Which Type of Renters Insurance is Right for You?

Insurance. It’s one of those topics some people prefer to ignore.

 

That is, until they need it.

 

Renters insurance is a type of coverage that should be well thought out. If life does throw an unwanted curveball at you, be it a fire, theft, or a fluke accident, you want to ensure you’ll be covered, both financially and with peace of mind.

 

Not sure where to start? Whether you’re getting your first place or have been gambling by going without renters insurance for years, this article will break down two types of renters insurance policies in detail so that you can make the best choice for your individual needs.

 

What is renters insurance?

Put simply, renters insurance is coverage the protects your possessions in the event of a disaster or unforeseen event. This type of insurance will cover your belongings against loss from vandalism, theft, smoke, fire, windstorm, lightning, water damage (excluding floods) and more. Similar to homeowners insurance, you are covered under renters insurance if someone should get injured on your premise and file a claim.

 

Your landlord might have insurance to protect the building you live in. But their policy will do nothing to protect your individual possessions. If your home is a complete loss, the structure may be rebuilt but you’ll be coming back to an empty home.

 

Renters insurance comes with two basic policies: replacement cost and actual cash value coverage.

 

Replacement cost coverage is generally going to be a little higher in rates since it pays out more.  Actual cash value will pay the cost of replacing your possessions, but only at depreciated value.  It’s important that you really understand the distinction between both before deciding on which coverage you want.

 

Actual cash value

old-leather-couch-replacement-insuranceActual cash value renters insurance will pay to replace your possessions minus their depreciation. For example, your couch may have cost you $3,000 when you bought it, but this was ten years ago. The depreciation deduction could leave you with very little actual cash value as the item’s actual cash value will be the amount it is worth on today’s market.

 

The benefit of going with actual cash value on your renters insurance is that you will have lower monthly premiums since you will only get the depreciated value of your damaged items. However, you might not get enough reimbursement to fully replace your items.

 

If you’re just starting out and don’t have much to claim yet, an actual cash value policy could save you some money while you save up for matching furniture sets and your dream entertainment system.

 

Replacement

If you’re concerned that an actual cash value policy could still leave you with a financial wound, a replacement cost policy is worth looking into.

 

Replacement cost will pay for replacing your damaged, destroyed, or stolen possessions at full value without deducting for depreciation. This is often estimated as the amount you originally paid for the item.  If this particular item is not available any longer, you will still get the original price you paid for it to find a similar item. Should the item you bought be available but the price for it has been reduced, the value for it might be reflected in your claim.

 

In some cases, the replacement cost might be paid in a couple installments. The insurer might often send an initial ACV payment for the item or half of the entire replacement cost.  After you have purchased a replacement, documentation will need to be sent in by you to the insurance company so they can send you the remaining amount.

 

The benefit of choosing replacement cost on your renters insurance is that your damaged item will be replaced fully at current market value.  No depreciation is deducted; however, you will have a slightly higher monthly premium.

 

If you own high-end furniture, several televisions, laptops, and other electronics, or have filled your home with plenty of décor accents and furnishings, a replacement cost policy is best for you. Certain items can depreciate quickly, even if they’re still in great shape. This policy will ensure you can replace any lost items with those that won’t leave you feeling shorted.

 

What else should I know?

No matter which of the discussed policies you choose, there are a few situations that aren’t covered. This includes flooding, earthquakes, and hurricanes. To further protect yourself, you may want to consider purchasing floaters, or additional policies.

 

There are also limitations on certain types of coverage. For example, most policies have limited coverage on items like jewelry. If your jewelry box is a bit light, the limited coverage could be more than enough. But if you’re a collector of the finer things in life, purchasing additional coverage is the wise thing to do.

 

When obtaining renters insurance, it’s essential that you take inventory of all your possessions you wish to cover and assess the value of each for replacing them should accidental damage, disaster or theft happen.

 

How do I know which is right for me?

Still not sure which insurance policy you should go with? Tallying up the current value of your possessions and receiving quotes for both types is a great place to start. But speaking with an insurance agent will guarantee you the perfect coverage.

 

Keep in mind that you can always change your policy. What serves as proper coverage today might be inadequate a year down the line.

 

If you’ve been flirting with disaster for too long by avoiding renters insurance, the best time to look into a policy is now. The last thing you want to face is a smoldering building and the loss of all your possessions simply because you put off making the initial call.

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Saving Money on Renters Insurance is Easy with These 10 Tips

We hear it all the time. “I can’t afford renters insurance.”

 

We beg to differ.

 

The truth is that you can’t afford NOT to have renters insurance.

 

How well do you know all your neighbors? Can you guarantee one won’t leave a candle burning overnight? Is there a chance that one would buzz a stranger into the building and put everyone at risk for a burglary? What would happen if your upstairs neighbor left their sink running before heading out of town for a week?

 

We can’t stop terrible things from happening. The key to preventing the unthinkable from tearing apart our lives is to be as prepared as possible. Having renters insurance is a great start.

 

Renters insurance will help you replace destroyed or stolen items and protect your future financial interests in the event that someone is injured in your home. Yes, it’s an added expense. But when you think of what could happen without it, the yearly cost suddenly seems more than worth it.

