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Renters Insurance Checklist

Jul 31, 2013

Those who rent rather than own their house or apartment can enjoy the benefits and protections of renters insurance. Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance helps shelter you from loss and liability and offers you peace of mind.

Three kinds of Protection for you
• Coverage for personal possessions, whether in your house, apartment, condo or personal vehicle.
• Liability protection
• Additional living expenses, should you have to relocate while your dwelling is being repaired. This also includes clothing, food and incidentals, if needed.
The following checklist can help you choose the right coverage when you are shopping around for renters insurance or speaking with your insurance professional.
Coverage for personal property
One of the first questions that arise when it’s time to buy renters insurance is how much is needed? You’ll probably want to have enough to replace all of your most important possessions in the event of theft, fire or other covered disasters. You’ll want coverage for clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics, kitchen utensils and even linens. Keeping an inventory of your possessions is highly advisable, and that includes a list of the things you own, a description of them and their cost. An accurate and up to date inventory will make the process go much faster should you ever need to file a claim. A rule of thumb when calculating the amount of Personal Property Coverage needed is to envision your dwelling, and then turn it upside down. Everything that falls out of your dwelling is your personal property. Do the same with your vehicle or vehicles. Keep in mind that, should your personal auto be broken into, the cost of replacing stolen items in that vehicle is not covered on your personal auto policy. Your tenant or renter’s policy would pay. You might be surprised at how many individuals are unaware of this fact.
Replacement cost vs. actual cash value coverage
Insuring for actual cash value means your insurance company will pay to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation. A replacement cost policy pays the cost of replacing your possessions without a deduction for depreciation. It’s a good idea to consider which of your possessions will depreciate quickly, and make your choice based on the cost of replacing those items.
Liability insurance coverage
Renters insurance liability policies protect you against lawsuits involving damage or injury to others caused by you, your family members and even your pets. Consider whether the amount of liability coverage provided by your policy is sufficient to protect your assets. In addition, most renters policies have no-fault medical coverage as part of their liability protection. Medical payments can be provided to someone outside your family who has been injured on your property and requires a physician’s attention.
Additional living expenses
If you need to move elsewhere because your home was destroyed in a disaster covered by your policy, renters insurance can provide additional living expenses. Living expenses include your hotel bills, temporary rentals costs, restaurant meals and other expenses you incur while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

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