One of the most common misconceptions about insurance from young renters is that it's expensive. In truth, renter's insurance is actually one of the most affordable types of insurance you can get, and it probably covers a lot more than you think it does. Renter's insurance policies aren't a one-size-fits-all type of policy. You can pick and choose which aspects you need, and which you don't need to pay for, making it difficult to justify NOT having renter's insurance if you're a renter.
How affordable is it? The average yearly cost of having renter's insurance in Virginia is $152. (That's about $13 per month!) Your annual premium will change depending on your specific zip code, but it's not likely to be much higher than that! (More stats about renter's insurance costs here: https://www.policygenius.com/renters-insurance/renters-insurance-statistics/)
If you're thinking about meeting with one of our agents to get a renter's insurance policy in place, read on. You'll probably have a lot of questions, and we're here to answer those. Here are some facts about renter's insurance to help you better understand how it works and what exactly you're paying for:
What your renter's insurance policy covers:
A basic renters insurance policy offers liability protection and reimbursement for stolen property. It also provides coverage for damage to your belongings caused by fire, lightning, smoke, windstorms, hail, and vandalism. Whether damaged or stolen, your renters insurance can reimburse you either their actual cash value (the amount they’re worth at the time of their damage) or their replacement cost (the amount it will cost you to buy a new one), depending on your coverage. Additionally, if repairs need to be made to your apartment causing you to temporarily move out, it may cover living expenses.
Some renters insurance policies will cover your property if it's stolen from outside of your apartment. For example, if you're on vacation and your luggage gets stolen, losses may be covered under your renter's insurance. The same goes for property that's stolen from your car (although car insurance comes into play for damage to the car itself). It also includes other types of theft like if your bicycle gets stolen from the bike rack, or items stolen while you're in the process of moving.
That said, if you really want to cover all of your bases, it's an excellent idea to make an inventory of all of your belongings (and their worth) in case of theft or destruction. Spend a day documenting your belongings and you'll be thanking yourself for it later. (Some great ideas on how to create a home inventory list here: https://blog.nationwide.com/home-inventory-checklist/) Some policies have payout limits, so for high value items such as your engagement ring, musical instruments or your brand computer, you can purchase additional coverage to make sure they're covered if they're either lost or stolen.
That's not all. Renters insurance doesn't just cover your belongings. Let's say you have friends over and someone trips and falls down the stairs, then tries to sue you. Your renters insurance may help pay for some of her medical bills if you are found to be liable.
Do you have pets? The liability coverage of many renters insurance policies also counts towards injuries that your pet may have caused. If your dog bites someone in your home, your policy will help cover medical bills for the injured person. Keep in mind that any breeds that are considered "high risk" will not be covered, so make sure you get the details on your policy from your agent.
What renters insurance doesn't cover:
One of the biggest myths circulating about renting is that your landlord's insurance policy covers you. True - your landlord probably has insurance, but that insurance is only for the building itself. It does not apply to your belongings, pets, children, or otherwise. It also won't protect you if you or one of your guests causes accidental damage to the structure. Your landlord's insurance really only protects your landlord's interests.
All policies have specific minimum and maximum coverage amounts for liability & property. That means depending on your policy level, you will only be covered up to a predetermined amount. That's why if you have some items that have a high value, like a diamond ring or expensive music equipment, you will want to get additional coverage.
Some dog breeds are not covered under your insurance for damages or injuries caused by the dog. If your policy doesn't cover your pet you will need to look into purchasing additional coverage.
It's important to note that renter's insurance doesn't usually cover natural disasters and catastrophes. For example, if you live near a fault line you may want to purchase additional coverage to cover your belongings and injuries should an earthquake cause damages. Or if you live in a flood zone, you'll want to consider adding flood insurance since this is not normally covered by a renter's policy.
How to save money:
One of the many benefits to using a local agent is that we are up to date on discounts and programs to help lower your premium, so be sure to ask if you qualify for any. Many insurance companies will give you a discount if you have fire alarms, burglar alarms, deadbolts, security systems, and sprinkler systems.
You can also save money if you bundle your renter's insurance with your car insurance with the same company. And if you are willing to go with a higher deductible policy, your annual premium will be less expensive than if you go with a low deductible.
If you're a renter, the premiums for renter's insurance are so affordable that it doesn't make much sense to go without one. We are here to answer all of your questions, so feel free to reach out to us. (After all, that's what we're here for!)