The Beginners Guide to Getting Your First Renters Insurance Plan

By Armand Levitz

While the idea that millennials can’t afford homes because they’re eating too much avocado toast is a bit far fetched, it is true that the majority of millennials are renting their homes. The flexibility, affordability, and ability to rely on someone else to maintain the property are all reasons why renting is on the rise.

That doesn’t mean that you’re free from responsibility once you sign your lease. While things like furniture delivery, electricity, and wifi might be on your apartment checklist, getting a renters insurance policy should top the list of must-dos. Wondering what renters insurance will cover? Read on to learn all about apartment insurance and why coverage is essential for any renter.

An Introduction to Renters Insurance

Renters insurance can help protect you when the unexpected occurs. Most plans will cover events like floods, fires, vandalism, and theft.

Before getting a plan, though, it’s important to understand who and what will be covered. Even if you’ve been living with your roommate for years, they probably won’t be included in your plan. Only relatives living under the same roof can be put on your plan. You may think that you’re covered if your landlord has an insurance policy. However, that will only cover the building itself and any items of theirs, like appliances and furniture. That doesn’t mean you don’t have anything worth covering, though. Your belongings, like technology, clothes, and art, can all be covered under a renters insurance policy.

What It Covers

There are three areas that the average renters insurance plan will protect: your personal property, potential temporary living expenses, and personal liability and medical bills.

Personal property coverage will help support you if your things were lost, damaged, or stolen. If your apartment is affected by something like fire, freezing, smoke damage, or theft, your plan will cover you. So, if your upstairs neighbor forgets to turn off the oven and your apartment gets smoke damage, your plan will cover you to replace your wall decorations and any other items that may have been affected by the smoke.

If you have high ticket items like family heirlooms or fine art, you can add on extra coverage to ensure they’re protected, too. And the best part is, your apartment insurance plan protects your items even if they’re outside the apartment. So, if someone ends up stealing your purse while you’re at a cafe, your plan will reimburse you for the lost items.

If the oven fire at your neighbors apartment caused more than just smoke damage, you may have to vacate your apartment until repairs are complete. Your insurance provider will cover the costs of putting you up in a nearby hotel, and may even give you extra money for things like food and washing your clothes.

Finally, a good renters insurance plan will cover legal and medical expenses. If someone comes to your housewarming party, trips over your carpet, and ends up with a broken wrist, your insurance may actually cover the cost of their medical bills. Worst case, if they decide to sue you for the damage done, your insurance policy will help to cover your legal fees, too.

Renters insurance covers a wide range of items and scenarios. But, there are some things that it can’t help out with. This includes things like natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, relocation costs due to bedbug infestations, and your A/C going out in the summer.

How Much Coverage Should You Get?

There are two main types of insurance plans: actual cash value policies and total replacement cost coverage. The former will reimburse you for the cost of the item in today’s market. So, if you bought a pair of $800 shoes three years ago, they may only be worth about $150 today.

A total replacement policy will give you back the full amount of each item you need to replace. It costs a bit more per month, but could be worth it in the long run if you have a lot of high-cost items.

When deciding how much coverage you need, it’s a good idea to document your belongings. You can take photographs or video of your things, or compile receipts and papers that show what you own. That way, if you get robbed or your things are damaged, you have an easy-to-find ledger of your things. It’s always a good idea to round to the nearest $10,000 of coverage. It’s better to have too much coverage than too little!

Most plans are adjustable, too, so if you’ve recently made a big purchase, you can increase your coverage amount. The benefits of renters insurance are clear. For just a few dollars a month, you can protect your belongings and give yourself peace of mind.