 

If you’re still worried that the cost of protection will throw your budget off balance, there are a few things you can do that will have you saving money on renters insurance. The following tips will not only help you reduce the price of your policy, but also reduce the chances you’ll ever need to use it.

 

Location, location

The neighborhood you live in can have a direct effect on your renters insurance premium. Do you live in a neighborhood that’s ranked as safe or one that experiences regular break-ins and violence?

 

Sometimes, your budget puts you in a neighborhood that’s somewhere in the middle but if you can spring it, opt for a safer neighborhood (for several reasons). Also look for buildings with 24-hour doormen. This is another way to receive a discount.

 

Increase safety measures

We can’t prevent everything. But by taking a few preventative steps, your insurance provider will see you as less of a risk. Here are just a few things you can do to bump up the safety in your residence (just check with your landlord or co-op board if necessary beforehand).

 

  • Add more locks, either on entrances or windows.
  • Install additional security systems and monitors.
  • Live in newer or updated buildings or speak to your co-op board about building renovations, like updating old wiring.

 

You can call your insurance agent for more ideas.

 

Payment options

Save yourself a little time and stress by setting up your renters insurance payments to be paid automatically. Not only will you not have to worry about a lapse in coverage or late fees, you can save a bit from your premium with most companies.

 

Another way to save in this department is to pay your premium annually instead of monthly or quarterly.

 

Group savings

This isn’t a guaranteed savings but it’s worth looking into. Some insurance providers give discounts to certain business or professional groups, like dentists, teachers, police, firefighters, or doctors.

 

Are you in a union? You could also be eligible for a discount. If you’re part of a large company and can speak with the right management personnel, see if you can work out a group savings discount with your insurance company if a certain number of employees switch to their coverage.

 

Miscellaneous discounts

Who doesn’t love an easy discount? Senior discounts aren’t just for restaurants or retail shops. If you’re enjoying the golden years of your life, give your insurance agent a call and inquire about a senior discount.

 

Still several years before retirement? See if your policy offers a veterans discount (if applicable) or student discount. It never hurts to ask. Even if a company doesn’t currently offer a discount, they could offer one in the future if they receive enough requests.

 

Inform your agent of any changes

If anything changes regarding your insurance needs, make sure you call your agent right away. You may need to increase your coverage, or you could be safe staying with the same policy. At the same time, you might be able to remove a floater or expansion if it no longer applies.

 

Make sure you check your policy, especially after a change. We know, it’s long and full of legal jargon. But taking the time to read through it and bringing up any questions with your insurance agent will ensure you’re getting the coverage you think you are at a price that seems fair. You might catch an error or find out you’re paying for something you no longer need.

 

Quit smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths and one of the top causes of fires in general.

 

If you’re currently putting yourself (and your neighbors) at risk by smoking in or near your building, cutting the habit will not only improve your health but lessen the cost of your renters insurance.

 

Improve Your Credit Score

Boosting your credit score can help you save big on your auto and renters insurance. It all goes back to the risk factor and insurance companies view people who have dings and dents on credit reports a bigger risk.

 

Take the time to examine your credit report, get rid of false information, and make strides to clean up any negatives so that you can enjoy lower rates on your NY renters insurance.

 

Bundle Policies

Insurance companies do reward loyalty. The more insurance products you have with one company, the deeper the discounts tend to be.

 

Even if you do not own a car, you do have other options to bundle with your renters insurance policy. This includes things like life insurance or motorcycle insurance. Keep that in mind and see what types of discounts are available.

 

Compare Costs

While loyalty is great, and some insurance companies will offer rewards for remaining loyal, it isn’t always the best way to get the lowest cost. Provided you are making apples to apples comparisons, there is no harm in seeing if the grass is greener with another insurance provider.

 

If you work with a brokerage, like Co-op Insurance, you’ll enjoy the benefits of working with an insurance broker rather than an agent. Brokers sell insurance from several carriers where an agent works for just one company. A broker can ensure you’re getting the perfect combination of coverage and savings by doing the shopping around for you.

 

Overall, speak with your insurance agent about saving money on your renters insurance. Remember, a good agent will want to work with you to get the right amount of coverage for the best possible price.

 

Renters insurance is already affordable but once you put these renters insurance money saving tips to use, you’ll be able to protect your possessions without your budget taking a hit.

 

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What Everyone Should Know About Renters Insurance

If you rent your place then you need to be thinking about renters insurance. You may be a careful, responsible person, but your new neighbors may not be. Between accidents, injuries, and natural disasters, insurance is the best way to protect yourself and your property.

Insurance for Renters

There are several reasons why renters might avoid renters insurance. They may think that they take good care of their belongings and their apartment, so nothing bad can happen. Unfortunately, doors get left unlocked, ovens get turned on and forgotten, and bathrooms flood. When you live in an apartment building, you are often at the mercy of your fellow tenants.

 

Other renters erroneously believe they don’t need insurance because their landlord’s insurance will cover them in the event of a fire, flood, or theft. The truth is that your landlord’s insurance only protects them, not their tenants. It covers them against structural damage and, in many cases, damage that renters cause. However, your personal property won’t be covered without a renters insurance policy.

