This Home is Temporary – You Don’t Need Tenant Insurance, Right?
Living in a rental unit may be lighter on your wallet, but you still need to have tenant insurance. You might think you don’t need it—after all; it’s not your house. You don’t own it, so it’s not your responsibility to protect it, right? Wrong.
While your landlord’s insurance protects the physical building, it doesn’t protect anything you own, and it doesn’t protect you if you unintentionally cause damage to the building. Tenant insurance does cover these things, and that’s why you need it.
What If You’re Careful and You Live in a Safe Area?
Theft and vandalism can occur at any time, even in the safest areas. You may feel extra tired one evening and forget to lock your door or leave the window open unintentionally. You may be liable for any damages that guests cause, as well.
Compared to the cost of a lawsuit or replacing your belongings, tenant insurance is inexpensive, and it saves you from paying thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in lawsuits or repairs.
What Types of Tenant Insurance Are There?
There are two things included in tenant insurace:
You might already be familiar with liability insurance. Business owners, homeowners and car owners have to have it, as well. It covers you if you cause damage to anyone else or their property. In the case of tenant insurance, it protects you if you or your guest damages the rental unit or apartment complex. It also protects you if someone comes into your rental unit and accidentally injures themselves.
This type of insurance protects your belongings. If they’re stolen or damaged, your insurance company will give you the money to replace them. They’ll also cover additional living expenses—like living in a hotel—if the apartment building is too damaged to be habitable.
Some policies don’t cover all losses or damages, either. When you meet with insurance companies, ask if their policies cover occurrences like vandalism and not just theft. Any policy will clearly state whether it covers all risks or only certain perils.
What If You Move Around a Lot?
Your tenant insurance moves with you, protecting you and your property at each new place you live. So even if you’re only living somewhere temporarily, it’s a good idea to get tenant insurance. It’ll stay with you wherever you rent next.
When Is the Landlord Responsible?In some cases, what happens inside your apartment is the landlord’s responsibility, not yours. Here’s what your landlord would be liable for:
- Dirty or poorly-maintained chimneys: If your chimney starts to break or has an accumulation in or around it, it’s a fire hazard. Your landlord may be responsible for any damage from a chimney fire, but remember that you will also be responsible for cleaning out vents and fireplaces within your unit.
- Insect infestations: Bed bugs invade even the cleanest apartments. If you’ve seen insects all over your apartment, your landlord is responsible for getting rid of them. S/he must call the exterminator and pay for the service.
However, you also have some responsibility in an insect infestation. If you don’t clean out all of your belongings, you’ll cause another infestation, and then you’ll be liable for damages.
Your landlord isn’t usually responsible for break-ins. Just make sure you lock your doors and windows. If a break-in still occurs, your tenant insurance will replace anything you’ve lost.
How Do You Make Claims with Tenant Insurance?
Once you have your tenant insurance, you need to take an inventory of everything you own. Write down detailed lists, including the value and the serial number of the items, and take pictures of everything in every room. Don’t forget the contents of your closets, drawers, and cupboards.If you make any major purchases, you should also save your receipts in a fireproof place. If you make all these preparations, you can prove your losses to the insurance company and get fully and fairly compensated for your belongings.