HomeBoat InsuranceIs Renters Insurance Worth It?

Is Renters Insurance Worth It?

Imagine you’re renting your apartment and a ceiling leak in your bedroom damages many of your most expensive items, and forces you to stay at a hotel for a few nights while repairs are made. How will you pay to replace those items and afford last-minute accommodations?

This is where any savings you’ve built up, including an emergency fund, can lend a helping hand. But many replacements and accommodations are expensive and if you don’t have enough saved to cover the entire bill, you’re basically out of luck (and money).

That’s why renters insurance can be well worth the small monthly cost. Of course, an extra monthly expense is yet another thing to budget for. But below, CNBC Select covers why renters insurance can be worth it and how to make it as affordable as possible.

What we’ll cover

What does renters insurance cover?

Renters insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers tenants in the event of personal property damage and personal liability up to a certain amount (called the coverage limit). You’ll pay the insurance premium and file a claim anytime you experience a covered loss. You’ll be reimbursed up to your coverage limit once your expenses exceed your deductible.

For instance, if you have a $500 deductible and that leaky pipe damages $2,500 worth of furniture, you could be reimbursed for $2,000.

Renters insurance covers three areas:

  • Personal property: Covers the replacement cost or reimburses you for the value of things such as clothing, furniture, electronics, jewelry and other personal belongings
  • Personal liability: Pays for legal fees or medical expenses when someone is hurt in an accident or their property is damaged and you’re found at fault
  • Loss of use: Pays for additional expenses (hotel, restaurants, etc.) when you can’t live in the apartment because of a covered event, such as fire, vandalism or water damage from leaky pipes

You can also add additional coverage for items that aren’t covered, like high-value jewelry, camera equipment and art.

Of course, your policy won’t cover everything. Renters insurance typically won’t help you out with earthquakes, floods, damages to the home itself, pest infestation, damage to your roommate’s belongings (if they aren’t listed on your policy) and liability for a home business.

Make sure you pay attention to the coverage limits. Adding more coverage usually increases your monthly premium, but don’t let that stop you from getting the coverage you need for your belongings.

Why should you get renters insurance?

Lemonade Renters Insurance

  • Cost

    Starts at $5/month; premium depends on the coverage amount you choose

  • Maximum coverage

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Policy covers personal property damage caused by fire, vandalism, theft, and more; covers damage you accidentally cause others

  • Does not cover

    Natural disasters, flooding, power outages, your roommate’s belongings, pest damage

Bundling renters insurance with other policies can help you save money

Most insurance companies give you a discount for bundling policies — in other words, taking on two or more policies with the same insurer can help you save money. For instance, bundling a USAA renters insurance policy with an auto insurance policy gets you a 10% discount with USAA, which primarily caters to current members of the armed forces and veterans.

USAA Renter’s Insurance

  • Cost

    Starts at $10/month; premium depends on the coverage amount you choose

  • Maximum coverage

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Policy covers personal property damage caused by fire, vandalism, building collapse, theft, and more; standard coverage includes flood protection and no extra cost for earthquake protection; overseas insurance allows personal property to be protected if you are deployed or move abroad

  • Does not cover

    Building and roof damage, water leak damage, damage caused by insects or pets, vehicle damage or theft, your roommate’s personal property

Replacing your damaged items out of pocket will cost more

Costly damage to personal belongings can force you into debt to replace them if you don’t have enough savings. But when you use your insurance policy to pay for a covered item, you avoid footing the entirety of what could be an astronomical bill. That’s more than worth the few bucks a month it costs for a policy.

It could be required by your landlord

If your building’s landlord requires tenants to have renters insurance then you’ll have no choice but to get a policy anyway. And don’t think that whatever insurance policy your landlord has to cover the building will protect you or your belongings. Without a renters insurance policy, you and your belongings are exposed to potential financial ruin.

It can help you pay medical and/or legal bills for accidents that occur in your home

If someone else gets hurt while in your apartment (or on your property) and incurs medical bills, your renters insurance coverage typically helps you pay the costs. This can save you from having to reach into your own savings to pay for the entirety of someone else’s medical care (even if it was just an accident).

You may be temporarily unable to inhabit your current apartment

If your current apartment is uninhabitable due to a covered loss, renters insurance can help you pay for hotel accommodations (usually up to a certain amount) until you’re able to live in your unit again. This is called loss of use coverage. This makes picking up and temporarily relocating way more affordable than it otherwise would have been.

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How do you get affordable renters insurance?

Bottom line

When you consider the catastrophic consequences you could suffer from not having renters insurance, paying a modest amount for a policy seems like the smart move. Just make sure you figure out how much coverage you actually need and bundle where you can to take advantage of discounts.

Why trust CNBC Select?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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