Renters Insurance: What It Covers and How Much You Need

Whether you’re renting an apartment or a home, chances are you may not have thought about renters insurance.

Sure, insuring a home you buy makes sense — but you’re renting. Isn’t insurance your landlord’s responsibility? Not entirely. While your landlord will maintain and insure the property, it’s up to you to insure the belongings inside it.

That’s where renters insurance comes in. For a pretty inexpensive monthly premium (on average, about $15/month), you can have peace of mind that your possessions are financially protected if vandalism or disaster strikes.

Over your lifetime, you may have several different homes. Each time you move, it’s essential that you protect your things with the best renters insurance you can find so any damages can be repaired and losses replaced.

What is renters insurance?

A renters insurance policy, also known as an HO-4, covers your losses in case of theft, fire or other damage. If plumbing breaks in your apartment and damages belongings in the apartment beneath yours, renters insurance could help pay for repairs and replacements.

It also offers liability coverage, which means your insurance company will pay legal fees and court awards in case of injury or damage due to negligence. For example, if someone gets injured in your rental home and sues, renters insurance could help cover those legal costs.

Standard policies also offer additional living expenses for situations where the rental property gets damaged and becomes uninhabitable, displacing you from your home.

Renters insurance is not legally required, but some landlords might require it if you want to rent from them. However, even if it’s not required and the chances of these things happening are slim, it’s still best to prepare for the worst so you can have peace of mind.

What does my renters insurance policy cover?

Policies can differ slightly from state to state, and offerings vary between insurance companies. But overall, renters insurance policies are pretty standard.

This is what most renters insurance policies include.

Personal belongings

Standard HO-4 policies protect your things against damage from the following listed disasters and incidents, called named perils.

  1. Fire or lightning
  2. Windstorm or hail
  3. Explosion
  4. Riot or civil commotion
  5. Damage caused by aircrafts
  6. Damage caused by vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Vandalism
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic eruption
  11. Falling objects
  12. Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  13. Water damage caused by steam, heating, AC, sprinklers or an appliance
  14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a hot water heating system, AC or sprinkler system
  15. Freezing of plumbing, AC, sprinkler system or appliance
  16. Damage caused by short-circuiting

Liability

Most policies offer personal liability protection — meaning the policy would help cover the legal costs and court payouts (up to the policy limit) should someone sue you or your family members for bodily harm or property damage.

Liability policy limits typically start at about $100,000. You are able to buy coverage with a higher liability limit. For example, a policy with $60,000 in property coverage, $300,000 liability protection and a $1,000 deductible costs an average of $266 each year.

On the other hand, raising your deductible $1,000 can save you $10 on your premium each month.

Liability protection can also pay for damage caused by your pet. Ask your agent about this.

Additional living expenses

Should damage make your home uninhabitable, your policy can help cover the costs of living elsewhere. Policies can cover hotel bills or temporary rental costs, meals and other expenses while you’re away from your home.

Miscellaneous

Most policies protect from some losses that you may have not given much thought to, but should still ask your agent about.

These other types of coverage can include:

  • Medical payments to others should they get hurt in your home.
  • Credit card and bank forgery in the event that someone breaks into your home and tries to use your stolen credit card or checks.
  • Other peoples’ property should their items get damaged or stolen while in your home.

What doesn’t renters insurance cover?

Like most standard property insurance policies, renters insurance doesn’t cover some types of damage.

Flooding, earthquakes and sinkholes

These natural disasters aren’t covered by renters insurance. For areas where these events often occur (if you live near a fault line or your rental is in a flood zone), think about taking out additional coverage. Ask your agent about the weather events common to your area, and plan accordingly.

Maintenance damage

Home insurance companies rule that it’s the policyholder’s responsibility to take precautionary steps to protect the rental from damage. So, policies will not cover incidents due to lack of maintenance or infestations like mold or termites.

Big-ticket valuables

Expensive belongings like art, jewelry and antiques may not be covered due to policy limits. All policies come with a coverage limit — some may be as low as $5,000. You can take out supplementary policies (called riders) to cover those valuables.

