5 Reasons to Have Renters Insurance

I’m still on the road, hanging out in Minnesota. The lovely Louise Baker offered to guest post and I gratefully accepted. Enjoy!

It’s important to know when you’re moving into a new rental home or apartment, your landlord carries insurance only on his building. It’s up to you to insure anything inside by purchasing renters insurance, or HO-4 as it’s known in the insurance industry. There are five primary reasons every renter should have insurance.

1. Protection From Natural Disasters

If your home is damaged by strong winds, hail, lightening, volcanic eruption, or even a fire, renters insurance will cover your losses. Floods and earthquakes are rarely covered on a renters insurance policy. If you need coverage for those eventualities, make sure you let your agent know.

2. Protection From The Unexpected

Say a small plane hits your home, or a car veers off the road and comes through your front door. Renters insurance will cover those things. Likewise if your home is damaged due to civil unrest or riot, you’re covered. Imagine your hot water heater explodes, smoke from a neighbor’s fire fills your house, a water pipe breaks, there’s an electrical surge that fries your electronics, or the weight of snow causes your roof to collapse. None of these are pleasant scenerios, but they are much easier to deal with if you’re insured.

3. Protection From Mischief

If anyone decides to vandalize your home or to break in and steal your belongs, renters insurance will help make you whole again.

4. Financial Coverage When You’re Without A Home

In the event you’re unable to stay in your home, renters insurance will cover the expenses you incur while your place of residence is being repaired or rebuilt. Most renters policies limit the amount they cover under this benefit to 30 – 40 percent of the policy value. Check with your agent prior to the purchase of your policy in order to ensure that you have enough coverage to sustain you until you can get back into the house or apartment.

5. Protection From Liability.

Imagine your tub or toilet overflows and the water seeps through the flooring and stains the ceiling of the apartment below yours. This is another good time to have renters insurance as it will cover the cost to repair damage to another residence that has occurred due to an accident or negligence on your part. Likewise, If someone slips and falls in your residence or runs into a door and needs stitches, your renters insurance will protect you from that liability by covering the cost of treatment. Insurance will also cover you up to your liability limit if one of those people chooses to sue you in court and wins.

Louise Baker ranks online degrees for Zen College Life. She most recently wrote about the best colleges online.


  1. Top Schools on February 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Great information and I agree with the comments. Never go without insurance. Today's society is all about getting what they can and never mind the consequences to the other fellow. I was like Amanda. I was sure glad my agent talked me into the renters insurance. thanks for the post and all the good comments.

  2. CarolinaDreamz on September 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I am sorry if I'm a repeat, I didn't read the comments. 😉

    Flood is protected, inside your home, by non-natural disaster.. like a washing machine hose breaks in the middle of the night (or you live in a duplex and your neighbors does and floods your house), or a pipe in your attic explodes, or your toilet gets plugged and doesn't stop running, at the same time, and you notice after your bath mat is floating through your hall way and down your drive-way. *big grin* (nod nod)

    Always get renters insurance. It protects your stuff wherever it is.. a friend's house or a storage shed!

    Great topic, Heather! 🙂

  3. nirwan on August 29, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Thank you very much, now i just really understood the importance insurance

  4. Molly on August 28, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Asyhre, a better question to ask is, how much would it cost you to replace all the contents of your home? I doubt a pawn broker would even look at my used clothes, furniture, and dishes, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't need several thousand dollars to replace everything after a fire or flood. I didn't think my stuff was all that valuable, and I don't have much stuff, but when I started adding up the replacement cost of basic furniture, kitchen appliances, pots and pans, clothing, electronics, camping gear, tools, reference books, music and movies, I was amazed. Walk around your house with paper and pencil and do some quick estimates.

  5. asyhre on August 28, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Wow, some great points to think about… I was told be my insurance agent that if I could not sell the contents in my house for $5,000 in a garage sale or to a pawn shop I would not need it. I see it can be used for much more then just stuff. Thank for the info, something I will be looking into more.

  6. Molly on August 27, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I think some people have a misguided idea of how expensive renter's insurance is. It's not. Mine is about $12/month, including some special riders for electronics. It covers my belongings at home or in a storage unit. My apartment complex, and the storage facility where I kept furniture during moves, both required some form of renter's insurance. It may cost extra for expensive jewelry, artwork, and high-end electronics.

    If you have a laptop computer, manufacturer's warranties (and basic renter's insurange policies) don't cover accidental damage, dropping your laptop, or spilling liquids on a laptop. Most renter's policies will add drop & spill coverage for about $1/month. It's worth it if you're clumsy, have young kids, or carry a laptop to work/school. When I was still a poor grad student, I had a very close call with my personal laptop when a pipe burst directly over my desk during renovations. If I hadn't reacted quickly, I would have had a soaked laptop, instead of just a few drops of water on my arm. My insurance would have paid for a laptop repair or replacement, even though a lost day of work wouldn't have been fun.

    Another disaster to consider is pet damage. My friend's dog, while locked in her crate to prevent her from getting into trouble, somehow dislodged the floor of her crate, started digging, and unraveled a huge section of the carpet in the middle of the bedroom. She was renting a room in a friend's house, and didn't have renter's insurance or money to spare, so all she could do was apologize profusely. The homeowner couldn't afford new carpet either, so they had to buy a cheap area rug to cover the ugly spot. Insurance might have defused a lot of the tension that existed in the house for the next few months.

  7. CarolinaDreamz on August 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I have the bathroom overflow damage half the house.. and my renter's insurance covered it. I've known friends who had washing machine hoses bust and flood their entire houses and their renter's insurance cut them a check.

    This reminds me, I need to have a couple of rings appraised, for my renter's insurance, to be sure they are covered at their maximum value.

    I've seen too much good come from having it, that is a necessity in our lives.

  8. James Moffitt on August 27, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I have never had renters insurance but I know that I should get it. I actually got a quote not too long ago when we changed car insurance. This article has helped to remind me to JUST DO IT!! Thanks

  9. Steven Berry on August 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    If your fridge dies, even if your renting it – renters insurance will replace the contents – they ask you about how much is in there. and don't ask for receipts or anything. but when i rent – because of power failures i can still stake a claim if power failure wrecks my entire fridge full of food.

    renters insurance is INCREDIBLY cheap compared to the cost of an entire fridge full of meats and cheese and expensive consumables.

  10. Amanda on August 27, 2010 at 11:11 am

    #5 happened to me, right before Christmas, two years ago: my toilet overflowed–a lot–and got into the ceiling of the apaprtment beneath me. I'd only had renters' insurance for about a month. My insurance agent talked me into it, because if I bundled my car insurance with renters' insurance, I got a better rate. I didn't really want to, but got sick of arguing with her. I've never been so glad to have been the "victim" of a pushy salesman!

  11. Rue de Vamp on August 27, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Funny that you posted this cause our house was robbed Wednesday! Kids electronics were taken. No insurance 🙂

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