Here’s What Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Renters insurance coverage covers costs associated with property damage, stolen property, personal liability and medical payments if a guest is hurt inside your rental property. It even provides reimbursement if you’re displaced because of damage to your rental.

Although your landlord may not require it or your budget is super tight, renters insurance is an affordable way to add coverage for your belongings. But before you sign on the dotted line, you should also be aware of what renters insurance doesn’t cover.

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      When am I not protected by my renters insurance? 

      Renters insurance provides coverage in four basic areas, including:

      • Personal property coverage: This protects your personal items in your rental unit, including electronics, furniture and clothing.
      • Liability: This pays for costs associated with lawsuits if you cause damage to someone else’s property or if you’re involved in an accident that causes injury or damage to property.
      • Medical payments for others: If a guest is visiting your home and gets injured, this coverage pays their medical costs.
      • Loss of use: If you’re displaced because of damage or loss to your rental, this coverage reimburses your additional living expenses during the displacement.

      But renters insurance coverage isn’t all-inclusive. You should be aware of what renters insurance doesn’t cover, so you can determine if you need add-ons to your policy.

      • Select natural disasters: Flood, earthquakes and sinkholes are typically excluded from coverage.
      • Damage from pests: Damage from termites, bed bugs, rodents and other pests are excluded.
      • High-value items: If you have items considered too high of value (worth more than $1,500), like antiques or jewelry, you may need to purchase additional coverage.
      • Roommates: Unless your roommate is listed on your policy, your policy likely excludes coverage for them.

      When does renters insurance replace my stuff? 

      If you experience a disastrous event, such as a fire or burglary, and your personal property is damaged, then your renters insurance kicks in. This even includes replacement for all the hand-me-downs your mom gave you for your first apartment.

      [ Next: How to Buy Cheap Renters Insurance Online ]

      Renters insurance also replaces your valuables if they’re stolen or damaged while in your car. And if you happen to keep your belongings in storage, a standard renters policy covers belongings in storage units too.

      However, there are events where your property isn’t covered. No matter how valuable your futon is, if your property is destroyed by select natural disasters such as a naturally-occuring flood or earthquake, then your valuables won’t be replaced.

      When it comes to your belongings, making an inventory list when you first move in is a smart move. Not only do you list out your home inventory, but you estimate the monetary value too. This will come in handy if you have to make a claim from property damage or theft.

      What doesn’t renters insurance cover after a natural disaster? 

      Renters insurance covers several natural disasters, including hail, rain and volcanic eruptions. But there are a few events after natural disasters that aren’t included in most policies. Typical events after a natural disaster are ones like landslides and mudslides. But this also means sinkholes and earthquakes aren’t covered either. If you’re concerned you live in an area that might be affected by these types of events, look into your policy add-on options for additional coverage.

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      When does renters insurance cover flood? 

      Although frozen pipes, rain damage and burst pipes are covered, a standard renters insurance policy will not cover flood damage. If you live in a flood-prone area, then you should consider this add-on for your policy. The add-on coverage would apply to natural floods.

      [ More: What Does Renters Insurance Cover? ]

      When does renters insurance cover hurricane damage? 

      The events often associated with hurricanes — hail damage, wind, rain and lightning — are covered under a standard renters insurance policy. However, floods are not typically covered, so if you live in an area where you could face the threat of a hurricane, consider adding the flood endorsement to your policy.

      When does renters insurance cover earthquakes?  

      Earthquakes are not covered in standard renters insurance policies. However, you can generally add this specific coverage if you live in an earthquake-prone area. You should also note if you have damage from a secondary event related to an earthquake, such as a fire, then your policy coverage would apply.

      When does renters insurance cover my pet? 

      Although renters insurance typically covers medical payments if your pet bites someone, your policy may have limitations on coverage for damage caused by pets. Some carriers exclude certain breeds too, so make sure to confirm your breed is included. If you’re concerned about your furbaby, check your policy and see if you need add-on insurance for more comprehensive coverage.

      How much does renters insurance cost? 

      According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of renters insurance is $180. And like other insurance products, it’s worth your time to shop around and receive multiple quotes.

      There are several factors that impact the cost of your insurance, including:

      • Location: Where you live is one of the biggest impacts to your premiums. Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas have the highest premiums, while the least expensive states are South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa.
      • Deductible: The deductible you carry determines the cost of your premiums. If you carry a higher deductible, your premiums are lower but you’ll have a higher out-of-pocket cost.
      • Actual Cash Value (ACV) vs. Replacement Cost Value (RCV): ACV is when the insurance company pays out coverage based on what your belongings are worth today. Since items depreciate, it won’t be the amount you paid. RCV is the value to replace your belongings for what you paid for them — and is more expensive to carry versus ACV.

      We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

      Sara Coleman

      Contributing Writer

      Sara Coleman is a personal finance journalist based in Charlotte, NC. A journalism major who studied at the University of Georgia, she enjoys creating approachable content. She’s written for sites such as The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, WorkingMother, BetterYouMag and SmartMoneyMamas. She loves spending time with her husband and three kids, and has a healthy obsession with coffee.

      Reviewed by

      • Courtney Mihocik
        Courtney Mihocik
        Loans Editor

        Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and debt consolidation loans. She is a former writer and contributing editor to Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, and elsewhere.