The biggest difference between renting and owning a home is that as a renter you aren’t typically responsible for damage caused to the structure of your home or apartment (that usually falls to the landlord and requires an insurance policy with dwelling coverage). However, you are still responsible for all the belongings inside your rented home. Anything that you own is your responsibility. Your landlord’s insurance will not cover your personal effects, like your clothing, electronics, furniture, artwork, etc. To help cover the cost of replacing or repairing to your belongings in the event of a covered loss, you should consider obtaining a renters insurance policy.
Do you have enough insurance to protect your belongings? In this article, we’ll discuss one of the most important parts of renters insurance: personal property coverage. This coverage, also called contents coverage, provides coverage for your belongings both inside and outside your rented unit.
How much personal property coverage do I need?
You may already know that homeowners policies will usually offer personal property coverage as a percentage of the dwelling structure coverage.
For renters though, you aren’t paying for dwelling coverage so your amount of personal property coverage will likely be a defined number, such as a limit of $20,000. Still, this limit may not be high enough, especially if you have any high-value electronics, artwork, or collectables.
Take a look around your apartment and do a quick estimate of the cost of the items around you including your furniture, electronics, tables, chairs, pet items, art, and knick-knacks. You’ll probably start to realize just how much the belongings in your apartment are really worth. Too many renters undervalue their belongings either because they don’t know how much it costs to repair or replace their items, or they’re trying to save on their insurance… and then they end up severely underinsured and possibly in financial trouble when a significant covered disaster or theft hits.
Don’t be one of those folks. To avoid under- or even over-insuring your belongings, conduct a thorough home inventory. This takes stock of everything in your home to come up with a true valuation of your items. We’ll discuss how to create a home inventory below.
Note: If you have made any changes to the unit, talk to your landlord and insurance agent to figure out the best way to cover these renovations. If you don’t specifically alert your insurance provider to any home additions or renovations on your insurance, these changes likely won’t be covered in the case of a claim.
How do I create a home inventory for my apartment?
To help find out how much personal property coverage you need, it’s time to create a home inventory. The inventory is an itemized list of everything in your home that you can use to figure out just how much you paid for each item and how much it would cost to replace in the event of a loss. This helps your insurance company come up with fair and reasonable coverage limits for your contents.
To create a home inventory, you’ll want to walk through your rented property and take note of everything. Write down each item and take photographs. If you have receipts or current valuations/appraisals for those items, gather that documentation as well. This will help the insurance appraiser understand how you came up with the value for that item.
You can simplify this process with a home inventory app that helps you itemize everything and collect the necessary documentation to give to your homeowners’ insurance agent. It is vital to consider electronic storage of this information in the event the physical copies you keep are destroyed after a loss to the home, such as being burned in a fire for example. These apps make the process quick and simple while being thorough about covering all the items around your rented home.
What about high-value items?
Some insurance providers won’t cover high-cost valuables like fine art, jewelry, collectibles, certain electronics, or cash. When creating your home inventory, take note of these higher-value items that appreciate or increase in value, like collectibles. Talk to your InsuraMatch agent to make sure these items are covered in your standard contents' coverage. If not, you may need to purchase a separate rider or endorsement to help further cover your valuables.
Get more information with our guide to insuring valuables with homeowners’ insurance, and learn how to cover your electronics with renters insurance .
What if I have a fully furnished unit?
If you are renting a fully furnished unit, those pre-furnished belongings are usually protected by your landlord’s insurance policy. Anything that did not come with the apartment—like your clothes, personal electronics, and more—would still be your responsibility under your personal property coverage. Either way, it’s a good idea to chat with your landlord and get a copy of their insurance policy (if possible) to make sure that they have the furnishings in your unit covered.
Are you sufficiently covered?
If a disaster were to destroy everything in your rental, would your insurance provide enough coverage to repair or replace the items you’ve spent a lifetime acquiring? For most renters, personal property coverage is the majority of their insurance costs, so it’s important not to skimp here. Let’s work together to create an inventory of your home and find sufficient coverage for your belongings at a reasonable price.