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If you rent and think your landlord’s homeowners insurance covers you – think again. You’ll want to consider renters insurance. It may cover more than you think.

If you’re a renter, you should consider purchasing a renters insurance policy. This coverage does more than just duplicate your landlord’s homeowners policy. You probably expect your renters insurance to cover you after something like a fire, there are actually many other times when this policy would come in real handy. Some of them might surprise you.

Resource: Get Renters Insurance for as Low as $5 a Month with Lemonade

1. Personal Belongings (Even When They Aren’t at Home)

If your laptop is stolen from the library or someone walks away with your wallet at an NFL game, chances are good that your renters insurance policy will cover the loss. That’s because your policy is designed to protect your personal belongings, even when you’re out of the house.

It’s important to note that while the theft of your belongings is typically covered, damage rarely is. This means that if someone steals your cell phone at the coffee shop, you’re likely covered… but if you drop your phone at the coffee shop and shatter the screen, you’re on your own.

For coverage against damage and loss, look into the cell phone coverage and purchase protections offered by certain credit cards.

2. Stuff Stolen Out of Your Car

Last Christmas, my neighbors prepared to visit the grandparents by packing their SUV the night before. After stuffing the back with luggage, presents, and the kids’ road trip goodies, they went inside to catch a couple hours of sleep.

Imagine their shock and heartbreak the next morning at 5 am when they walked outside to a completely empty car and a shattered back window. All of their Christmas gifts were gone, in addition to their luggage and even the kids’ road trip bags.

Now, little can be done to make that situation “right,” of course; their entire family was heartbroken by the theft. Thankfully, though, their insurance was able to step in and somewhat salvage the holiday.

That’s because renters insurance will cover your belongings even if they are stolen out of your car. This coverage won’t pay for damage to the car itself–such as repairing busted windows or jimmied door frames–but it can replace the items that are taken.

3. The Food in Your Fridge

If your rental home has an unexpected power outage or appliance failure, your food could spoil before you’re able to get it safely refrigerated again. And if your fridge and freezer are anything like mine, this could easily be hundreds of dollars’ worth of food that would need to be thrown out.

But don’t worry. Renters insurance can take care of that expense for you. You’ll be able to claim wasted food costs following a covered power or appliance event in your rental property.

4. Dog Bites and Other Injuries

Renters insurance could come in real handy if a guest or passerby were to be injured on your property–either due to a slip and fall, dog bite, or something similar for which you are (or could reasonably be) liable. In this case, your renters policy would step in to protect you against certain expenses, up to your purchased limits.

Technically, you have two different categories of coverage: personal liability and medical payments to others. Between the two, your renters insurance is able to pay for things like doctors’ bills, personal property damage, and the like.

5. Items in Storage

Putting belongings in storage is necessary for many households, whether it’s to get seasonal items out of the way or ease a transition into a new home. But if you put your stuff in storage and it is either stolen or damaged, give your renters insurance a call.

Renters insurance can cover items in self-storage against things like theft, vandalism, mold, water damage, vermin infestations, smoke damage, and the like. Be sure to read your specific policy limits, though, to see what is covered and what your limits are (they might be lower for your items left in storage than for your belongings at home).

6. Your Kid’s Baseball Through Your Neighbor’s Window

The liability coverage included with your renters insurance is designed to protect those around you–and that might just include your neighbor’s living room window after a cul-de-sac baseball game. Luckily, if you or your child were to accidentally damage someone else’s property, like a car or windowpane, your renters insurance should cover the repair.

There are some limitations–you’ll often find intentional damage by a child older than 13 to be excluded, for instance–and the coverage isn’t intended for your property (sorry, that’ll come out of your own pocket). But it’s great to know that if your kid hits a home run into Mr. Miller’s kitchen, you’re covered.

7. Travel Losses

Laptop stolen on a business trip? Hotel room burglarized? Luggage taken out of your rental car while abroad? Renters insurance covers your belongings there, too.

No matter where you and your belongings go, your coverage will follow. It may still be worth looking into temporary travel coverage, especially if you’re bringing very valuable items along (like jewelry), but this will be up to you and your specific needs.

8. Displacement Expenses

If your kitchen catches on fire, you already know that your landlord’s homeowners policy will cover the damage, and your renters policy will cover personal items that are damaged along the way. But what if you need to move out for a while, or are forced into a hotel while you look for a new rental home?

Your renters insurance’s loss-of-use coverage will also step in to help with various displacement expenses. These include hotel charges and often even restaurant meals, if they equal more than you’d typically spend on household groceries.

9. Bank Forgery Expenses

This coverage probably isn’t used very often today, where our credit cards come equipped with fraud protections and our debit cards can be turned on and off through mobile apps. However, if these safeguards fail, your renters insurance policy may protect you from any related expenses.

Let’s say your wallet is stolen and your bank account or credit card is compromised. If the resulting loss is not protected by the issuer/your bank and you’re left on the hook for the charges, renters insurance will protect you.

Bottom Line

Renters insurance is an important product to purchase. It protects your family’s belongings in the case of things like fire, explosion, hail/wind, or smoke damage, which could equal tens of thousands of dollars. Plus, most landlords will require you to hold valid coverage for the duration of your lease.

Learn more: The Best Renters Insurance Companies

These aren’t the only benefits to renters insurance coverage, though. By also offering coverage for your items away from home, handling certain expenses if you’re displaced, and even protecting you from personal liability claims, this insurance policy is worth its weight.

No, you probably won’t need all of this coverage during your lease (if any), but you’ll still get to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with such a range of protections. And if you’re on the market for a new renters insurance policy, there are many incredible companies to choose from that offer very competitive rates.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever had covered by a renters insurance policy?

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Author Bio

Total Articles: 100
Stephanie Colestock is a respected financial writer based in Washington, DC. Her work can be found on sites such as Investopedia, Credit Karma, Quicken, The Balance, Motley Fool, and more, covering a range of topics such as family finances, planning for the future, optimizing credit, and getting out of debt. She is currently working toward her CFP certification. Her full portfolio can be found at stephaniecolestock.com.

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