If you’re headed off to school this year, starting a new job, or just relocating to a new city, one of the first things you need to figure out is where you are going to live. If you’re renting an apartment, house or condo, you’re going to need insurance, and understanding the kind of insurance coverage you need can be tricky. The most important thing to remember is: just because your landlord has coverage doesn’t mean that you do. In most cases, your landlord’s insurance policy will only cover damage to the building. This means that if you have a fire in your apartment your belongings aren’t protected – that’s where renters insurance comes in.

Renters insurance provides protection for your personal property as well as liability if someone is accidentally hurt in your apartment, or are responsible for damage to someone else’s property (a good example is accidentally leaving a tap running and flooding the apartment below you). To learn more about what that means, here’s an outline covering the basics of Renters insurance.

Covering your stuff

Renters insurance protects the things you own in case of a covered loss from things like fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism and theft. It may also extend beyond your home, covering property that may be stolen from your car, or even your gym locker.

There are several coverage options to choose from, including:

Named perils – This type of policy covers only what’s specifically included in the wording (the named perils), but nothing else – so if it says it covers fire, you’d be insured for that, but not for a flood. Because named perils policies cover less, they are generally less expensive than all-risk coverage.

All-risk insurance – Unlike named perils coverage, an all-risk policy covers you for everything except what is expressly excluded in the policy. An all-risk policy usually costs a bit more than a named perils policy but it covers you for more things.

When shopping for Renters insurance, you will be asked for the approximate value of your belongings to ensure that you have the right amount of coverage. Calculating this can be difficult, but it can save you lots of headaches if you ever need to make a claim.

To get started, you should create a detailed record of your possessions. Take close-up and wide-shot pictures of all of your belongings, then use them to make an item-by-item list. Some people find it easier to keep their records of belongings grouped according to the rooms they are located in. Others categorize their belongings by item type, such as jewellery, artwork, books, furniture, etc.

However you decide to record your possessions, it’s a good idea to store the information in at least two different places. Keep hard copies outside of your home, like at your office or at someone else’s house, and save them to a folder on your computer.

If you have anything that’s particularly rare or valuable, like antiques or collectables, you should have them appraised and talk to your broker about whether they need additional protection.

It’s also important to do your research. Even though your kitchen table may have cost you $500 when you bought it, a new one could cost double that, so that’s the amount you want to be covered for. Check out websites and local furniture stores to see what comparable prices are.

Additional Living Expenses

Sometimes when there is damage to your home, the repairs may require you to move out temporarily. In these situations, Additional Living Expenses coverage can help cover the costs of hotel bills, restaurant meals, storage and moving expenses that you might incur. 

Liability coverage

Sometimes accidents happen. In addition to protecting your personal property, Renters insurance also protects you if you are legally responsible for injury or property damage to others. That means you’ll likely be protected if someone slips and falls while they’re at your place, or you unintentionally damage someone else’s stuff.

Liability also provides coverage up to your policy limits for your legal defence if you are sued, whether the incident occurred within your rental or elsewhere.

Whether it’s your first place or you’ve been renting for years, having Renters insurance is critical for protecting what matters to you and helping you secure the place of your dreams. Working with a broker will help ensure that the limits and coverage you have selected are right for you. They’ll take the time to evaluate your needs and create a policy that fits your lifestyle. If you want to know more about Renters insurance or get a quote, contact us today.