 

Another reason renters shy away from insurance is because they don’t believe they have anything worth covering. But the truth of the matter is, renters tend to have more valuables than they did a few decades ago. When you’re considering the value of your belongings, remember to include:

  • Furniture
  • Televisions
  • Laptops and assorted electronics
  • Gaming systems
  • Smart speakers
  • Jewelry
  • Antiques and heirlooms
  • Clothes
  • Renter-owned appliances (washer and dryer, microwave, etc.)

 

You may be surprised by how quickly these all add up. Do some research to determine how much your possessions are worth based on replacement cost. So, how much would it cost you to replace your TV? Make sure your policy will cover everything, and talk to your insurance broker to make sure you have the coverage you need.

Covering Your Furry Friend

yellow lab sitting on leather chair in apartment: pet protection, what everyone should know about renters insuranceThere could be as many as 1.1 million pets living in New York City, according to the NYC Economic Development Corporation. That means hundreds of thousands of pets living in rental apartments. If you’re living in a rental with your pet, here’s what you should know to keep them covered.

 

Therapy and service animals are becoming more popular recently. According to New York state law, service animals are permitted in all public and private housing accommodations, including hotels and other lodges.

 

However, support animals, such as therapy pets and emotional support pets, are not necessarily required to be permitted by landlords. If you have a support animal, talk to your landlord about your situation to find out whether or not your pet is permitted.

 

With that said, it’s important to note that your pet is not included in your renters insurance policy. This goes for service and support animals as well. Since they are not property, they won’t be covered in the event of an accident or if your pet is injured. Fortunately, if your furry friend is the one causing damage, there are provisions that cover pet-related damages in most renters insurance policies.

 

For example, if your dog chews through a fixture in the apartment, such as a railing, the damage would be covered under your liability policy in most cases. Likewise, your pet would be covered in the event that they bit someone in your apartment. Note that damage caused by your pet is not covered if the pet was living there illegally, or without the landlord’s knowledge.

 

If you or your landlord are worried about your pet damaging your apartment, invest in a renters insurance policy. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to protect your personal property. Talk to your insurance broker for more information about finding the right policy, today.

 

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Common Holiday Renters Insurance Claims (and How to Avoid Them)

Burgers and firecrackers. Pumpkins and candy. A jolly man in a red suit. The holidays are a time for celebrating family, faith, or fun. But in all the commotion, it’s easy for minute details to be overlooked that can lead to serious incidents. 

 

Being aware of potential danger is the first step to preventing it. As you read through these holiday insurance claims, keep them in the back of your mind during your next celebration.

 

Which holidays should I be concerned about?

Truthfully, disasters can strike any day of the year. But we do notice an increase of claims around certain holidays. If you celebrate any of the following, be aware of these common holiday renters insurance claims, and make sure to take necessary precautions (but still have fun!).

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No, Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover It All

You’ve done the smart thing and purchased renters insurance. But unless you’ve read the fine print of your insurance policy, you may be unaware of what renters insurance doesn’t cover.

 

But fear not. We’re outlining the most common insurance claims that aren’t covered by your renters policy so you can better prepare for the future.

 

What renters insurance doesn’t cover

Despite what you might think, renters coverage does have limitations. To make sure you’re covered in nearly every conceivable situation, browse through the following categories. Are you leaving anything up for grabs?

 

Mother Nature’s wrath

If you’ve been a longtime resident of New York City, you know that several different weather scenarios can play out in a 24-hour period. While some weather occurrences or effects of them are covered by insurance, like windstorms and lighting, you’ll more often find that natural disasters aren’t covered by your insurance policy.

 

If you have basic renters coverage, your belongings are not protected from flooding, hurricanes, or earthquakes. If you believe you live in an area where any of these disasters are possible, you’ll have to purchase a separate policy to be protected.

 

Expensive or rare items

If you’re a collector of the finer things in life, you may be surprised to learn that they’re not covered under your standard renters insurance policy. This could include, but is not limited to, jewelry, high-priced artwork, rare sports memorabilia, appraised family heirlooms, and rare collectibles.

Stereo Collection which is another thing renters insurance doesn't cover

If you’re not sure if something is covered by your current policy, it’s always best to contact your insurance agent and discuss your coverage. You may need to purchase a separate insurance policy for valued items.

 

Roommate’s possessions

If you’ve had a roommate join you in your humble abode, you should suggest renters insurance to them. Let them know that even though you have a policy, their items will not be covered underneath it. The exception to this is that if you’re living with a family member, their items will be covered, as long as their name is added to the policy.

 

Undocumented items

Unfortunately, false insurance claims happen. To protect themselves and keep your premiums as low as possible, insurance companies almost always require documentation to prove ownership of an item in the event it is damaged or stolen.

 

To protect yourself, make sure you keep receipts for large or expensive items. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your personal inventory and important data like serial numbers. The more information you gather, the better. Digitize your records and store them in a cloud for added protection. You should also take video or pictures of all your items and store them in a safety deposit box or another safe location. If you’re concerned about your more expensive items, have them professionally appraised and then insured properly.

