One of the most common myths about insurance is that renters don’t need it. Your landlord has insurance, so you’re covered, too…right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. When there’s damage to your building, your landlord’s insurance will probably cover the walls around you and any major appliances that came with your unit, but it won’t cover your own stuff. This is where tenant insurance comes in — and it’s important to make sure you have the right amount of coverage in place in case of an emergency.

Your licensed insurance broker will know what questions to ask you to make sure your policy meets your needs, but you can also consider these tips when setting your limits.

How much personal property coverage do renters need?

Personal property coverage protects you if your belongings are stolen or damaged in an event covered by your policy. The amount of personal property coverage you need depends on the value of your belongings and how much it would cost to replace all of them if they were destroyed. The best way to figure out how much coverage you need is to take a detailed inventory of your belongings, then ask yourself these questions:

Coverage for specialty items

Bikes, jewelry, silverware, computer software, and other high-value items usually fall under special limits in a tenant insurance policy. It’s a good idea to read through your coverage details carefully to find out what types of items might have special limits, then ask your broker about schedulingopens a pop-up with definition of scheduling any specialty items you have in your policy.

Once you’ve figured out what all of your belongings are worth (don’t forget clothes and shoes, too), talk to your broker to make sure you’re getting the right amount of personal property coverage to protect you in the event of an emergency.

How much sewer backup and overland water coverage do renters need?

Sewer backups and overland floodingopens a pop-up with definition of overland flooding are becoming more and more frequent in many parts of the country, and neither are usually covered by basic tenant insurance policies. If you want to add sewer backup and overland water coverage to your policy (and if you qualify), it’s generally recommended that you go with the full limit available to you — usually the same as your personal property coverage limit. If your belongings are damaged because of a sewer backup or overland flooding, your regular personal property limits won’t apply, so it’s important that you have enough sewer backup and overland water coverage, too.

How much third-party liability coverage do renters need?

Tenant insurance covers more than just your physical stuff. If someone gets injured on your property or you’re held legally responsible for damage to someone else’s things, you’ll need third-party liability coverageopens a pop-up with definition of third-party liability coverage, which is included in most tenant insurance policies. This covers things like legal fees and lawsuit settlements.

Generally speaking, $1 million is a pretty standard limit for third-party liability coverage, but many claims do exceed $1 million, especially if there are long-term injuries involved. You might want to consider a higher liability limit if there’s something at your rental property that could increase the chances of someone getting hurt (like a pool or pets, for example). Increasing your liability limit may cost less than you think, so it’s worth asking your broker to look into it.

Whether you’re shopping for a new tenant insurance policy or you’re just reevaluating your existing policy, a licensed broker can help you weigh your options and make sure you get the coverage you need. If you don’t already have one, find a broker near you today.


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