How much renters insurance coverage do I need?

To answer this question, you’ll need to make a list. Take out that pen and paper or find a list-making app and take an inventory of everything you own and every item’s value.

Take a picture or video of your rental and your most important belongings. Include any serial numbers for things like electronics and instruments. Also, think through the big-ticket items you’ll need additional coverage for. This is the time to insure that beautiful engagement ring.

Now, tally all of that up. If you can’t get a precise number, at least ballpark it. Your agent will need to know that number.

The valuation of your items will also impact whether you should go with an actual cash value policy (ACV) or a replacement cost value policy (RCV).

  • ACV: Under this type of policy, insurers will pay out the depreciated value of an item. The payout will likely be less than market value and it could cost you more money to replace the item. ACV policies often have lower premiums.
  • RCV: This type of policy pays to replace your lost or damaged belongings with a similar item at the current market value. The payout would be enough to replace your item.

What will my deductible be?

The cost of your deductible depends on the policy you choose.

A renters insurance deductible is the amount you will have to pay if you file a claim. The higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premium — but the more you’ll have to pay should the worst case scenario occur.

The most common amounts for a deductible are either $500 or $1,000, but some companies will let you choose a lower or higher deductible.

Think through your budget and your risk comfort level. How much of a monthly premium can you afford? Are you able to pay out of pocket if theft or damage actually happens?

The bottom line

Don’t wait to own a house before you insure your belongings. For a small premium, you can have peace of mind that your belongings are covered, you have liability protection and you have a safety net if accident or disaster makes your home uninhabitable.

Your landlord’s insurance only goes so far. Take steps to protect what you and your family value most.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does renters insurance cover moving?

No. Your renters insurance policy is designed to protect one property and the belongings inside of it. Most coverage is restricted to a single address, but some companies will allow you to purchase special insurance for your move.

What happens to renters insurance if you move?

When you move, you need to inform your insurance company so they can update your account. Your policy will be updated to reflect your new address, so your premium could be affected, going up or down depending on where you live. Your renters insurance policy will not likely cover your move, so you may need to purchase additional coverage to protect the actual transport of your belongings.

How do I update my renters insurance?

Most of the best renters insurance companies make it easy to update your renters insurance. Companies like Geico have excellent mobile tools, allowing you to change your address either through the app or on the website. USAA, on the other hand, requires that you call customer service at 1-800-531-USAA to change the address on your policy. You can only change your mailing address online.

How can I save on renters insurance?

One  reliable way to save would be to bundle your renters insurance with your auto insurance. Contact your auto insurance provider and see if there’s a discount!

But don’t just stop there. Shop around. You may be able to find cheap renters insurance from a different company than you’d first considered.

Whether you want to hire a broker to do the leg work for you or you feel internet savvy enough to do it yourself, get multiple renters insurance quotes. You have the power and the ability to find the best deal.

Source: Renters Insurance: What it Covers and How Much You Need | MYMOVE

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Critics:

By: Sarah Schlichter

NerdWallet compared rates across the U.S. to determine the average cost of renters insurance in every state. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page.

However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here’s how we make money. The average renters insurance cost in the U.S. is $168 per year, or about $14 per month, according to NerdWallet’s latest rate analysis.

This estimate is based on a policy for a hypothetical 30-year-old tenant with $30,000 in personal property coverage, $100,000 in liability coverage and a $500 deductible.While the nationwide average is a useful baseline, renters insurance rates vary based on where you live and how much coverage you need.

These are the five most expensive states for renters insurance:

  • Louisiana: $262 per year, or $22 per month, on average.

  • Georgia: $243 per year, or $20 per month, on average.

  • Mississippi: $228 per year, or $19 per month, on average.

  • Kansas: $225 per year, or $19 per month, on average.

  • Alabama: $222 per year, or $19 per month, on average.

Meanwhile, these are the five cheapest states for renters insurance:

  • Wyoming: $101 per year, or $8 per month, on average.

