Do you really need renters insurance? Yes, and here’s why

If you’re a renter, having renters insurance is extremely valuable. It covers lots of different scenarios you might potentially face, like stolen personal items, guest injuries, and reimbursement for temporary living expenses if your apartment gets damaged in a fire. Trust me, it’s essential — even if you’re convinced nothing will ever happen.

Here are some of the biggest reasons why you should invest in a renters insurance policy.

1. It protects your personal property against common losses

Unfortunately, no matter how safe your building or neighborhood is, there’s always a risk that your personal belongings can get damaged, stolen, or destroyed. And most of the time, these situations are completely out of your control.

An electrical fire could tear through your living room and burn everything in sight. A tree could fall onto the roof of your apartment building and cause major water damage in your top-floor unit. Someone could break into your apartment and steal your brand-new TV.

Fortunately, a basic renters insurance policy will cover these types of losses. Your insurance company provides a payout to help you replace your damaged belongings, so you don’t have to pay entirely out-of-pocket.

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However, if you keep expensive items or valuables in your apartment, you might want to consider adding an endorsement for more protection. For example, Lemonade sells an optional “Extra Coverage” policy, which will extend your coverage limits for things like fine art, jewelry, watches, cameras, and musical instruments.

2. It covers your belongings in your car and during travel

Not only does renters insurance cover the belongings in your main living space, but it also covers your personal items anywhere in the world. When you go on vacation, whether it’s a roadtrip to another state or a trip abroad, your belongings are still covered (but note that the coverage is often limited).

In addition, renters insurance protects the belongings inside your car. So, if your car got stolen and your laptop was inside, it would be your renters insurance policy — not your car insurance — that would pay for a replacement. Without renters insurance, you would be responsible for buying a new laptop with your own money.

3. It provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt in your apartment

Everyone knows that accidents happen, but some accidents are more serious than others. Renters insurance includes personal liability insurance in case someone gets injured at your apartment, and you are found responsible. If you have a pet, this one is especially important.

For example, let’s say that your normally friendly goldendoodle gets spooked by a new mail carrier and bites them. The mail carrier has a deep cut and needs to get it checked out at the emergency room. In this case, the bodily injury liability portion of your renters insurance policy would cover their medical bills, as well as your legal defense if you got sued for being a negligent dog owner.

4. Your landlord’s insurance policy doesn’t cover you

When it comes to renters insurance, it’s a common misconception that your landlord’s insurance policy extends coverage to you and your belongings. But actually, that’s not true.

Your landlord does have their own insurance policy, but it only covers the physical building you live in and the common spaces. So, for instance, if a fire burned down the entire building or a tenant slipped and fell down some uneven stairs, their landlord insurance would cover them.

However, landlord insurance never covers tenants’ belongings. Even if your apartment building crumbled to the ground in an earthquake, destroying everything inside each unit, it would still be your renters insurance policy that would pay for your damaged belongings and temporary accommodations until you found a new place to live.

Read more: Can my landlord REALLY do that? A guide to renters’ rights

5. Your roommate’s renters insurance policy doesn’t cover you

Another myth about renters insurance is that, if your roommate has a policy, you’re automatically covered. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Unless you and your roommate have a joint renters insurance policy, and both of your names are listed as named insureds, you are not covered under their policy.

If you have the option to get a renters insurance policy with a roommate or your significant other, you should consider the pros and cons before you do it. When you split a policy with someone else, you ultimately divide the amount of coverage in two. And as you might imagine, that can lead to some tense conversations if one or both of you has a claim. Having your own renters insurance policy is always going to be the better option, even though it will cost slightly more.

Read more: Should you share renters insurance with your roommate?

6. It pays for accommodations if you have to unexpectedly move out

Basic renters insurance policies come with coverage for additional living expenses, which is also called loss of use coverage. If your apartment gets damaged in a covered claim, your renters insurance policy will reimburse you for the cost of temporary accommodations, like a hotel room, parking fees, laundry, and restaurant meals.

Of course, your policy has a coverage limit, so it probably won’t pay for you to stay in a five-star hotel. However, it can save you a significant amount of money that you would otherwise have to pay out-of-pocket.

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Now is a good time to reiterate that your landlord’s insurance policy won’t pay for your short-term living expenses if something happens to the apartment unit or building and it becomes uninhabitable. That alone should convince you that having renters insurance is valuable.

7. Renters insurance is very affordable

At this point, hopefully you’ve come around to the benefits of renters insurance. But above all else, one of the best reasons to get renters coverage is because the policies are so affordable.

Unlike car insurance or home insurance, for example, renters insurance policies are pretty cheap. The Insurance Information Institute (III) found that the average cost of renters insurance is $174 per year, which breaks down to less than $15 per month.

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Purchasing renters insurance through an online insurance marketplace can also help you get a competitive rate. For example, Policygenius matches you with several different insurance providers based on a single application, and can help you find the lowest rate possible (in the shortest amount of time).

Renters insurance is extremely budget-friendly, but it provides a significant amount of protection. Not to mention, the small monthly cost of renters insurance could help you save lots of money if you have a major claim worth thousands of dollars or even more.

Is renters insurance ever required?

Renters insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but some landlords require tenants to carry renters insurance as a condition of their lease agreement. It limits the amount of risk the landlord takes on and ensures you won’t try to go after their insurance company if you experience a loss.

Read more: 10 things to consider before you sign a rental lease

But even if your landlord doesn’t require you to have renters insurance, it’s still a good thing to have. Ultimately, things can always go wrong and we don’t usually see them coming. When it comes to your living space and your personal belongings, having the right protection in place is important.

Without renters insurance, you could face a huge out-of-pocket cost after a loss. In an already stressful situation, having renters insurance can provide some peace of mind knowing that financially, you have less to worry about.

Featured image: Antonio Guillem/

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