 

So what does renters insurance cover?

What is not covered through renters insurance is slight when you compare it to the list it does cover. This type of policy is one of the most comprehensive types of coverage available, including coverage for personal possessions, liability insurance, and additional living expenses.

 

Renters insurance covers:

 

  • Theft or burglary (at home or while traveling)
  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Personal belongings like furniture, clothing, and home furnishings
  • Injury to another person while in your apartment
  • Damage to another person’s property caused by you
  • Expenses to live in another place in the event your place becomes uninhabitable

 

As a renter, you should purchase an insurance policy before moving into your rented space. But it’s never too late. If you’ve been gambling by going without coverage, there’s no better time than the present to pick up the phone and speak with an insurance agent regarding your unique coverage needs.

 

How to complete your coverage

One common misconception regarding renters insurance is that once you have it, you’re 100% safe from damages. Unfortunately, your valuables are only covered up to the specified amount the insurance companies provide.

 

Often, depending on the value of your items, this amount is not enough should the valuables become damaged or are stolen. To ensure your jewelry, fine art, or other collectibles are properly insured, you can purchase a floater or a separate policy to add on to your existing insurance.

 

Insurance riders are a good example of additional coverage. If you have expensive watches, furs, jewelry, a rare coin collection, or other valuables, a cost-effective insurance rider will provide that extra coverage on top of what your standard policy covers.

 

Remember, while a landlord insurance policy typically covers the building structure itself, it’s up to you to cover your belongings inside your apartment and know what renters insurance doesn’t cover.

 

The best way to prevent being caught off guard is to speak with an insurance agent. They can review your policy and address any coverage concerns you may have. It only takes a few minutes to expand your coverage and sleep better at night.

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What Landlords Should Know about Rental Property Insurance

Buying a rental property can be an amazing investment opportunity, though it can come with its own set of challenges. Many times you’ll need to work on fixing up the building and finding tenants, and those won’t be your only hurdles. Rental property insurance can vary drastically from your typical homeowners insurance policy, and you will need to evaluate just how much coverage you’ll need.

 

Rental property insurance is similar, but not the same as homeowners insurance — your standard homeowner’s policy won’t cover your rental property, so you should talk to your broker before you consider renting out a space.

 

While there are a few differences between the two (according to Insurance Information Institute, rental property insurance can be more expensive), the main distinction is that a rental policy will cover damages to the property that are caused by tenants, as well as liability insurance in case a tenant brings suit for an injury.

 

You should discuss any change in occupancy with your broker beforehand, because doing so afterward may leave you with no coverage. You should also disclose all relevant information about your rental property to your insurance broker so that you can determine how much coverage you’ll need.

 

Relevant information for your broker will include things like whether or not you allow pets in the building (if so, what kind?), what kind of proactive measures you’ve taken to making the building more safe and secure. For instance, keeping a fire extinguisher in each unit can lower the insurance premium both for you and for your tenants. Your broker can discuss with you other steps you can take to increase the security in your building.

Protecting Your Rental Property

Discuss your rental property coverage with your tenants so that they understand what is and isn’t included in the policy, and discuss with them things like maintenance, snow removal, and common areas, so that everyone knows what they’re responsible for.

 

Ask your tenants to obtain a renters insurance policy before they move in — policies are fairly affordable and can typically be added to other policies, like car insurance, as a rider. Ask your tenant to list you as the landlord on their policy. Claims where both parties have insurance in place usually go much better than when one or both are uninsured.

 

Let your tenants know that renters insurance will also help protect them. Renters insurance policies will cover their personal property and protect their personal liability should a claim be made against them. Renters insurance is a win for everyone.

Insurance for Airbnb

Airbnb has taken the rental industry by storm, empowering tenants to sublet their units and allowing landlords to maximize profits with short-term bookings in between tenants. Tenants and landlords alike may believe that they’re completely covered under Airbnb’s Host Protection Policy, but this is not the case.

 

The home-sharing site’s policy covers the host (and landlord, as an additional insured) in the event that a guest damages the property or brings a lawsuit for an injury obtained on the property. That’s basically where the coverage ends, so if a guest steals personal belongings or brings bed bugs into the unit, tenants and landlords alike are not covered.

 

The good news is that many rental insurance policies offer more comprehensive coverage for home-sharing scenarios, so make sure you insure before renting out Airbnb. Keep in mind that your insurance provider may consider your home sharing “commercial activity” if you host guests too frequently, which would violate your policy. Check with your provider to see what they allow.

 

If you’re a landlord, discuss home-sharing services with your tenant to make sure you’re on the same page. If you’d rather they not list the unit on Airbnb and other sites, make sure there’s a clause in the lease that acknowledges this. If you allow home sharing, make sure you’re listed as an additional insured, and discuss your policy with your insurance agent so that you’re fully covered.

 

Ultimately, the best way to make sure your rental property is adequately covered is to talk to an independent insurance agent. They can make sure you’re buying the right amount of coverage at a fair price.

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?