  • Iowa and Vermont (tie): $110 per year, or $9 per month, on average.

  • North Dakota and Pennsylvania (tie): $116 per year, or $10 per month, on average.

If you live in one of the country’s 25 largest metropolitan areas, you can find the average cost of renters insurance in your city below. Atlanta is the most expensive at $269 per year on average (about $22 per month), while Columbus is the most affordable at $137, or about $11 per month, on average…

More contents:

The Best Home Insurance Companies of 2021

Best Renters Insurance
What You Need to Know About Home Insurance
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How To Compare Life Insurance

Canadians have been having difficult conversations with their family since the global pandemic hit, according to a survey by Ipsos. 56% of parents have been talking over the future of their children, debt and how secure the family finances are in current conditions.

Over 25% of those surveyed said they didn’t believe their family would be able to meet financial obligations if they were to pass away. Many parents fret over the cost of childcare, housing, food, clothing and basic necessities. While 63% believe that life insurance is great, over one-third of Canadians don’t have life insurance coverage.

What Is Life Insurance?

When someone you love passes away it can leave an emotional and financial hole for those left behind. That’s where life insurance comes in. It helps you provide for and protect your loved ones if something was to happen to you.

Life insurance policies offer a death benefit that can help your family pay for funeral and burial expenses, mortgage payments, debts, and any other final expenses. While the amount your beneficiaries receive varies depending on the insurance policy, knowing that you have life insurance can provide you and your loved one’s peace of mind.

Many people buy life insurance to ensure that their dependents are looked after in their absence. While this is an important reason to seek out a life insurance policy, children cannot be paid out a death benefit from your insurance company. That’s why it’s important to clearly understand how life insurance beneficiaries work and how to designate one.

Insurance can provide protection for the next generation, but it also ensures that your family’s financial needs are taken care of when you’re gone. The death benefit paid out to your beneficiaries can be used to cover whatever they want, including mortgage payments, college tuition, credit card debt, and any other financial responsibilities that were left behind.

When Should I Buy Life Insurance?

Many Canadians look for life insurance coverage when they go through a change in their circumstances. This may be marriage, a new baby, or even a divorce.

There is no set time to buy life insurance. You’ll be able to buy it whenever you’re ready. However, if you buy it when you’re younger and in your best health, you’ll pay less in premiums than if you wait until you’re older or have health conditions.

How Much Does Life Insurance Coverage Cost?

How much you pay for your life insurance premium differs depending on the type of life insurance you buy. For example, term life insurance is the least expensive but doesn’t offer high death benefits. Moreover, when they expire, your life insurance premiums will increase.

Life insurance companies take several factors into account as they are deciding on your life insurance application. These include your

How To Get The Lowest Rates

Life insurance premiums are based on many factors and shopping around to compare life insurance policies can help you find a rate that fits your budget. There are some other things you can do to ensure you get the best rate, such as:

Types of Life Insurance

Life insurance coverage isn’t just a one-size-fits-all solution. There are different types of life insurance designed to fit different needs and lifestyles. One is term life insurance policy and the other most common is permanent life insurance or whole life insurance. Each type of life insurance has its own benefits and premium rates.

Term Life Insurance

A term life insurance policy offers coverage for a period of time, such as 10 or 20 years. It may even cover you to a specific age such as 65 years. Your premiums will not change during this time.

When you reach the end of the term, your life insurance contract is up. At that time, you can decide to buy more term life insurance or consider a different insurance policy, such as permanent life insurance or universal life insurance.

A term life insurance policy is the most common form of life insurance policy because they are the most affordable. Many also don’t require you to take a medical exam to be approved. However, because they are only in effect for a short time, they may not be the best fit. Talking to a life insurance broker can help you determine whether term life insurance is the right life insurance policy for you.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is sometimes called whole life insurance and it lasts for your entire life. That is, unlike term life insurance policies, so long as you make your payments, you’ll have life insurance. Moreover, your premiums will remain the same, making it easy to budget for and estate planning.

