Renters Insurance

What is Renters Insurance?

Tenants may not own the homes they live in, but they’re still exposed to some risks. For example, they may lose belongings in a fire or burglary, or they might be named in a liability lawsuit. Renters insurance helps tenants protect themselves from many of the risks they face.

Although it’s an important form of insurance, renters insurance is one of the more underutilized insurance offerings. According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 37 percent of renters have a renters policy -- which leaves many tenants dangerously exposed to the risks they face.

Is Renters Coverage Expensive?

Because renters policies don’t normally include structural protections for buildings, insurers are frequently able to keep policies’ premiums affordable. Most renters policies cost just a fraction of what a comparable homeowners policy would be.

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What Protections Do Renters Policies Provide?

Renters policies’ protections can vary, as every policy has its own terms and conditions. In general, though, renters policies offer three primary coverages:

  • Personal Liability Coverage, which usually covers certain incidents in which a tenant is held responsible for personal injury or property damage
  • Personal Property Coverage, which normally helps protect the belongings that a tenant owns (e.g. furniture, electronics and clothes)
  • Additional Living Expenses Coverage, which frequently helps pay for alternative accommodations if a tenant’s residence is rendered uninhabitable in a covered incident

When determining how much personal property coverage to select, tenants should carefully consider the value of all their belongings. People are sometimes surprised at how much their possessions are worth all together. A policy’s personal property coverage limit generally should be equal to or greater than the cumulative value of a tenant’s belongings.

For tenants who have particularly expensive items, such as computers, jewelry, or firearms, it’s also important to check whether a policy has any specific limits for those items. Some renters policies have set limits for these and other high-value items. Tenants who have items that exceed a policy’s particular limit for those items should work with their agent to find additional coverage through a higher limit, rider, or different policy.

Additional Benefits for Tenants

Pensio Tenant Benefit Association, operated by World Insurance Associates LLC, provides enrolled members who are residential rental tenants with:

  • Guaranteed rent for up to one year if the member involuntarily loses their job
  • Guaranteed rent for up to one year if the member becomes disabled
  • Access to Pensio residential rental market reports
  • Advice from a residential rental property tenant and landlord specialist
  • Cyberisk Assessment from CyberSafe at Home
  • Legal review of a member's new lease or eviction notice
  • Emergency rent loan or personal loan up to $5,000

Becoming a member is easy. Learn more or sign up at, or call toll-free 888-891-0015.

Renters Insurance

Does Renters Coverage Include Protections for the Building a Tenant Lives In?

A renters policy’s liability coverage might offer protection if a tenant is found responsible for (or simply accused of) causing damage to the building they live in. Most renters policies, however, don’t offer any other protections for buildings. It’s usually a landlord’s responsibility to insure any rented homes or apartment buildings they own against lightning, wind, fire, and similar perils.

Who is Renters Coverage For?

Most people who lease a residence could benefit from the personal liability, personal property, and additional living expenses coverages that renters policies typically afford. Therefore, anyone who rents a place for an extended period of time should consider getting renters coverage. This may include:

  • Tenants who lease their residence year-round
  • People who own a home but lease a secondary residence for part of the year
  • Employees who will be working in another state for an extended period of time
  • College students who rent a residence off campus

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How Can Tenants Get Quotes for Renters Insurance Policies?

While renters insurance is generally affordable, it’s still wise to compare the coverages and rates offered by different insurers. Tenants can easily do this by contacting an independent insurance agent, who can request quotes for renters policies on their behalf. With an independent agent’s help, tenants can have several renters quotes to look at in a short amount of time. If tenants need assistance comparing the different quotes, an agent can help with that, too.

Meet Your Industry Specialist

Frank Costa

Frank Costa, CIC, CRM

Mr. Costa founded an independent insurance agency in 1989 and successfully grew the firm to merge with a Tri-State independent agency in 2001. He is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and a Certified Risk Manager (CRM) and frequent speaker on various risk management topics.

Along with a BA in Accounting, Frank has completed extensive post graduate work in organizational behavior and management.

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