For many college students, living on campus is a chance for students to learn how to be on their own and prove they’re responsible. Unfortunately, even the most reliable of college students lose belongings in the event of theft, natural disaster, and/or accidental damage. With that in mind, renters insurance for college students offers both peace of mind and coverage in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

 

Some parents may find that their homeowners insurance policy will cover their child’s belongings, even while they’re away at school. Sometimes, universities will offer renters insurance to their students before they move in. But even if you don’t have one of these options available to you, that’s no reason to go without.

Parties Gone Awry

College and partying seem to go hand in hand, which can spell bad news for landlords and parents alike. Damage during parties can range from a few scuffed floors or dented walls to serious structural and personal property damage. College students should be prepared, which means protecting themselves in case of an accident.

 

For instance, you might think you’re covered by your roommate’s renters insurance. Unfortunately, your roommate’s policy will only protect them and their belongings; renters insurance only covers the person named on the policy. So if someone accidentally spills a drink on your laptop or breaks your coffee table, you’ll be replacing it out of pocket unless you have your own policy. An expense like that can put some serious financial strain on a college student.

 

Or, for instance, take the students at the University of North Texas whose ceiling collapsed when a party in the apartment above them got out of hand. No one was seriously injured, according to the Washington Post, but several students were unable to salvage their possessions from the damage. Losing everything you own can set you back tens of thousands of dollars — not an expense you need when you’re already paying for tuition.

floor-collapse-at-north-texas-college-apartment-party

There are countless stories like this, of students getting caught in the middle of some serious damage to their apartment, that could have been avoided with a simple renters insurance policy.

When Disaster Strikes

Parties aren’t the only major threat to college apartments. Hurricane season runs from June through October, overlapping with the beginning of the fall semester. Back in 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to about 100,000 homes in Long Island alone, according to Newsday. Students facing a storm like that could lose everything they own.

 

Aside from storms, theft, fire, and flood can all spell huge amounts of damage for students just finding their financial footing. Your landlord’s insurance will only cover structural damages and damage to the building in the event of a disaster like that, so your belongings wouldn’t be covered.

 

Fortunately, insuring your college apartment is an inexpensive and simple way to protect your personal property. An insurance agent can help you determine what kind of coverage you need and find the best deal on a policy.

Peace of Mind for Parents

Accidents happen. But when your college student is learning how to get by without you, you don’t want those accidents to lead to permanent financial setbacks. The great thing about renters insurance is that it’s affordable and keeps them protected, even when they’re miles away from home. Many policies cost less than a laptop, and will keep that laptop protected.

 

Do some research, consider how much insurance you might need, and consult your insurance broker. You may need different types of policies depending on the type of apartment building your student will be living in, how many people they’ll be living with, etc. It’s also a good idea to consult with their landlord and roommates about renters insurance for college students to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Creating a renters insurance policy in your child’s name is a great way to give them more responsibility in their lives while keeping them and their belongings safe. Come natural disaster, party gone awry, or simply everyday accidents and damages, insuring your college apartment is the easiest and most affordable way to protect your belongings and your financial stability.

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Why Every New Yorker Needs Renters Insurance: 5 Real-Life Situations

Finding the perfect apartment in New York City takes time. But once you find it, the next step to take is protecting yourself and your belongings by insuring your apartment. Keep reading to find out why New Yorkers need renters insurance and what can happen if they decide to forego coverage.

 

Reasons People Skip Renters Insurance

Less than 40% of renters have renters insurance. These are some of the most common reasons why renters skip coverage.

 

 

  • They can’t afford it

 

An insurance policy that covers your belongings, pays certain medical bills, and protects you in court sounds expensive. But for about the price of Spotify or a Sirius Radio subscription, you can have all this protection. Skip a few expensive dinners out and you’re protected for a full 12 months.

 

  • Their belongings don’t have enough value

Your couch is outdated. Your dining room table has chairs that don’t match. The style of your television isn’t even found on store shelves anymore. But this doesn’t mean your possessions are valueless. It still costs money to replace them if they’re damaged or stolen.

 

 

  • They don’t own enough to qualify

 

Just moved into a larger space and see a lot of empty square footage? Or maybe you live a minimalist lifestyle and only have a few basic pieces. They still deserve protection! Remember, renters insurance covers more than just your possessions.

 

 

  • Their landlord has insurance

 

Even if your landlord has insurance, don’t make the common mistake of thinking their policy will cover your items. The landlord’s insurance will only cover the structure you live in, not the items in your home.

 

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance covers three main areas.

 

 

  • Personal Property Coverage

 

If your items are lost in a disaster or stolen, your insurance will protect them up to your policy’s limit. For example, if your apartment is burglarized while you’re on vacation or your pipes burst in the winter and flood your closet, your renters insurance can get you back on track. You should definitely talk to your agent to make sure that you are insured for replacement value of your personal property and not actual cash value. This will make a huge difference at the time of a claim. We can explain the differences in greater detail so that you understand which option will protect you better.

 

 

  • General Liability Coverage

 

If a guest in your home is injured (say they trip over a rug and break their ankle or slip on your steps and fracture their wrist), your renters insurance can cover their medical expenses. This coverage will also protect you if you injure someone or damage something outside your home unintentionally.