Whole life insurance is a unique type of permanent life insurance. With whole life insurance, part of the money you pay in premiums gets put into a cash-value account. If you decide to cancel your insurance policy, you’ll get that money back. It’s sort of like having life insurance with a savings plan. And an added bonus is that it is tax-free. However, permanent life insurance will have higher premiums than term life insurance.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance policies are similar to whole life insurance, but they have a long-term investment option. You can indicate to your insurance company how you would like the cash value of your policy invested, for example in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

Some policyholders use this to save for retirement or set aside money for another day. The drawback is that this type of life insurance requires more work on your part. It’s not something you want to get into unless you’re savvy at investing. Your premiums can also change throughout the life of the policy.

How To Get A Life Insurance Quote

As you work out which policy is best suited for you, it’s vital to compare life insurance quotes from different insurance companies. But that doesn’t mean you need to make several calls. Getting various life insurance quotes can be done by contacting a life insurance broker at Shelter Bay or filling in an online form on our website.

We’ll be able to give you the best life insurance quotes in just a few minutes. Once you find a life insurance policy you like, we’ll also be able to guide you through the application process, including the medical exam.

Benefits of Comparing Life Insurance Rates

Getting some quotes for life insurance online offers you a number of advantages, including

Know Your Specific Life Insurance Needs

Purchasing a life insurance policy to protect your family is the right thing to do. It’s important to assess what you need and want from a life insurance policy. Ask yourself some questions, such as

What Factors Do Most Insurance Companies Look At?

There are different factors that life insurance companies want to know and will play a role in determining your coverage and the premiums. These include:

Know The Ins and Outs of A Life Insurance Policy

There can be a lot of fine details with a life insurance policy, and you’ll want to understand them so you don’t risk voiding the policy. One of the most crucial parts of getting life insurance is the medical exam. It’s important to be honest with your insurance company about your health conditions and risks for example if you smoke.

Customers who buy a life insurance policy but never disclose these things may be putting their family’s protection at risk. If you pass away and your life insurance company uncovers the deception, your beneficiaries may end up with nothing. You could pay thousands into a life insurance policy but never benefit.

How To Apply For Life Insurance

After you have a life insurance policy quote that works for your budget, you need to make a formal application for insurance coverage. Your application will begin with a questionnaire by one of our Shelter Bay insurance brokers. We’ll ask you some brief health and lifestyle questions that help the underwriters determine the best life insurance premium for you.

Some life insurance companies require you to complete a medical exam before they offer you an insurance policy. While it can seem intimidating, the medical exam is actually very basic. It’s just to get an idea about your health history and any medical conditions you may have.

After you’ve completed the application process and your medical exam results are in, the life insurance company will either approve you for life insurance coverage or deny you. If you are denied a life insurance policy from an insurance company, it doesn’t mean you’ll never get a life insurance policy. You can always make an application to another insurance company. Talk with your Shelter Bay insurance agent and we can help you find an insurance company that will offer you life insurance coverage.

Life Insurance Application Process

There are three ways of underwriting insurance policies. The application process will be determined by the underwriting your life insurance company uses for the policy you want to purchase.

Full Underwriting

There are three ways of underwriting insurance policies. The application process will be determined by the underwriting your life insurance company uses for the policy you want to purchase.

Accelerated Underwriting

There are three ways of underwriting insurance policies. The application process will be determined by the underwriting your life insurance company uses for the policy you want to purchase.

Simplified Issue

This underwriting process is very, very basic. You won’t be asked to undergo a medical exam and there will be no third-party resources supply information about you. Rather, you’ll be approved or denied based on how you answer questions about your lifestyle and your health. However, your premiums will likely be higher because the insurance company

doesn’t have as much information on you as the other two forms of underwriting.

Source: How To Compare Life Insurance | Shelter Bay Financial

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 Seven Predictions To Help Insurers Thrive In 2022

As 2021 thankfully recedes from view, 2022 will present insurers with a host of profound changes that we believe will significantly alter the carrier landscape this year and beyond. These changes will be driven by serious pandemic-related challenges, climate change threats, continuing margin pressures and unrelenting incursions from industry outsiders.

