You finally found an apartment with affordable rent and you’re saving a few hundred – what if your landlord slaps you with renters insurance? This is a hidden cost many landlords don’t advertise but make mandatory when you move in. Fortunately, renters insurance is not as expensive as homeowners insurance and you’ll be paying a minuscule price on an annual basis. Even when you’re renting, there’s a chance you’re keeping as many valuables in the apartment as someone who owns their own home. This is why you should consider signing up for renters insurance on your own.
So, can a landlord require renters insurance? Yes, a landlord can require renters insurance from tenants as a lease condition in all U.S. states except Oklahoma. Landlords can further require tenants to have a minimum amount of coverage insurance. The landlord may refuse to sign a lease with tenants who don’t own renters insurance.
In exceptional cases, landlords may request to be listed as the additional insured person on your renters policy including the manager of the property, if they don’t manage the property themselves. If you bought insurance 12 months ago and your lease is expiring along with your insurance, the landlord can request proof you renewed your policy before they agree to extend your lease.
Note: There are certain exceptions where leases don’t require renters insurance, and tenants don’t have to worry about extending it on time. This depends on your specific situation. If your landlord requires insurance, you have no choice but to purchase a policy. This is becoming more common than it used to be because landlords want to avoid being hit by lawsuits in the event of an accident inside their property.
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1. Renters Insurance Is Affordable
Renters insurance is affordable, or dare we say… dirt cheap. Example: In New York State, a state with the highest prices for home insurance in the nation, the average cost of renters insurance is $211 a year. Many homeowners pay this per month. This carries numerous benefits in relation to your personal belongings. Renters insurance does not include damage to the building, but it covers you for your personal belongings. All the clothing items and electronics you own are covered. Was your bike stolen when you were away from the apartment? You can file a claim. Has someone broken into and stolen your iPhone? You can file a claim. The building doesn’t have to burn down in a catastrophic fire for you to be able to file a claim. Renters insurance covers you for even the smallest personal belongings.
Renters insurance is the cheapest form of insurance because it covers personal belongings and it’s mostly used by people who reside in apartment complexes, which represent a smaller risk than houses. Most people on renters insurance will be paying $100-200 per year total. Compared to the benefits you’re getting in return this is a great deal.
2. It Protects Your Personal Belongings
The personal belongings in your apartment are insured and protected. You don’t need to be married in your mid-40s with a mortgage, a picket fence, and a stable 6-figure income before you decide you need to protect your belongings. Even if you’re a broke college student renting an apartment, you probably own thousands of dollars worth of valuables which could be stolen. This is why you should insure them to protect yourself from accidents and theft. If you have valuable jewelry such as watches, necklaces, and rings, you can also insure these although the insurance company might require you to report these high-value items individually. You can insure everything from jeans to laptops. This is covered under a typical renters policy.
3. It Covers Your Medical Expenses
Do you remember all those headlines of people going bankrupt from medical bills? It could happen to you too. The insurance companies call this liability coverage. They give you medical coverage in case you’re personally injured on your property. This helps you avoid paying six figures out of pocket if your building gets struck by lighting, if you get caught in a house fire or if you burn your hand on the stove. Anything that happens in your apartment, whether it’s your fault or someone else’s, you’re insured and secure.
The coverage cost will vary by the insurer and many of these will have limits. Example: If you’re paying $150 a year for insurance you might get $150,000 in liability coverage. If you double that to $300 a year you could double get $300,000 in liability. You should consult with your insurance company to negotiate the coverage you need. Your landlord might require you to have a basic minimum coverage before they allow you to sign a lease. The minimum coverage amount will be defined in your lease policy. If you have a real estate agent they can help you sort out your renters insurance policy and adjust your coverage, as they have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies.
4. It Covers Your Living Expenses
What if the apartment complex is completely destroyed? You still won’t go homeless due to renters insurance. The company will pay for your lodging in a hotel until the landlord can fix the apartment and make it habitable again. The renters insurance policy covers your living expenses while you have no residence and if your home is destroyed or needs remodeling, they will pay for your expenses until its habitable again.
How Much Renters Insurance Do You Need?
The landlord might impose a minimal renters insurance amount, but they usually leave tenants choice to shop around and purchase whichever coverage they want. If you go with one of the largest insurers such as State Farm they will let you have over $100,000 in liability coverage for as little as $100-150 per year depending on the size of your apartment and the personal belongings. You can easily double or triple that if you want to get additional coverage, since you’re paying by the year. Get as much as you can afford.
Pro Tip: Think about the value of your belongings. How much money are you going to need to replace your current belongings? Do you own expensive fashion? Do you have jewelry in the house? Do you own the latest iPhone and laptop? Calculate how much you have in personal belongings and get renters insurance according to that. Most standard policies will provide at least $30,000 in personal property insurance and $100,000+ in liability insurance. If your belongings surpass that, you can adjust your plan accordingly.