Moving into a new space can be stressful, there’s unpacking, decorating, and redecorating to take care of, and sometimes renters insurance can end up on the back-burner. There’s a dangerous misconception that when you live in a new apartment or condo, the insurance your landlord (may or may not!) have on the building or complex will cover you, but that unfortunately isn’t the case.
If your building or complex is insured by the owner or landlord, this insurance will usually only cover the physical building in the case of an accident, meaning none of your personal belongings would be taken care of. You also wouldn’t be covered in a situation where you had to find temporary housing while waiting for building repairs.
The big question many people ask is, “how much is renters insurance going to cost?” While it varies from state to state, in Massachusetts, a renters insurance policy is typically available for less than $20 per month. This would be for coverage in the $30,000 to $50,000 range with a $500 or $1,000 deductible. That’s ONE night of tasty take out from your favorite Tex-Mex place! Think of how much all your stuff is worth… your television, computer, gaming system, furniture, clothing and all the items you’ve accumulated over the years… it adds up quick.
For these reasons, you should have renters insurance when living into a new apartment or condo. There are three forms of protection typically offered by renters insurance:
- Additional Living Expenses
- Personal Possessions
Additional Living Expenses
Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage is an important element of these policies. If you’re ever displaced from your apartment/condo, this portion of your renters insurance coverage steps in to help. Let’s say that there was a fire in your building, and it did damage to the point where it won’t be repaired for two weeks. During these two weeks, you’ll need somewhere to live. ALE covers your hotel bills, restaurant meals, necessary rentals, and other expenses that you may have while waiting to move back in. This portion of coverage can be a lifesaver in a difficult situation.
Your liability coverage protects you from lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage. If you or someone you live with (or a pet, depending on your policy) injure someone or damage their property, this portion of your policy will cover you for court costs and payouts, up to your set limits. This also provides you with “no-fault medical” coverage, which allows friends or family injured in your home to submit their medical bills directly to your insurer, however this does not apply to you or other residents.
The personal possessions coverage a renters policy provides takes care of your belongings. Through this, your possessions will typically be covered from damage by:
Many disasters and accidents are covered, but check your policy to the specifics. Floods and earthquakes, for example, are almost never covered in standard policies and supplemental insurance is required for coverage. Deciding how much personal possessions coverage you need comes down to how much all of your stuff is worth, so creating an inventory of your valuable belongings is recommended.
Along with what’s covered, there are two types of renters insurance policies: Actual Cash Value and Replacement Cost. Actual Cash Value (ACV) pays the amount to replace your belongings minus an amount for depreciation. ACV takes time and wear into account when valuing your items, so the older they are, the less you’re likely to receive. Replacement Cost pays out an amount to replace your items with no consideration of depreciation. A policy with this coverage will pay more to replace your items, but is typically 10% more expensive than an ACV policy.
Moving into a new apartment or condo is usually an exciting time! But be sure to take the time to review your renters insurance policy options and keep your belongings and your new space safe. Get started below by contacting an R&G agent and getting to know your options!
Vice President | Employee Benefits
Reggie Rolles is a Vice President, Voluntary Benefits Consultant at Rogers & Gray Insurance. In this role, Reggie works with regional employer groups and their human resources teams to provide employees with high-quality voluntary benefit solutions. You can connect with Reggie on LinkedIn or by email.