Gleaned from conversations with clients, prospects and partners, here’s what insurers need to look out for and respond to in the coming year:

1. Corporate board-level activism will drive strategic planning and operating model change. 

Insurer C-suites have generally had broad latitude in setting their corporate strategies. Now, though, factors that were once an afterthought — climate change, the circular economy, social equity, the connected world — are now front and center.

Under pressure from their boards, most insurers now include environmental, social and governance (ESG) components in their strategic plans and portfolio strategies. Pressure will intensify in 2022, which will impact investment returns, employee hiring and retention, ecosystems and partnerships, and the ability to expand into new geographies.

Recently, the technology head at a large P&C insurer with whom we work began assessing a comprehensive data platform to gain a better understanding of the company’s carbon footprint, climate-related risks, third-party supplier risks and sustainability goals. Companies that respond thoughtfully to ESG concerns will gain significant competitive advantage, including increased customer loyalty, better brand reputation and greater compliance, over those that do not.

2. Heightened M&A activity and private equity infusion will alter the insurance pecking order. 

Armed with trillions of dollars, private equity (PE) firms are snapping up insurance books of business; meanwhile, PE and venture capital (VC) firms are lavishing insurtechs with investment dollars. Concurrently, insurance companies are actively incorporating digital capabilities from insurtechs and startups.

With more acquisitions announced every quarter since the pandemic began (PE insurance sector investments hit $19.28 billion through August 2021, according to S&P Global), we continue to see a shift in the makeup of the insurer landscape. Recent examples include Blackstone acquiring Allstate’s Life insurance business, Apollo’s merger with Athene holdings and Carlyle’s investments in Vantage Risk.

It’s easy to imagine capital, underwriting expertise and customer experience capabilities from non-traditional sources applied to underwrite new risks across industries. This year may be the industry inflection point for unleashing a significant challenge to the mega-insurer establishment.

3. New business domains will further blur the lines between insurance and other industries. 

The pandemic spurred insurers to rethink their core capabilities and increase their relevance by divesting non-core businesses or splitting conglomerates into new entities to create more shareholder value. Recently, AIG split off its life and retirement segment into a standalone entity via an IPO to simplify its business structure, while Principal Financial exited the retail market, placing $25 billion in reserves.

With the ever-increasing need to align business models with how customers engage with products and services, we expect to see new business domains emerge that overlap with and integrate services from several traditional industries. MIT’s analysis of the home domain shows this happening among participants from insurance, financial services, consumer goods and other industries.

For example, Tesla already offers embedded insurance based on driving data, and Amazon recently launched product liability insurance for its sellers through its Insurance Accelerator.

We’re also continuing to see the employer/employee as a new domain around which insurers can build customer-centric business models that include ecosystem partners and attract the attention of PE money to forge unlikely partnerships. 2022 may be the year when this phenomenon gives rise to more embedded insurance products.

4. Employee wellness will continue spurring innovation and development of new group products. 

Wellness products are all the rage, and for good reason. Amid the seemingly endless pandemic, anything that promotes physical, emotional and financial health is a win for all involved.

By proactively engaging with employees to improve their overall wellness and emotional health, insurers can decrease risk for many insurance products, while employers benefit from having more productive and engaged staff. Look for more consumers to seek voluntary wellness options in their insurance products in 2022 — particularly those sold in a direct-to-consumer (D2C) mode via a digital-first model.

Employers will increasingly offer remote benefit programs like fitness classes, telehealth, financial literacy, mindfulness coaching and caregiver help. Such products are a low-cost way to boost employee retention and create a better employee experience.

5. More insurers will experiment with low-/no-code solutions. 

2021 was the year low-/no-code platforms gained notoriety, offering more power to non-technical people to automate processes, develop new applications and build new customer experiences. Although the jury is still out on the promise of these platforms, core insurance systems and enterprise software providers don’t want to be left behind.

