FAQ Renters Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions about Renters Insurance

People who own their residences carry homeowners insurance to protect their property, their possessions, and coverage for injuries incurred by visitors. But what about people who are renting or leasing their space? Fortunately, we have renters insurance. To help you with understanding this type of coverage, we compiled 30 frequently asked questions about renters insurance.

  1. What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance protects tenants who live in a rented dwelling. Coverage is provided for people living in apartments, single-family homes, and condominiums. Policies provide coverage for an insured’s personal property as well as liability claims that are not due to a structural problem with the property. These kinds of policies also cover living expenses that need to be paid out when someone makes an insurance claim after their unit is damaged.

  1. Who needs renters insurance?

Any renter who has possessions they can’t afford to repair or replace or if they simply don’t want to foot the bill after an incident. Renters insurance provides liability coverage as well so it can help you fight lawsuits.  

  1. How does renters insurance work?

Renters insurance can help cover your belongings, your housing costs if you must relocate temporarily, your personal liability including defense costs, medical bills for others and more.

  1. What does renters insurance cover?

Renters insurance will cover items damaged or lost due to one of the following:

  • Fire and lightning
  • Windstorm and hail
  • Explosions
  • Riots
  • Damage by aircraft
  • Damage by vehicle (not your own)
  • Smoke damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, sleet
  • Freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning
  • Short-circuit damage caused by electrical appliances


Your renters insurance policy may also cover medical and liability bills, the costs for temporary relocation, and costs associated with credit card fraud. The exact coverage will depend on whether you have a named perils or all-risk policy. Check with your insurance agent for the specifics of your policy. 

  1. What does renters insurance not cover?

Renters insurance does not cover everything that happens to your personal property. The most common claims that aren’t covered are floods and bed bugs, or other pest infestations. Unless your roommate’s name is on the policy, their personal property isn’t covered under your policy either.

  1. How much renters insurance coverage you should buy?

Renters insurance won’t fully cover you unless you buy enough of it, so it’s important to know how much personal property coverage you need to protect your belongings. Buying more coverage is not much more expensive, not having enough coverage when you need it could leave you with a costly bill after a disaster.

  1. How much does renters insurance cost?

Renters insurance is very affordable, especially for people renting their first apartment. Many media subscriptions cost more per month that a renters insurance policy. Consider what deductible you should have. Higher deductibles can lower your cost. However, you should also think about how much you’re willing to pay out of pocket in case of a claim. 

  1. What’s the difference between renters insurance and homeowners insurance?

Renters insurance and homeowners insurance are similar – both protect your possessions – with one key difference. Homeowners insurance also protects the structure – the building itself. Renters insurance primarily covers belongings. You also generally get some liability coverage, but the policy doesn’t protect the apartment. The building’s landlord will have their own insurance to cover damage to the building.

  1. Is renters insurance required?

Renters insurance isn’t legally required — in fact, 56% of young adult renters don’t have coverage. However, it’s not unusual for landlords to require renters insurance as a condition of signing a lease. 

  1. Can roommates share renters insurance?

Unless your roommate’s name is listed on your policy, they aren’t eligible for coverage under your policy. You might be able to add a roommate to your renters insurance policy depending on the policy terms. Typically this is also restricted to relatives but it varies. However, think hard about it before you do add them to your policy. You’ll essentially be doubling (or more) the amount of belongings that are being covered, so you might reach your coverage limits quicker. Plus, if you or your roommate move out, you’ll need to untangle your policies – which is especially tricky if you don’t leave each other on good terms. Renters insurance is affordable, so it’s worth each roommate having their own renters insurance policy that covers their own belongings. Liability claims also get tricky as you typically don’t want to cover your roommates negligent acts which could result in defending a lawsuit. 

  1. What is a home inventory?

A renters insurance home inventory is an inventory of everything you own that would be potentially covered by your renters insurance policy. This is helpful when filing a claim, as some insurers may request proof of ownership of an item. Upon moving in simply document items straight from your smartphone by taking a video of everything inside the home.

  1. How often should I take inventory of my stuff?

It’s a good idea to take an inventory at least once a year and make sure you have enough coverage to replace the items and lifestyle you have worked hard to create. Simply walk through your home with your cell phone recording a video of every room and open all closets, drawers, etc. to take inventory easily. 

  1. What’s the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost renters insurance policies?

Actual cash value renters insurance will pay out based on the current value of an item. So if you bought a laptop five years ago for $1,000 and it gets stolen, you’d receive considerably less than that today. Replacement cost renters insurance, on the other hand, will pay out what it costs to replace the item. So, if you need to replace that same laptop, you’ll get $1,000 to buy a new one. Because replacement cost policies pay out higher amounts than actual cash value policies, they typically cost more in terms of premiums.

