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Laura Berry

Former Insurance Agent

Former Insurance Agent

Joshua Adamson

Joshua is a copywriter at Obrella who for more than 10 years has been creating content about insurance, health care, and more. He helps companies explain complex insurance subjects in simple ways so that customers can make smart buying decisions. He spends way too much time binge-watching Netflix, loves the outdoors and has a cat who tolerates him.

UPDATED: Nov 29, 2023

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What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Whether you're renting a five-bedroom home or a studio apartment, renters insurance can help protect you and your property from theft, injury, and natural disaster. Each policy is different, but renters insurance typically covers your property and protects you from personal liability. When unexpected circumstances arise, you'll want the security of knowing you're covered. Below are some frequently asked questions about renters insurance.

Does renters insurance cover water damage?

A renters policy covers small-scale water damage. If a pipe breaks, your washing machine overflows, or the swamp cooler leaks, your insurance will cover damage to your personal property.

However, your policy does not just cover your belongings it offers property and liability insurance to protect renters when a malfunctioning bathtub drains into a neighbor’s unit or a sink leaks and spoils food in a cabinet. There will be a liability limit that covers any out-of-pocket expenses up to a certain amount, as well as an amount it will reimburse you for personal property that was damaged or ruined.

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Does renters insurance cover theft/car theft/bike theft?

Personal property theft — including bicycle theft — is covered, though vehicle theft is not. If your automobile has been stolen from your residence, you will need to rely on your auto insurance policy to cover the damages or replacement.

Standard renters insurance policies cover personal property theft in the event that your belongings are stolen from your rental unit or out of the trunk of your car even if you are out of the country at the time. It is critical to make a home inventory. Take pictures of any valuable items, record their serial numbers, and keep your receipts. That way, if a burglary occurs, you’ll know exactly what went missing. This can speed up the claims process.

Bike theft is also covered, and it doesn’t make a difference where your bike is parked during the time of the theft. Whether your bike is parked outside your apartment complex or in front of your office, a renters insurance policy will cover a replacement. If your bike is a top-of-the-line model, consider adding more coverage and a replacement-cost policy, which will cover the total cost to replace your bicycle, not just its value after depreciation.

A renters insurance policy will not cover vehicle theft or damage. If you want to cover your car, you need a separate auto insurance policy.

Does renters insurance cover damage caused by pets?

Depending on the state you live in and the policy you choose, renters insurance may cover damage your pet inflicts on your home and others.

If your pet bites someone or scratches up the tile, some insurance companies will cover the injuries or damages. However, in some states, pet-incurred liabilities are excluded from coverage on renters insurance policies. In this case, you might benefit from switching companies or purchasing separate pet liability insurance.

Does renters insurance cover moving?

Renters insurance will not cover the cost of moving or the cost of replacing your belongings due to breakage during moving. It covers your personal property while it is at your residence, and will reimburse you for your belongings in the event that they encounter theft or natural disaster during transport.

Before movers load their truck with your belongings, make sure that their moving insurance policy adequately covers the value of your goods. Also, make sure to update your insurance company with your new address so you can rest assured that your coverage will follow you to your new location.

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Does renters insurance cover bed bugs?

Bed bugs are considered an insect infestation and are excluded from renters insurance policies.

Does renters insurance cover property damage: appliances/vandalism?

Vandalism and appliance damages are covered by renters insurance.

Vandalism, or “malicious mischief,” is standard in many renters insurance policies. If there is intentional destruction of your personal property, you should file a police report and an insurance claim.

However, vandalism to your car is excluded you’ll need an auto insurance policy for that coverage.

Does renters insurance cover gadgets?

Your renters insurance policy likely covers electronics like your laptop, cellphone, camera, and television if they are stolen. However, these gadgets may not be covered for technical issues.

If you invest in valuable gadgets, you may want to pay for a higher level of coverage for expensive items.

For ultimate protection, consider buying gadget insurance for individual devices through the gadget’s manufacturer or through an insurance agency. Pay attention to your warranty coverage, too.

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Does renters insurance cover weather damage: smoke/fire/flood/lightning/earthquake?

Most types of natural disasters such as fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, smoke damage, and volcanic eruption are covered by renters insurance. There are two notable exceptions: floods and earthquakes.

Like homeowners insurance, flood coverage requires an additional insurance plan. The National Flood Insurance Program provides a guide for renters looking to purchase flood insurance.

According to the California Department of Insurance, earthquake insurance is a separate form of property insurance that is not included in renters insurance. It covers damage to your belongings and puts a roof over your head while your rental undergoes repairs.

Does renters insurance cover liability?

Renters liability coverage is typically standard with a renters policy. Should someone be injured on the rental property where you are currently a tenant, your renters insurance policy will cover many related expenses. This not only includes medical claims, but also the fees for a resulting lawsuit. Legal expenses are generally covered up to $100,000.

Does renters insurance cover lost items?

Lost personal items are not covered by renters insurance. Misplacing your personal belongings is not considered a situation of risk or peril, like theft and fire.

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Does renters insurance cover all tenants?

Many insurance companies offer renters insurance policies that roommates can share. However, unless your roommate is a family member or domestic partner, it is often best to have separate policies so each person is responsible for their own personal property coverage.

How does renters insurance work?

If your personal property is damaged or stolen, file a claim with your insurance agency. If the claim is approved, you will be reimbursed for your personal property loss.

The quickest way to speed up the claims process is to be sure to make a home inventory and keep it updated before a disaster happens that will require you to make a claim. This way it is very clear what items were covered, their condition, and you can quickly go through the inventory list to find out which items were damaged and require repair or replacement.

Depending on your policy, you may have to pay the deductible when filing your claim.

If someone is injured on the property you are renting, they can file a liability claim with your insurance agency as well. Your insurance agency will work directly with the injured party to resolve their claim.

How much renters insurance do I need?

The amount of insurance you require on your renters policy depends on the value of your personal possessions and what damages you feel like you require coverage for. If you have some valuable belongings like a high-end sound system, expensive or heirloom jewelry, or fine art, then you likely will want additional coverage for these items and can add a rider to your renters policy for extra coverage.

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How much is renters insurance per month?

On average, renters insurance is $15-20 a month for coverage between $30,000 and $50,000 with a $500–$1,000 deductible. Your monthly payment, coverage amount, and deductible depends on the policy and riders you add. If you are getting renters insurance quotes, be sure that the policies you are comparing have equivalent and adequate coverage and deductibles before making a decision.

How Long Does It Take to Get Renters Insurance?

Depending on the renters insurance company you use, your renters insurance policy can begin today.

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