Rental Insurance for Apartments – Do All Renters Really Need It?

The number one question renters must ask themselves: what are the chances your apartment will have a break-in? Flood? Explode? Chances aren’t likely, but when you’re looking into rental insurance, you’re betting that something terrible will happen to your home.

When you move into an apartment for rent, (found on PadMapper, naturally) every insurance broker in the country will try to tell you that you are absolutely, positively, a moron if you don’t have rental insurance. They use taglines like “Even renters are owners,” and “Own piece of mind with renters insurance.” But what does it really protect you from?

Many of the top insurers focus on selling Personal Property Protection, which covers the loss or damage of personal belongings like televisions, furniture, computers, clothing and jewelry. You might use this insurance if you weren’t paying attention to our crime map overlay and some joker broke into your apartment and swiped your MacBook Pro, or if you accidentally flushed your prized watch down the toilet. Most insurance companies will cover the belongings at replacement value, and lend protection to belongings outside of the home as well. That means, if someone breaks into your car and rips off your Ke$ha CD, it’s totally covered.

Insurance companies currently estimate the personal property value for a two-bedroom apartment is roughly $30,000. For most young adults entering their first college apartment, you might not need rental insurance because you just don’t have that much to lose. When I was in college, you could round up everything I owned at the time and it might total $2,000. And that’s including my iPod.

Since this is a well-known fact for the majority of renters out there, rental insurance agents try to sweeten the deal by including the following lesser-used coverage:

• Guest Medical Protection: This covers the cost of medical expenses like an ambulance ride if a visitor is injured inside the house for rent
• Liability Protection: Offers legal representation against judgments for incidences covered by the rental policy
• Reimbursed Living Expenses: Provides the cost for rental housing in the event that your property is deemed unlivable due to an environmental or structural disaster
• Discounted Multi-Line Coverage (Renters + Auto): Includes savings of up to 25% depending on what kind of property you’re currently renting

In the end, rental insurance is a financial lifesaver when you need it. Personally, I currently have rental insurance to protect against the somewhat likelihood of my fiancée losing her engagement ring. I live in an average Seattle house for rent, and rental insurance costs about $170 per year, which is a little more than $14 per month. I personally don’t really want to pay that much money for “peace of mind,” but making this bet isn’t a waste of money.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted August 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Great article!

    I recently switched auto insurance policies (once he moved in, my boyfriend was no longer covered under my old policy), and got renter’s insurance as well. I hadn’t had it in a few years, and while I didn’t have any issues with stuff being stolen, my car window was broken recently (they definitely could have stolen my entire CD collection!), and it’s just good to have. Our renter’s policy covers both of our belongings, whether they’re in the apartment or not (ie: if his hockey gear gets stolen out of the car, if someone steals his skis at Tahoe, etc.), and it was $196 for the year. We got a really good discount on the auto policy too, since now we are multiple-policy customers! :-)

    It actually turned out to be cheaper for us to get renters with the auto than just to get auto on its own – funny how those multi-policy discounts work out!

  2. Fusion6
    Posted August 28, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    There you go…an add-on to have insurance companies on the map. Maybe they can help you with ad spots.

    The insurance agents pay in the areas you display rental listings, they can be the friendly neighborhood agent for renters insurance.

    You map system is great!!

  3. Jack
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The coverage you mention is a great reason to have a renters policy but the best reason is the liability coverage. What happens if you are burning a candle forget about it and burn down a few units in your complex? Does the apartment complex owners insurance cover that? Maybe and maybe not.

    • Mil
      Posted January 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      I was hoping the article would answer this question. I saw max liability for a lot of the policies was at $300k. I (with 2 others) rent a 1.3million dollar home. So say one of them hand a candle fire, would the landlord’s insurance try to come after us for the money? Thats why I wanted rental insurance.

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