Apartment renters insurance: How renters insurance works

There are various reasons why people rent. One reason may be they do not want the hassles and expense that comes along with owning a home. Renting, however, does not exclude you from certain expenses or liabilities. Have you considered what will happen if your apartment or home suddenly became unlivable because of a storm or fire? You can assume your property is protected by the landlord’s insurance. It most cases you would be wrong. The landlord’s coverage most likely will only cover the structural part of the property so if the building goes up in smoke and you lose everything, the landlord will not be responsible for your stuff.

Protecting yourself as a renter is important. Any number of things can happen at any time. Like a homeowner, you need to look closely at insurance. Many insurance companies offer an HO-4 policy that will cover your personal property from such things as fire, lightning, vandalism, theft, damage caused by plumbing, heating, or air-conditioning problems, and explosions. Two things rental insurance will not cover is loss from earthquakes and floods. A separate policy is required for that type of coverage if you are living in a region where that would be a concern.

Insurance companies offer policies based on Actual Cash Value, which pays for what your belongings were worth at the time of the damage or theft, and Replacement Cost Value, which will reimburse you for what it costs to replace the items. If you bought a new mattress five years ago for $1,000, ACV coverage would pay you for what the mattress would be worth today; an amount considerably less than it was five years ago. With RCV, the insurance company would reimburse you the amount it would cost to buy a new mattress today. Most insurance companies use the ACV policies, which carry lower premiums than the RCV coverage but the ACV policy also will pay out less money that the RCV. Both types of policies also will subtract the deductible first.

Like most insurance, your premium for renter’s insurance will depend on where you live and other factors. Keeping a higher deductible can keep your monthly payments lower. There are discounts available for things like smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. It is important that you keep an accurate and updated inventory of your all of your property. A good way to keep track is to videotape everything you own. Keep the video and all receipts for items in a firesafe or a bank safe deposit box off premises. In the event something does happen, you will not need to worry about retrieving your documents from your home.