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- There are two components to renters insurance: personal liability and personal property coverage.
- Personal property covers you if your belongings are lost, damaged, or stolen.
- Some items like specialty jewelry, fine art, and high-end electronics require add-on coverage.
- See Insider's picks for the best renters insurance companies.
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Renters insurance protects your belongings and offers liability coverage for injuries that happen on your property. It also offers relocation costs if you are temporarily forced out of your rental through "loss of use" coverage.
If your pet bites a guest or someone is injured in your rental, personal liability coverage protects you. Your possessions are covered under personal property coverage. However, there are limits, and some items may be excluded.
What is personal property insurance?
Renters insurance protects your belongings and furnishings from damage due to covered events, known as insurance perils. A peril is an event that may damage your belongings. Common insurance perils include: theft, fire, lightning, hail, and vandalism.
Renters insurance policies cover up to a certain amount, usually around $20,000 or $30,000 worth of coverage – depending on the value of your belongings.
Most renters insurance coverage for electronics is capped at around $2,500. Jewelry limits are usually lower, at $1,500. If your electronics or jewelry exceed these limits, you should increase your limits or get an add-on rider.
|Coverage||Included with renters insurance?|
|Dwelling/Structure||No – landlord responsible|
|Loss of Use (additional living expenses)||Yes|
|High-end electronics/special jewelry||Limited, requires add-on*|
|Wind or hail||Yes|
*Available as add-on coverage if not part of policy
**Flood insurance is available through the NFIP and approved insurers
Specialty items may not be included
Specialty items like high-end electronics, special jewelry, furs, fine arts, firearms, specialty bikes, and cash may not be covered by renters insurance in the event of theft. According to Steve Wilson, senior underwriting manager at Hippo Insurance, these items may need a "personal article" endorsement or add-on rider.
It's a good idea to take inventory of your furniture and personal possessions. Some renters insurance companies will have inventory lists for you to complete. If you have riders for fine art and specialty jewelry, you will be required to catalog and provide appraisals for them.
With personal jewelry insurance, you can ask your renters insurance to increase your limits, but "the amounts are still limited for both individual pieces and overall losses," according to the Insurance Information Institute.
You can get a floater or rider to add on to your renters insurance or consider stand alone personal jewelry coverage.
Actual cash value vs. replacement cost
Renters insurance policies cover up to a certain amount, usually around $20,000 or $30,000 worth of coverage. Determining the value of your belongings will help you decide how much coverage to get.
Renters insurance policies typically use "replacement cost" when paying out for covered damage. Replacement cost is the cost to replace the item with a new or used product.
Actual cash value (ACV) takes into consideration depreciation of the item. For example, if a five-year-old leather sofa is damaged by fire, the actual cash value considers the age of the sofa. Actual cash value is usually lower than the replacement cost value.
Flood insurance policies typically use actual cash value, but you can pay extra to use replacement cost. Check with your renters insurance to see which is used. Some providers offer "guaranteed replacement cost" as a perk.
For specialty jewelry and fine art, you will be covered for the appraised value minus any deductible.
How to file a claim if your belongings are damaged or stolen
Treat stolen or damaged possessions like a car accident and follow these steps to report and file a claim.
- Notify the police and file a police report if it is due to theft. Your insurance company may request a copy of the police report.
- Take pictures of damaged possessions and what caused the damage (fire, storm, etc).
- Contact your renters insurance company. Failure to timely notify your insurance provider can result in denying the claim.
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