Renters Insurance Policy Basics
The four coverages that you should be aware of when it comes to renters insurance are:
- Personal Property
- Loss of Use
- Personal Liability
- Medical Payments
Additions and Alterations
Although as a tennant you do not have an insurable interest in the business you reside, you might add fixtures or make improvements to the apartment or home. These are considered “additional alterations.” If a covered loss occurred, you would be provided an amount equal to 10% of your personal property coverage
What is Renters Insurance?
Although tenants don’t own the building they live in, they’re still exposed to several risks. Their belongings could be stolen or damaged in a fire, and renters themselves might be named in liability lawsuits. Renters insurance helps Massachusetts residents who lease the place they live in from covered risks like these.
Renters insurance gives tenants important protections against risks that otherwise could lead to financial ruin, but many tenants fail to take advantage of these protections. The Insurance Information Institute’s data shows that only 37 percent of tenants have renters coverage, which leaves 63 percent of tenants without protection.
What Coverages Do Renters Policies Provide?
Renters policies are similar to homeowners policies, although their coverages have been modified to meet the particular needs of renters. In general, renters policies provide two main coverages: renters liability insurance coverage and renters personal property insurance coverage.
Renters liability insurance coverage typically provides protection from a range of liability lawsuits that seek to hold the policyholding tenant responsible. For example, this coverage might offer protection if a tenant:
- Starts a kitchen fire that burns down the apartment building
- Leaves clutter on the floor that a guest trips over
- Has a dog that bites a passerby while out walking
In most cases, renters liability insurance coverage will help pay legal fees, settlements and judgements associated with covered claims regardless of the outcome of the suit.
Renters personal property insurance coverage helps protect belongings that a tenant owns. The list of insured belongings may include anything from laundry and dishes to high-end electronics and furniture. Often, coverage protects these sorts of belongings from perils like burglary, vandalism and fire.
(As is true with most insurance policies, the specific items and perils that a renters policy’s coverages protect against are determined by the policy’s terms and conditions. Exact protections can vary.)
Are Buildings Covered by Renters Policies?
Because tenants don’t own the buildings they’re in, renters policies typically don’t provide coverage for buildings. It’s normally the landlord’s responsibility to make sure a building is insured against physical perils.
Should a tenant cause damage or destruction to a building, the incident may be covered under renters liability insurance coverage. Because the tenant is responsible for the incident, they might be held accountable via a liability suit or claim. This is different from property coverage that provides protection from physical perils, though.
What Massachusetts Residents Need Renters Coverage?
Most people who lease a residence in Massachusetts should consider getting renters coverage. This includes:
- Residents who live in the state year-round and lease their residence
- Residents who spend part of the year in the state and lease a residence
- College students who live off campus in a leased residence
- Employees who are leasing a short-term residence in the state for work
How Much Does Renters Coverage Cost?
Like homeowners coverage and other kinds of insurance, the premiums charged for renters coverage vary. Premiums are affected by a renter’s place of residence, claims history, selected limits and many other factors. Because there are so many factors that go into calculating premiums, some policies cost more and some cost less.
On the whole, however, renters coverage is a highly affordable insurance. Because renters policies usually don’t include structural coverage for buildings, the policies are frequently much less than homeowners policies. In some cases, renters policies cost as little as a few dollars per month.
How Can Massachusetts Residents Get Renters Insurance?
To get help finding insurance for a leased apartment, condo, townhome or single-family house, tenants in Massachusetts should contact Flavin and Flavin insurance. An agent who’s familiar with renters policies will be able to help with coverage selection, and one who’s independent will be able to obtain quotes from multiple insurance carriers in the state.’