Answer No state or city requires you to buy renters insurance. Landlords often require renters insurance — but even if they don’t, there are good reasons to consider buying it, whether you rent an apartment, a condo or a house.
One of the top reasons: Your landlord’s insurance covers the building you live in but, in most cases, not your belongings or your liability if a visitor is hurt.
So what happens if a fire, leak or other covered event damages your furniture, clothes and other items? Or if a burglar makes off with your computer? Or your bike is vandalized? You would be on the hook if you needed to pay for repairs or to buy new things. Renters insurance can help you pay these costs.
Or what happens if a dinner guest slips on a throw rug and breaks an arm? Renters insurance can help you protect your finances by helping you cover costs you’re held responsible for, including medical and legal expenses. Coverage limits typically run from $100,000 to $300,000.
If it’s included in your policy or you opt for additional coverage, renters insurance can also help you pay for rent and food if you have to live elsewhere while your rental home is repaired.
Yes, and landlords often do require renters insurance as a condition of your lease or rental agreement. They can also mandate that you buy a certain amount of coverage.
Remember, your landlord’s insurance provides coverage for the building itself, but this likely does not include your personal belongings. The personal property coverage in renters insurance can help cover the cost of repairing your possessions if they’re damaged or destroyed in a covered event like a fire or burglary.
The liability coverage in renters insurance may also help pay for another person’s medical bills or repairs to their property if you’re found legally responsible for their injuries or property damage. And it may help cover your legal expenses if you’re sued over an incident that occurs in the place you’re renting.
For a landlord, requiring tenants to have insurance reduces the chances of conflict if damage occurs or in the case of a liability claim. If you’re a renter, insurance can help protect your finances against a sudden loss.
A good place to start when thinking about how much renters insurance you might need: take an inventory of your belongings and their value. It’s also important to add up your net worth. Both are key to picking the amount of coverage you want.
You can also decide if you want your insurance to cover the actual cash value of your possessions — meaning, how much your 5-year-old TV would sell for now — or whether you want it to cover the replacement cost, meaning what it would take to buy a new, similar TV.
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