Many NYC renters have questions about renters insurance. This is your question-by-question resource for most of the big questions you may have about renters insurance in New York City.
Common NYC Renters Insurance FAQs
Shouldn’t my landlord’s insurance protect my possessions?
This is a common misunderstanding among renters in NYC. Your landlord’s insurance coverage only protects the things he owns and specifies when taking out the policy. If you’re renting a furnished apartment, for instance, the landlord likely has insurance coverage for the furnishings he provided, but any furniture and other possessions you bring into the apartment or rental unit are not covered by his policy.
Why should I buy renters insurance?
As a renter you face many risks you may not even realize. First, no matter how few possessions you believe you have, they add up. It’s one thing adding a new towel, toothbrush, or pair of socks every other month or so. It’s something else entirely replacing every small kitchen appliance, child’s toy, and piece of clothing all at one time. That expense can be staggering before you even get to expensive items like televisions, tables, and bedroom furniture.
Second, the liability protection that is part of your renter’s insurance policy is invaluable. If you have a fan that shorts out and starts a fire that spreads to units above, below, and around your own rental, the legal expenses alone can be crippling without even reaching a settlement or judgment against you. When that’s added onto the bill, the costs can be catastrophic. Your liability policy will cover those costs, up to the limit of your plan (and less the appropriate deductible).
How expensive is renters insurance?
Believe it or not, renters insurance is quite inexpensive. Since you’re not insuring the structure of the home, and only its contents, the costs are much smaller than those of traditional homeowner’s insurance. The final costs will depend, largely, on coverage decisions you make such as deductibles and replacement costs vs. actual cash value. Another option worth investigating is whether or not to add umbrella liability protection and/or to raise your liability coverage.
Are there limitations or exclusions I need to know about?
Your policy will have a coverage limit. You can increase that limit if necessary but there is always a limit to the amount of coverage your policy provides. You should also be aware that while electronics, furs, and jewelry aren’t excluded from coverage, there is a limit, per type, on most policies that is woefully inadequate to replace these items. You will need to purchase rider policies to cover valuable items you may own – especially if you own a collection of them.
The limit for electronics, for instance, may be $2,000 or less. A nice computer alone could exceed the policy limits – that doesn’t even take into account additional computers and laptops, televisions, stereo equipment, and video game systems. The dollars really add up and easily exceed the standard coverage limits.
What can I do to keep renters insurance costs low?
Some of the things you can do to reduce costs have been mentioned already. Choose high deductibles and actual cash value rather than replacement costs to reduce your monthly rates. Also consider bundling your auto and renters insurance policies with the same company. Ask your agent for discounts. There are many available for those who ask for them.
What if I work at home, will my equipment and inventory be covered?
Some of your work from home equipment and inventory may be covered. It is better, though to consider a rider policy that will definitely cover these items so that you don’t have to worry that the limited coverage under your renter’s insurance policy isn’t adequate to meet your needs.
What if I have roommates are they covered by the policy?
For the most part, it is wise if you and your roommates get coverage on the same policy. If you decide to purchase renters insurance and your roommates do not, your possessions alone are covered by the policy.
How do I file a claim if disaster strikes?
Each individual insurance company will have its own policies and rules for filing claims. It is best to turn to your insurance agent to ask about the specific claims requirements for your renter’s insurance.
What happens if I move during my coverage period?
If you move, your coverage will move with you though it is best to contact your agent as soon as possible to make sure your information is up to date and to issue a new policy for your new rental home.