 

 

  • Temporary Living Assistance

 

When the unthinkable does happen, you may find yourself without a place to call home. Renters insurance will reimburse you for hotel, dining, and traveling expenses while displaced.  This is a huge coverage that is often overlooked. When was the last time you checked out hotel prices in NYC? Make sure you talk to you agent to make sure you have enough coverage for this important portion of your coverage.

 

Why New Yorkers Need Renters Insurance – 5 Examples

Still want to go without renters insurance? Put yourself in the following situations. What would your options be if any of them happened tomorrow?

 

 

  • Fire

 

Overall, you think you’re a responsible tenant. You always make sure candles are blown out before bed and you double check that you’ve shut the oven off after dinner. You don’t smoke and you always unplug your curling iron before running off to work. But the same can’t be said for your neighbors. All it takes is one irresponsible action from a neighbor and you could come home to a smoldering building instead of your home. If a fire does take everything you own, how much would it cost to get it all back?

 

-New living room set – $4,000 and up

-New clothing – $2,000 and up

-New dishes and cooking equipment – $1,000 and up

-Artwork, décor items, collectibles – $2,000 and up

 

We could go on all day. Between furniture, personal items, and necessities, the monetary value of your items adds up quickly. Without insurance, how long will it take you to replace them?

 

 

  • Damage to someone’s property outside your home

 

You’re headed out of town for the weekend. You yell for your 5-year old to grab their backpack and meet you at the front door. What you don’t realize is they were playing in the bathroom and left the sink faucet running with the drain plugged.

 

You blissfully head out while your apartment has been set up for disaster. Over the next several hours, water continuously pours onto your bathroom floor, eventually leaking through and dripping into your neighbor’s apartment. But they’re not home either and the damage continues for days. Your neighbor just so happens to be a collector of fine art. They’re remodeling so most of their art is resting against the wall on the floor. Now it’s all been ruined and you’re financially responsible.

 

What will you give up first to pay for their items?

 

 

  • Litigation

 

You’re taking your dog for a walk one afternoon. Mr. Poodles is usually calm and mild-mannered. But for some reason, he snaps at a man walking nearby and gets a taste of his hand. It’s not long before the man’s lawyer is reaching out to you about the lawsuit his client is bringing against you.

 

man holding out hand to Australian Shepard, New Yorkers need renters insurance with pet protection

In most cases, your personal liability protection will come to the rescue. Just speak with your insurance agent about this portion of your coverage, especially if you have a dog, as not all breeds are covered. But if you don’t have renters insurance at all, your day in court could leave your finances in jeopardy.

 

 

  • Injury to another person while in your home

 

Your friends are all hanging out at your place. The weather is bad, and money is tight so you’re just going to have a relaxing night in. About halfway through your evening, one of your friends trips on the rug. They can’t catch themselves, fall to the floor, and break their nose.

 

You head to the E.R., get her fixed up, and apologize profusely. Even if your friend doesn’t put the blame on you, you’re technically responsible for her medical bills. An x-ray alone can run $1,000 while the average cost of nasal fracture treatment is just over $7,500. So much for that vacation this year.

 

 

  • Damage to another person’s property while in your home

 

Same group of friends, same relaxing night in. You’ve fixed the rug but after your friend plugs in their laptop, you become the clumsy one. You trip, knock it over, and it cracks in half. Cancel next year’s vacation too.

 

If insuring your apartment was something you had done before all these situations, you would have been covered. Insuring your apartment costs about $20 a month (sometimes even less) . We think the wise choice is obvious.

 

How To Protect Yourself with Renters Insurance

There is more involved in finding the right policy for your needs than simply asking for and receiving a policy. It’s important to get the right kind of protection and you may need additional protection above and beyond a standard policy.

 

This includes things like additional protection for valuable items in your apartment. For instance, if you own furs, jewelry, antiques, art, and high value items along these lines, you might need additional policies or have to add a rider to your policy to provide extra protection.

 

The same holds true for liability coverage. The general liability coverage that comes with your policy is a great start, but you may want to purchase additional protection when insuring a New York City apartment.  Remember, it isn’t about how much money you have it’s about how much you will be sued for.

fire truck stuck in New York City traffic

The reason is that if a kitchen fire starts in your apartment and spreads to several apartments around, below, or above you, you may be liable for the fire damage to those apartments, the water damage from sprinkler systems, damage to property in common areas, and any injuries that occurred from the fire or attempts to evacuate the building. The costs add up quickly and may easily exceed the limits of your policy.

 

Don’t forget the legal fees. Liability coverage also extends to legal fees. In the scenario above, you could be facing multiple lawsuits from multiple people, and the apartment building owners as well. You may want to talk to your agent about purchasing additional liability coverage plan beyond the apartment insurance coverage.

 

We know, it’s a lot to take in. That’s why we recommend speaking with us directly about your needs rather than trying to find your way in the dark. When you work with a brokerage like Co-Op, we’ll take the time to listen to your individual needs and situation. While other companies rely on algorithms and assumptions when providing quotes and coverage, we provide custom quotes and policies that fit your budget and life. Because we aren’t tethered to any one carrier, we are able to customize plans and search for carriers that will get you the most value.

