It’s a common misconception that a landlord’s insurance policy protects a tenant’s living space and belongings in the event of a loss. This is why having renters insurance is vital. Many landlords are increasingly requiring their tenants to have it,1 but you should have a renters policy even if the landlord doesn’t require it. Here is a clearer picture of what your policy covers compared to coverage provided by your landlord’s policy.
What does my landlord’s policy cover?
Landlords should carry homeowners insurance, but it’s more for their benefit than the tenants’. Whether you live in an apartment building or a private home, your landlord’s insurance only covers some structural damage.
In the event of a fire, vandalism or certain types of water damage, standard homeowners insurance will cover most building repairs, but it won’t pay for the replacement of your possessions or costs associated with living elsewhere after a disaster.
What does my renters insurance cover?
Despite how inexpensive renters insurance can be compared with the coverage benefits it provides, only about 40 percent of renters have it.2 Many people think their personal belongings simply aren’t worth enough to justify the expense, but you may have more to lose than you realize. The out-of-pocket cost of replacing the contents of even a modestly furnished living space, including furniture, clothing, electronics and appliances (if you own them), can add up.
Amica’s Renters Essentials® is an affordable option, and you can save up to 7% when you combine your auto and renters insurance with Amica.3 With Renters Essentials®, you can earn credits – up to $100 per year, for each year the policy is active, up to $5004 – to apply toward a future homeowners or condo insurance policy with Amica. More often than not, renters insurance is less costly than individually insuring expensive items, such as a mobile phone or tablet, upon purchase. It also protects your items wherever they are5 – in your car or on vacation, for example. If there are items that significantly exceed the value of your coverage limits – such as jewelry, art or high-end electronics – you can add an endorsement to your renters policy. An endorsement could cover these items for the full replacement value without being subject to a deductible in the event of an unforeseen loss from fire, theft, vandalism and more.
In addition to coverage for personal belongings, renters insurance includes what is known as additional living expense coverage, or loss of use, if your home becomes uninhabitable after a covered loss. While your unit is being repaired or rebuilt from an insured disaster, this coverage will pay for any necessary increase in living expenses you incur so that your household can maintain its normal standard of living.
Finally, your renters policy offers liability insurance, which provides valuable protection for situations where you or a resident family member are legally liable for injuries occurring in your home (for example, your dog bites a visitor) or even on other properties. Amica’s Renters Essentials® is great for first-time renters, bundling coverage for furniture, electronics, jewelry and clothing with liability insurance and identity theft protection.
What if a loss in my neighbor’s unit causes damage to my unit?
If you live in a multi-unit building, it’s possible that someone who shares walls with your unit could have a loss that causes damage to the building’s structure or your belongings. Regardless of whether this person owns or rents, his or her personal liability insurance may cover loss to your belongings and your landlord’s property. Make sure to retain open communication with your neighbor and landlord in this scenario to ensure that the responsible party and their insurance policy covers the loss or damage.
What should I do when filing a claim for damage in my unit?
Start by contacting your landlord immediately. If the issue involves your neighbors, make sure to loop them in as well. If the damage is to your personal property, also notify your renters insurance provider. Document your claim by taking photos and retaining all receipts of expenses related to the loss. To prepare for such an event, keep a detailed list of all your belongings with their estimated values and replacement costs.