  1. What are the different parts of a renters insurance policy?

A standard renters insurance policy is made up of a few different types of coverage. Here’s an overview of how renters insurance works:

  • Personal property damage coverage – Replacing or repairing belongings that are damaged or stolen.
  • Personal liability coverage – Legal costs from damage or injury.
  • Medical payment coverage – Medical expenses for anyone injured in your apartment.
  • Loss of use coverage – The cost of lodging, food, and more if your apartment becomes unlivable due to damage.

Your policy also includes a premium, paid in regular installments (i.e., monthly, semi-annually, annually) and a deductible, the portion of costs the policyholder is responsible for before the insurance company contributes.

  1. Can my renters insurance claim be denied?

Renters insurance claims are rarely denied, but it can happen. However, it will usually only occur if there’s an explicit violation of the policy or is an excluded loss. 

  1. What’s the difference between a named perils and an all-risk renters insurance policy?

A named perils policy covers any incidents stated in the policy. An all risk policy will cover anything that isn’t explicitly excluded in the policy.

  1. Does renters insurance cover flood damage?

Renters insurance policies do not typically provide coverage for damage, loss or risks associated with flooding. Similar to homeowners insurance, renters need to obtain separate flood insurance in order to gain protection.

  1. Does renters insurance cover water damage?

Unlike flood damage, water damage is typically covered by renters insurance. For instance, if your washing machine suddenly breaks resulting in water damage to your apartment and the belongings inside, your renters insurance policy will usually cover the costs. This applies to other household appliances, as well as plumbing, heating systems, cooling systems and fire sprinklers.

  1. Does renters insurance cover car damage?

Damage to your vehicle would not be covered by your renters insurance policy. However, if you have personal possessions that were stolen or damaged inside your car, renters will typically kick in to cover the costs incurred.

  1. Does renters insurance cover firearms?

Renters insurance may cover loss or damage to firearms and firearm accessories, up to specific limits. If you own an antique firearm that is extremely valuable, however, you’ll most likely need to acquire extra coverage to cover costs.

  1. Does renters insurance cover dog bites?

While many renters insurance policies cover dog bites under personal liability, it often depends on factors such as the type of breed you have. If your pet doesn’t fall within the guidelines, you may be required to obtain additional coverage.

  1. Will renters insurance cover jewelry?

High-ticket items like jewelry, electronics, art, and more are covered by your renters insurance policy but typically have category limits. So if your policy only covers up to $1,500 in jewelry loss and you want to make a claim on your $2,500 ring, you won’t receive the full amount. However, there are ways around this. Renters can schedule items with floaters (type of coverage) on their policy, which allows them to increase the coverage amounts. In the case of jewelry, a separate jewelry insurance policy can help provide extra protection.

  1. What is scheduled personal property?

This is additional insurance for high value items or special collections. Some examples can include jewelry, coin collections, sporting goods, specialized electronics, and other valuables.

  1. Does renters insurance cover bed bugs?

Pests aren’t covered by renters insurance, and that includes bed bugs. Bed bugs are considered standard maintenance. However, renters can buy separate bed bug insurance policies or include riders (extra coverage) to their renters policy at an additional cost.

  1. Does renters insurance cover stuff outside of my apartment?

Yes! Renters insurance covers your stuff no matter where it is. So if something is stolen while you’re on vacation, it will still be covered, as will anything you keep in a storage unit. As always, what exactly is covered depends on the specifics of your policy.

  1. How Can I Figure Out How Much My Stuff Is Worth?

Because renters insurance covers the products within your home, you need to have a good idea of how much all of your possessions are worth. There are home inventory apps and sites that will help you log, price and track all of your items, or you can create a spreadsheet with this information. Having this data on hand is also helpful if you need to file a claim. At minimum have a video of you taking inventory of everything in the home so you don’t have to struggle trying to remember what needs to be replaced. Remember to save receipts for big-ticket items and log serial numbers.. Not having a proper inventory report can hurt you in the long run.

  1. What’s a policy period for renters insurance?

This is the amount of time the insurance policy is in effect. Make sure you understand when the policy begins and ends. In general, a policy period is 1 year.

  1. What’s covered by living expenses?

If your home, apartment, or condo you rent is destroyed by a covered peril, this insurance helps cover additional living expenses while the damage is being dealt with. Check your policy for exactly how long living expenses are covered for. 

  1. What’s covered by personal property coverage on a renters policy?

This helps protect your personal belongings. This can include things like furniture, clothing, electronics, and other items up to a certain amount. If you own valuable collectibles, specialized equipment, or other unusual items then you might need additional coverage.

  1. Why Do People Look for Insurance Ratings and Reviews?

It’s important to know who you’re getting coverage from, and what others have experienced with the same type of plan. Insurance reviews and ratings are an essential step that many skip over, but you have to remember that like other types of companies, not all are created equal.

Getting an insider view of how the providers handle their customers’ needs and claims is essential, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Contact or email ONYX Insurance Brokers, we can find you the best carriers for your specific needs!


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