 

There’s no denying that New York City is an exciting place to live. But accidents, break-ins, injuries, plumbing problems, and fires happen all the time – even when they are no fault of your own. Insuring your apartment helps to protect you from the worst of the financial fallout that happens afterwards.

 

Still not convinced every New Yorker needs renters insurance? Speak with an independent NYC insurance agent to discuss your situation.

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How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

As a renter, you might not know that your landlord is only responsible for insuring against damages to the structure of your home or apartment. That means, in the case of damage to or theft of your personal property, renters insurance will cover the expenses of repairing or replacing your property.

Your landlord might not require you to carry renters insurance, but going without could be financially devastating. Without renters insurance, the cost of replacing or repairing your belongings falls on your entirely. Additionally, if someone is injured in your apartment or by one of your pets, you can be held liable for these injuries. When compared to the amount you could spend in legal fees, renters insurance is well worth the relatively small monthly cost.

That being said, determining exactly how much renters insurance you need can seem confusing at first, since the amount of coverage you get can depend on many different factors.

Determining How Much Renters Insurance You Need

When shopping for a renters insurance policy, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the options. Even if you already have a renters insurance policy, or are renewing an old one, it’s a good idea to follow these steps to determine the right policy for you.

1. Find out what your belongings are worth

The value of your belongings is a crucial component of your renters insurance policy. Generally, the more possessions you have, and the more money they’re worth, the bigger policy you should get.

Simply estimating the cost of repairing your belongings is not enough — experts recommend you conduct a thorough home inventory to get the most accurate value of your belongings.

expensive computer setup, understand your belongings cost

To complete a home inventory:

  • Use your smartphone or digital camera to take shots of each room in your home or apartment as well as up-close shots of your belongings.
  • Use these photos as well as any information you have about your belongings to create a detailed list of your belongings and their estimated worth.
  • Keep your home inventory in a safe place outside of your home, such as a safety deposit box at your bank.

When you’re tallying your belongings, don’t underestimate their value. Many people think their valuables don’t add up to much, and are left footing a hefty bill when the time comes to replace everything their policy didn’t cover.

2. Include personal liability coverage

If someone is injured inside of your home or your pet injures someone, you may be held liable. It is important to carry personal liability coverage as part of your renters insurance policy in the case that you face a lawsuit or are responsible for paying someone’s medical bills.

Before selecting a policy, make sure you speak with an agent about the amount of personal liability coverage you need. Various factors play a role in determining how much coverage you need, including your net worth, the value of your belongings, and other factors associated with your living situation, like a roommate or a pet.

3. Consider additional coverage

Certain circumstance may require you to obtain additional insurance coverage. For instance, most renters insurance policies to not cover damage from a flood or earthquake. This can be a problem in the greater New York City area, as basement-level and even first- and second-floor apartments have been damaged by storms in recent years.

Hurricane Sandy flooded the subway system and many of the tunnels to Manhattan, and as many as 2,000 homes in Long Island were deemed uninhabitable due to damage, according to Newsday. If you live in an area at higher risk for a natural disaster, consider purchasing additional coverage to stay protected.

Additionally, many renters insurance policies place a dollar limit on insuring certain belongings, so you may need to purchase an individual insurance policy to cover any belongings which exceed this dollar amount, like an engagement ring or a watch.

At the end of the day, there’s a lot to take into account when you’re selecting a renters insurance policy. Luckily, discussing your options with an independent insurance agent can provide you some clarity. They’ll be able to walk you through different coverage levels to find the right policy for you.

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What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Home is where the heart is. And your television, laptop, furniture, and other precious possessions. If you rent your residence, what’s the best way to protect your worldly possessions and financial future?

Renters insurance.

69% of New York City residents rent. Less than half of these renters have renters insurance. If you fall into this category, you might wonder, “Do I need renters insurance?”

The simple answer is yes. But if you don’t want to take our word for it, let’s explore the fine points of New York renters insurance.

Why Do You Need Renters Insurance?

Too many renters assume that their landlord’s insurance will cover them in the event of a disaster or accident. While a landlord’s insurance will cover lost structures, it will not cover the possessions of a renter. If the unthinkable happens, the structure may be rebuilt but your things will not be replaced.

A common issue that we hear about on a weekly basis is water damage caused as a result of a shower overflow, toilet back-up, or bathtub leak.  While repairs of these items may be the responsibility of the landlord, who is going to defend you if the water damaged tenant below makes a claim against you?  Probably one of the most valuable parts of renters insurance is the defense that can be provided to you by your insurance policy.

As a renter in New York City or New Jersey, you probably know that you need some form of  renters insurance to keep your home safe from potential disaster and to protect you in the event of a liability claim.  What you might not know is exactly what your renters insurance policy covers. And knowing what is covered (and what isn’t) could save you quite a bit of money in the future.

One of our insurance agents can help you with the nuances, and we encourage asking any and all questions you may have, but we also recognize the importance of self-education, so here are the basics.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Whether you’re in New York City or New Jersey, your renters insurance will cover you from a variety of potentially tragic circumstances (almost too many to fit into this blog). That’s why we have decided to break down coverage into three separate categories (which will hopefully make it a little easier to understand) and give you a few scenarios to consider along with limitations to be aware of.

