Protecting your assets and third party liability risks should be a primary concern for all renters simply because accidents happen and we rarely have visibility into them until after the fact. An unattended pot or overflowing bathtub can do extensive damage to your unit and contents. Renters insurance covers your contents against loss caused by fire, smoke damage, water damage, vandalism, theft, and many other perils.
What is the specific protection that renters insurance can provide?
- Contents – Protection for the contents of the policyholder’s unit and other personal belongings carried or used by the resident on and off the premises. If you were able to flip your unit over and shake it, what falls will generally be considered “contained” while what doesn’t fall is part of the building and not covered. Contents may include, but are not limited to, furniture, clothing, televisions, bedding, and dishes. Of course, some restrictions may apply.
- Personal responsibility – If a resident is found to be responsible for causing damage to another person’s building or property (for example, if a resident accidentally started a fire in their room) or caused bodily injury to another person on the premises, the policy coverage will respond up to the insured limit to pay legal expenses and compensatory damages subject to the Terms, Conditions and Exclusions of the policy.
- Additional living expenses – If, as a result of an insured loss, the renter’s unit is unfit for occupancy or if a resident has to move out of their unit while repairs are made, the policy coverage will pay for expenses increased up to the insured limit incurred by the renter. resident to obtain housing subject to the Terms, Conditions and Exclusions of the policy. If a resident has to move into a hotel for a few days while their unit is repaired, these additional costs and increased food costs for restaurant meals may be covered by the Policy subject to the Policy Terms, Conditions and Exclusions .
- Other Coverage – Additional coverages may be available for earthquakes, jewelry, and fine art. Check with your insurance broker as necessary.
Coverages may be subject to a deductible. Check with your insurance broker for policy details.
Some renters insurance policies offer access to value-added services, directly from the insurer, as an added benefit of coverage. Novex Insurance Company, for example, offers Novex Assistance, a program designed to provide tenants with services including:
Unlimited legal information helpline for advice on property, landlord/tenant relations, employment, contracts, social benefits, licenses and permits, inheritance and family law.
Home care services, including cleaning when the property is damaged; child care for sick children or grandchildren; child care in case of hospitalization; household chores upon return from hospitalization; and visiting nurse.
Please note that home care services are subject to certain limits and conditions. Please ask for details.
Renters Insurance Programs
Renters insurance programs exist for several different types of renters that can offer personalized coverage and pre-negotiated preferred rates for insurance. These preferred rates can offer cost savings compared to retail market renters insurance offers.
- Building Renters Insurance Programs – For the benefit of tenants living in certain buildings.
- Senior Renters Insurance Programs – For the benefit of older tenants living in certain retirement homes. It may specifically include coverage for hearing aids, wheelchairs, or scooters.
- College/College Renters Insurance Programs – For the benefit of their students while living in residence at certain colleges or universities.
In most cases, renters insurance programs can be provided at no cost to the building owner, retirement home owner, or college. The property loss and general liability experience may be improved for building owners due to the insurer’s subrogation ability. This, in turn, can lead to lower commercial insurance rates in the future.
Protecting yourself and your contents against liability risk is a prudent step, whether or not you own your home. Renters insurance is a risk coverage that is often overlooked by renters and, in many cases, can provide significant risk protection at reasonable prices. Ask your insurance broker about the benefits of renters insurance and learn how little it can cost to cover your belongings and liability risk.