’s easy to avoid thinking about the possibility of disasters like injuries, fire, and theft, especially in the place you call home. However, considering how to handle worst case scenarios will give you peace of mind, and protect you financially in the event something does happen. Renters insurance policies provide affordable protection of your assets and visitors. A good place to start researching and comparing is through our top renters insurance providers.