Fallen trees and branches are a significant cause of damage and power loss after a thunderstorm rolls through. But if a neighbor’s tree falls on your property and causes damage, who is responsible?
In most cases, it’s your homeowner policy that will cover the cost of the damages, subject to the policy’s coverage language. At first, that may not seem fair. But reverse the situation: What if YOUR tree fell on your neighbor’s yard causing damage? Your neighbor would be responsible for the repair and cleanup of the property.
Keep in mind that lightning or wind isn’t anyone’s fault; it’s just an act of Mother Nature. However, Mother Nature may not always be in charge. In those cases, responsibility may be with the tree’s owner.
For example, if your do-it-yourself neighbor attempts to cut down the tree and is negligent in the process, your neighbor may be responsible for damage to your property. In addition, if the tree was diseased and your neighbor was aware of its condition in advance, this could create a level of negligence that could make them liable.
Of course, the same would be true for you if your tree happened to fall on their property.
The best recommendation is to carefully inspect the trees on your property and take action to prevent hazardous conditions. Consider hiring a professional arborist who can detect diseased trees or trim dead branches that could fall and cause damage.
Finally, review the coverage in your homeowner policy and check with your local, On Deck Insurance advisor if you have any questions.
It’s super pleasing to sign the lease paperwork for your new apartment or rental home until you are hit with the “You will also need renters insurance before you move in” line.
Along with trying to figure out how to buy renters insurance you are probably wondering what does renters insurance cover.
I can assure you that as daunting of a task of figuring out what renters or apartment insurance will cover it is actually effortless and you will be able to understand it by the time you finish this post.
In this post today I am going to go over the basics of what your renter’s insurance covers, some sample rates as well as how to get renters insurance quotes and apply online for coverage in less than 5 minutes.
What Is Renters Insurance
Before the question what does renters insurance cover comes into play, we must first understand the basics of renters insurance.
"In Plain English," Renters Insurance is simply protection against the loss of your personal property within your rental home or apartment.
Renters or Apartment Insurance consists of a few parts:
Your monthly premium is how much you will pay per month for your coverage and is usually determined based on the deductible and coverage limits you choose as well as the area you live in or around.
Your deductible is going to be an annual amount you are responsible for paying before the insurance company starts covering costs.
These deductibles can range from $50 up to $750 and can also be attached to specific parts of the policy.
For instance, you might have a separate deductible of $50 for electronics vs. a deductible of $100 for any other items. You can also have a different deductible for the different parts of coverage like liability, medical or loss of use. The lower your overall deductible, the more expensive the policy will be. It is always best to read your plan specifics for how your deductibles will work.
Each type of coverage will have limits, and it is up to you to choose which options work best for you.
The lower the coverage limits, the lower the monthly premium but, the higher the overall risks are for you.
The higher the coverage limits, the higher the monthly premiums and the lower the overall risks are to you.
Coverage limits can range from $50,000 up to $500,000 or more depending on what you are looking for.
Rental insurance is very straightforward, if you have personal property and you are renting out an apartment or home, renters insurance is the only way and definitely the best way to protect it.
Rental Insurance Myths
There are several myths about rental insurance that we should clear up before we start discussing what it will actually cover or not cover:
A Renter's Insurance Policy Is Too Expensive
This myth couldn’t be the furthest from the truth, the average renter's insurance policy nationally runs at around $12.00 per month or $144.00 per year. These policies usually have $10,000 in personal property coverage, about $100,000 of renters liability insurance and a $250.00 deductible.
If you take the above information into consideration, you can easily see you are able to get renters insurance for cheap without losing a large amount of the benefits.
You’re Covered By Your Landlord
Anyone that owns your property, a landlord or even a property manager is only responsible for any damage or loss to the actual apartment complex itself. They are not responsible for your personal property.
So: If your neighbor's water heater explodes or the building is on fire, the property owner’s insurance will cover the damage to the walls or structure of the apartment. The landlord's insurance company will not pay for any damages or loss that you incur from either of those situations. That is where your renters insurance will kick in and cover your loss. Most apartment complexes are requiring renters insurance coverage before you can move into your unit.
There was a survey completed by the Insurance Information Institute in 2016 that discovered around 54% of renters don’t have a renters insurance policy.
Even though costs are very affordable, renters continually overestimate the cost of renters insurance, and that is a large part of why they aren’t getting coverage.