Microsoft and ServiceNow are good examples of enterprise platforms that offer low-/no-code capabilities to orchestrate processes. Insurance systems like Vitech, Guidewire, EIS and Duck Creek now offer design tools to create scripts that deliver new functionality faster. Insurance carriers are working to modernize their IT operating models, talent and partner ecosystems to make the best use of low-/no-code technologies offered by software vendors to expedite solution delivery.

6. Digital purchasing experience comes of age. 

The decades-long crawl toward increasingly complex online sales capabilities has now shifted into high gear in the insurance space, with the explosion of third-party data, embedded insurance products (see #3) and more precise systems of engagement. No matter what domain they’re purchasing from, consumers expect online purchases to be convenient, speedy and wrapped into a full-service experience.

Insurers are adapting their processes and unique data assets to meet the challenge. Most insurers are placing “digital-first” bets to create seamless purchase experiences, increase loyalty and engagement, and drive behaviors that improve risk profiles.

Working with a digitally-born business, a large supplemental carrier with whom we work is seeking to offer a one-stop-shopping consumer experience by integrating its new product, distribution and servicing capabilities and expanding its base products with complimentary coverage for richer cross-selling opportunities. It’s also introducing white- and co-labeling of products with partner companies’ distribution channels.

Another specialty insurer that we serve is partnering with marketing and tech organizations to create a roadmap for content management, customer relationship management and marketing automation ecosystems through the lens of experience enablement for new D2C audiences and internal (broker and carrier) stakeholders.

While indirect sales channels won’t go away, insurers and intermediaries must improvise and adapt to the digital environment and create unique products and solutions that predict and address customers’ needs. The emergence of better tools (think AI and analytics, for example) will help. But a commercial FOMO (“fear of missing out”) brings real urgency to this shift.

7. Greater use of AI will result in changes to permissible data and a heightened role for regulating authorities. 

Reliance on traditional credit and demographic data is increasingly under scrutiny by regulators, resulting in wholesale changes and limitations on how policies are priced, purchased and serviced. New data sources, as well as AI- and machine learning-driven analytics will increasingly be used to address the vacuum created across product development, distribution, underwriting, pricing, servicing and claims. Such variables will draw more scrutiny from regulators.

Insurers will encounter protracted regulatory reviews based on their use of new data sources (GPS data, health and safety data, consumer demographics, etc.) and AI-driven predictive models and analytics. The need to test models for the irresponsible use of advanced AI technologies could complicate future regulatory filings and rate changes.

Furthermore, regulators may require insurers to publish publicly available model bias impact statements to establish transparency. To differentiate themselves, leading insurers will invest in establishing a foundation for dealing with third-party data, new rating systems and analytical capabilities while also creating streamlined filing processes. Carriers that drop bias-creating variables in favor of those that truly impact risk will minimally benefit from better underwriting results. As ESG and disclosure requirements evolve, compliant carriers will gain a distinct competitive edge.

Creating tomorrow’s advantage, today

Insurers’ success in 2022 will pivot around how well they predict customer needs, navigate uncertainty and deliver value — concurrently. Winning carriers will be those that are agile, build skills and capabilities that increase their relevance, accelerate collaboration with ecosystem partners and emphasize data-driven products.

By doing so, insurers can step boldly into the future, well-equipped to anticipate change and deliver seamless customer experiences.

Mahesh Natarajan is Head of Strategy, Insurance Solutions Group and Ventures, at Cognizant. A 20-year veteran at Cognizant, he is an experienced business leader with a demonstrated history of enabling client success, scaling businesses and simplifying complex problems. Mahesh has proven experience advising clients on strategic business initiatives such as digital transformation, operational excellence, managed technology services, organizational change management, Lean ADM and technology transformation. He is passionate about continuous learning, empowering teams and STEM education. Mahesh has a Bachelor of Computer Science and engineering from University of Madras. He can be reached at Mahesh.Natarajan2@cognizant.com.

Source: Cognizant BrandVoice: Seven Predictions To Help Insurers Thrive In 2022

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Credit-Based Insurance Scores: Impacts on Consumers of Automobile Insurance

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