6 reasons to get renters insurance

The living room in a modern apartment

What is renters insurance, and why should you have it? 

Home and car insurance are easy to grasp: If you own a home or vehicle, you'll be financially protected in case your property is damaged or destroyed. But, by definition, renters don't own their homes, so what does renters insurance cover? Who needs it most? And how much does it cost? We address these questions, plus more reasons to strongly consider renters insurance.

Apartment belongings including an exercise bike and couch

It's insurance for almost everything you own

Renters insurance's primary purpose is to insure you against the loss of your personal belongings. If they're stolen or damaged in a disaster or accident, your insurer will provide funds to replace them (minus the deductible). Certain damage may not be covered; renters policies usually don't cover losses from earthquake or flood damage, for example.

You may think you don't own much expensive stuff—a smartphone, a TV,  maybe a nice computer. But replacing less flashy items adds up quick: Imagine the price of replacing your entire wardrobe if it were lost in a fire. 

A man holds a DSLR camera while sitting at a computer

It can cover the full replacement cost of expensive items

Many renters policies offer the option to cover the full replacement cost of your items. That means you can cover the non-depreciated cost (i.e. the price you paid when you bought it new) of expensive items like cameras, televisions, computers, sound systems, and so on, rather than what they were worth when they were stolen or destroyed.

If, for example, your 5-year-old laptop was $1,500 when you bought it new but only worth $500 when it was stolen, it's insured at $1,500. Note that most policies have a cap on coverage for categories like electronics, so make sure yours has a high enough limit.

Twenty-dollar bills

It's one of the least expensive kinds of insurance

Despite potentially covering everything you own, renters insurance is cheap—really cheap, compared to auto and home insurance. Annual premiums are generally $100–300, depending on the coverage and limits you need, and paying monthly or quarterly can make it easier to fit into your budget.

Deductibles are typically low as well, with options commonly including $500 or $250. Going with a low deductible on renters insurance is a good idea: If your $1,200 television is stolen and you've chosen a $1,000 deductible, you're only going to get $200 after paying the deductible.

A fire-damaged apartment interior

It can cover you if you have to move out temporarily

Renters insurance isn't just about covering your belongings. In the event of a disaster—say, a fire or a major plumbing leak—the insurance your landlord carries only insures the building itself, not the additional living expenses that tenants may incur as a result. So if you can't live in your unit because it's been destroyed or your floors need replacing, renters insurance can pay for a hotel and other accommodations for a fixed amount of time (usually at least several months).

Sink water pipe leaking

It can also cover your liability, and some landlords require it

Speaking of fires and plumbing disasters, what happens if you're responsible for one? Without renters insurance, you could be sued or held liable for damages if a fire is your fault, or a leak in your unit floods a neighboring unit. A renters policy generally includes personal liability protection for these instances, which is why many landlords require tenants to carry a renters policy.

It could also protect you if a friend gets hurt in your home—you've got a much better chance at remaining friends if their medical care is paid for by your insurance rather than your checking account.

Diamond engagement ring

You can add coverage for expensive valuables

Renters insurance policies typically cover a total amount of personal property (say, $25,000) but may include lower limits by category (up to $2,000 of jewelry, up to $5,000 of electronics, for example).

If you have especially pricey items, such as an expensive engagement ring, vintage collectibles, or high-end electronics, most insurers allow you to add supplementary renters coverage for their full replacement cost. 


Personalized renters insurance quotes

Does renters insurance sound like a good fit for you? Get a quote through AAA online to see how affordable protecting yourself and your belongings could be. Plus, if you already have auto insurance through AAA, you can bundle to save with an insurance discount on both policies.

Get a renters quote

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