However, apartment rental insurance is one of the most affordable ways to protect your personal property, and it’s the most cost-effective.
Below we will discuss what will be covered for renters insurance for apartments or rental homes:
What does Renters Insurance Cover?
Your Personal Property
When we ask ourselves, what does renters insurance cover, the first answer is going to be your things or personal property.
The renter's policy you choose in general will cover things like your clothes, jewelry, appliances, furniture electronics, computers, laptops, and smartphones.
Your most basic renters insurance policy will cover you for the loss of your property if it is destroyed by a covered loss for things like:
Imagine if your wedding ring is stolen while you are on your honeymoon since it is your property that has been insured by your renters insurance policy.
Medical Bills & Personal Liability
If someone is injured in your home, the medical and personal liability portion of your policy will kick in.
If your dog bites someone, or someone falls or is hurt while on your property, the policy is set up to protect you by covering their medical costs or costs associated with them suing you.
I recommend getting a generous amount of coverage in this area as well, especially if you have pets.
Temporary Living Expenses (Loss of Use)
This part of the policy will cover you if something happens to the apartment to the point where you can no longer live there.
If the apartment complex burns down or is flooded and becomes uninhabitable this Loss of Use provision would cover:
Always read the fine print of the policy to know exactly how it will react to such a situation and what things would be covered.
Other Things Covered:
Renters insurance doesn’t just stop with the coverage mentioned above, a policy can also cover you for things like:
Items Stored Off-Site
Things in your car or in storage can also be covered by your rental insurance policy if they are lost or damaged.
Credit Card & Bank Forgery
If someone breaks into your apartment and steals your credit card info and starts spending money on your cards, you are covered.
Other People’s Property (OPP)
If you borrow your friends Iron and it is destroyed by a covered loss, it will be covered by your renters policy.
Just like with homeowners coverage, if your food becomes spoiled due to losing power in the refrigerator caused by a covered loss, you can be compensated for it.
In general you are covered for an assortment of losses, which proves that you don't need to wait for renters insurance, you need to get covered today.
What Does Renters Insurance Not Cover
There are certain situations where your rental insurance will not cover your personal items.
Natural Disasters Things like sinkholes, earthquakes, and floods aren’t covered by renters insurance policies so if you live in an area prone to these things it is best to look for a separate policy specifically for the things mentioned above.
Property Damage Caused By Bugs
In general, property damaged by things like bugs and rodents aren't covered under a renters insurance policy. However, some policies do cover you for Bed Bugs with their renter's insurance policy, so that is something to consider.
Expensive Things (To An Extent)
Whenever you have things like an Action Figure Set, Rare Comic Books or a Stamp & Coin Collection, there are limits to the amount of coverage you can get with a renters policy. Some insurance companies will only cover you up to a specific amount for the above things so it would always be best to insure those things separately with a stand-alone policy or purchase enough additional coverage for those things.
War & Nuclear Hazard
Your policy is not going to cover losses caused by War or Nuclear Hazard, in the event of a war breaking out on US Soil, you are going to be responsible for all things in your apartment. This event seems very unlikely, but it is always good to know what is or isn’t covered by your policy.
Your Roommates Personal Property
If you have a roommate then they need to get their own policy, your renter's policy is only going to cover your stuff. There is an option to get a joint policy if you want some savings, but having your own policy is probably the best way to go.
The most important thing to do is to read your renters insurance policy to be 100% sure about what isn't covered in your policy, this will save you lots of headache if you ever file a claim.
Steps To Take Before Buying Renters Insurance
Before you buy some renters insurance, you need to take inventory of everything that you own and its total cost. The average person owns about $20,000 worth of personal property, but I say that you shouldn’t underestimate the value of your things.
If you have a pet, you should also look into higher liability and medical limits just in case your pet attacks someone.
You also need to decide if you want to have a policy that will cover only the actual cash value of your items or if they will cover the replacement costs.
Replacement Cost Coverage
This will cover you for how much it costs to replace your item or something of similar value. Policies with this type of coverage are more expensive or come at an additional cost but also, in my opinion, is the best option to go with if you can afford it.
Actual Cash Value Coverage
This will only cover you for the current value of an item if you were to suffer a loss. So: If you purchased a laptop 3 years ago for $2,000, we all know it might only be worth $300 now, and that is all that would pay out to you.
These are really the most important things to do when shopping for renters insurance, just be aware of what you have and what you will need to get covered.
Get a quote today
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