  1. Personal Property

While your landlord’s insurance policy will not cover your belongings in the event of a natural disaster, fire, or theft, your personal renters insurance policy should keep your belongings safe. (One aspect of this coverage that appeals to those on the fence about renters insurance is that it can also be extended to cover your property outside of your home.) However, there are limits.

  • Disaster
    Your renters insurance can cover nearly everything you own in the event of a tragic event. Examples of such events include fires, windstorms, explosions, smoke, or even the very common volcanic eruptions in NYC. In all seriousness though, if your items end up being a total loss, your insurance will help you replace those items and get you back on your feet. However, renters insurance does not provide coverage for floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes. For those worried about flooding please discuss getting additional coverage with your agent; we’re pretty good about recognizing the additional need if you live in an area that’s been impacted in the past few years, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

 

 

  • Theft

 

This scenario can be viewed from two different angles. If you come home to an open door and stolen possessions, you can submit a claim to have them replaced. Or, if you’re headed to work on the subway and someone snatches your laptop, your renters insurance can be used to cover the replacement (if you have the right coverage). Keep in mind that there are caps on certain items, like collections and jewelry. If you are a jewelry aficionado then you may want to buy a separate policy or rider called a floater.  Talk to one of our agents about limitations on certain types of property and how we can get them covered for you

broken window from break-in, covered under renters insurance

 

  • Limitations

 

It’s one thing to have to replace your belongings because you didn’t have insurance. It’s another when you still have to replace them because you were misinformed about your coverage. One important detail regarding renters insurance to keep in mind is that it will not cover business equipment in your home office. If you work from home or simply have a secondary office in the spare bedroom, you’re better off assuming any work-related items are not protected under your policy, even though there are some exceptions. If this is a concern for you, speak with your insurance agent to see what your best course for coverage is.

  1. Liability

Accidents happen. If you have renters insurance, then your insurance will cover medical payments, as well as any litigation that ensues.

 

  • Accident at home

 

It’s Thanksgiving and you’re hosting. The turkey is moist, the wine is flowing, and everyone’s having a fun time. That is, until your cousin trips over the coffee table and takes a spill, breaking his wrist in the process. Believe it or not, we see many claims come in against clients from family members who were injured in their homes or apartments. Your renters insurance is what can provide defense for you in these situations even though it is unlikely that you will be inviting some of those family members over again.

 

 

  • Accident outside of the home

 

You’re headed to work, navigating through the congested sidewalk, when it happens. You spill your hot coffee on an innocent bystander. It doesn’t take long to realize that they need medical attention. While you feel terrible, you can at least be assured that renters insurance will cover their medical costs. It can also protect your finances should the other involved party decide to sue for damages.

 

woman accidentally spilling content on computer, accidents outside the home: what does renters insurance cover

  • Limitations

 

When it comes to liability insurance, be sure you check your coverage amount. Make sure you have the highest coverage you can comfortably afford. Lawsuits and medical bills can quickly exceed your coverage limit, leaving you with a heavy (but avoidable) financial burden.

  1. Loss of Use

Sometimes, disasters may be harsh enough to render your apartment uninhabitable. It helps to know that you won’t have to pay for all of it. Relocation is expensive, but with the right renters insurance, you will be reimbursed for temporary costs as a result of the Loss of Use of your home. Some monetary help during those trying times can help you focus on getting life back to normal a little swifter.

 

  • Lodging

 

Loss of use coverage can reimburse you for money spent on hotels or other lodging if you’re unable to go home. Before you book a room at the nicest hotel in town though, call one of our agents to discuss caps on cost and duration of coverage. While a night at the Sheraton might be out of the question, you won’t have to settle for a motel on the side of the highway.  Keep in mind that most policies allow for temporarily housing that is comparable to your current living conditions.

 

 

  • Living expenses

 

If you find yourself spending more on food while you’re displaced because you don’t have access to a kitchen, you can expect to be reimbursed for a portion of your additional food expenses, if not all of them. Again, there are limitations to this type of coverage so talk to one of our agents before ordering the lobster for breakfast. You may also be reimbursed for additional displacement expenses like laundry, transportation, and pet boarding.

 

 

  • Limitations

 

There are a few things that must occur before you can claim loss of use. First, your home must be declared uninhabitable. If the type of damage incurred still allows you to safely live in your home, you can’t ask for coverage simply because you would prefer to be away while repairs are underway. Also, the damage to your residence must be caused by something your policy covers. Remember that flooding is not covered by your renters insurance. So, if your apartment floods and you must reside in a hotel for a week, you would not be covered for additional living expenses in that scenario. This doesn’t work because what if you are governmentally mandated to evacuate due to a flood – You still wouldn’t be covered even after damage cause it’s a flood)

So, what does renters insurance cover? Everything from personal property, liability, property damage and loss of use expenses are covered in your NY renters insurance policy. Disaster costs add up quickly. But renters insurance is affordable.

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