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Should I Obtain Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance is the tenant’s counterpart to a homeowners policy. A rental policy is a wise investment, being relatively cheap – around $200 per year. Despite the reasonable cost, some estimate that only about half of tenants carry renters policies.

Scope of Policy

Although coverage varies depending on your policy, rental policies often cover:

  • Personal possessions, including bicycles, harmed by water damage, frozen pipes, aircraft, theft, vehicles, vandalism, hail and windstorms, smoke or explosion, falling objects, riots, fire or lightning, and certain other causes
  • Theft on premises
  • Lost luggage
  • Property stolen from your vehicle
  • Personal liability, including legal defense, and medical expenses for injuries to others on your premises or caused by you elsewhere

Important Considerations

  • Carefully check limitations to coverage and inquire about paying more to add anything important to you, such as coverage of particular types of personal property, or protection from harm from floods, hurricanes or earthquakes.
  • Confirm that the policy covers interim housing if your unit becomes inhabitable.
  • You may be eligible for a discount due to equipment such as security systems, smoke detectors or fire extinguishers.
  • A large portion of claims are for theft.
  • Your lease may require you to carry renters insurance.
  • Your landlord’s insurance policy will not cover your personal possessions.
  • Expensive or unique items such as jewelry, original art and some electronics may require the purchase of a special rider to the policy.
  • Be sure to insure your possessions for replacement cost, not actual cash value.
  • Conduct a thorough inventory, including pictures or video, making note of serial numbers. Store records offsite or in a fireproof spot.


A renters insurance policy is a must for anyone residing in rental property. You will be protected from personal property loss, certain disasters and some personal liability, depending upon the policy. An experienced real estate attorney can advise you about what features your policy should have, especially the extent of the personal liability and legal defense coverage. Your lawyer can also help you to fight the insurance company if it denies your claim.

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