Nearly 72% of householders under age 30 live in rental housing, according to the National Multihousing Council. Yet many people have either never heard of renter’s insurance or ignore it. According to a 2014 survey by the Insurance Information Institute, 95 percent of homeowners had homeowner’s insurance but only 37 percent of renters had renter’s insurance.
We have had more than one tenant be upset with us or the owner when there is an issue that was no fault of the tenant but yet they had to stay in a hotel or their belongings were damaged. For example, sewer backups or burst pipes that ruined their electronics. It’s easy to be blasé when most rental leases make the renter responsible only for what happens “from the paint in.” After all, you may think, building problems may make your life uncomfortable but the repair bill ultimately goes to the landlord. In fact, while your landlord’s insurance covers damage to the building, it doesn’t cover your belongings.
Even if you don’t think your possessions are valuable, imagine the implications of losing and having to replace everything you own. “You try to replace your bed, mattress, comforter, sheets, pillow—we’re talking a lot of money here,” says Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president of the Insurance Information Institute. “If you have to re-buy everything, it’s going to cost thousands, even for the most bare-bones apartment.”
Renter’s insurance provides financial protection against the loss or destruction of possessions from fire or smoke, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and water damage (not including floods). If the individual is unable to live in his or her apartment, the policy also covers the cost of living in a comparable apartment for a certain amount of time.
Our owner cannot and will not cover hotel stays, displacements, or damage to belongings. They are not required to by law nor will their insurance cover it. Therefore, it is very important that as a renter you purchase renter’s insurance to cover your belongings and displacement. Some insurances will even cover tenant neglect (i.e. not reporting a leak and it causes $5000 in damages).
It is important to note, however, that renters’ insurance usually does not cover losses to your rental property due to a flood. For many reasons, flood insurance is usually offered as a separate policy that must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This type of insurance typically covers the actual cash value (not the replacement cost) of the physical structure of the home and a detached garage, if any. While many property owners think that they don’t need flood insurance because their property is not located in a “high-risk” area, the reality is that floods can and do happen anywhere, and often strike without warning. Whether from a burst pipe or an unusual amount of rain, floods damage and destroy homes on a regular basis.
If you think you can’t afford it think again. The average annual premium is less than $200 or $16.66 a month. Two nights in a hotel can cost you easily $90 per night. So if you have to stay in a hotel for longer than 2 days you could have paid for renters insurance. We have had to displace tenants for weeks due to different issues. A good comforter and sheet set can run upwards of $150. Most likely if you are replacing those items you will be replacing the mattress and box spring as well. Think hard before you decide not to purchase renter’s insurance. It could save you thousands.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.