Renters Insurance

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab


Renters Insurance and Disaster Events

Renters may need to have renters insurance to protect them and their belongings in a disaster event. Renters insurance can replace your furniture, clothes, and other property if they are damaged due to a disaster. 

Discuss your own options for renters insurance with your insurance agent. Different policies may cover different things. Usually, the more protection you have, the more expensive the policy. Sometimes you can get a discount if you have more than one policy (e.g. auto, renters insurance) with the same insurance providers. You need to speak with your insurance provider to see what options you have for coverage.

Renters insurance will usually cover damage caused by fire, theft, tornado, etc. It will not cover damage caused by a flood. Renters can purchase flood insurance separately. 

Renters Insurance Guide

The Louisiana Department of Insurance has created this document to answer your questions about renters insurance. Click here to view this helpful guide. 

How Renters Insurance Works

How Renters Insurance Works

Renters Insurance may help protect your personal belongings as a tenant. Renters Insurance is like homeowners insurance but is for people who rent or lease properties, such as houses or apartments. Renters insurance is a form of property insurance that covers losses to personal property and protects the insured from liability claims. 

Key steps to getting and maintaining a renters insurance policy include taking inventory of possessions and keeping an updated spreadsheet of items. 

Renter's insurance tends to cover loss or damage to items in the home related to natural disasters, fire, theft, vandalism, plumbing, and electrical malfunctions. A renter’s insurance policy protects against losses to your personal property, such as clothes, jewelry, luggage, computers, furniture, and electronics. Even if you don't own much, it can quickly add up to a lot more than you realize; and a lot more than you'd want to pay to replace everything. 

Ask yourself: Can I afford to lose everything I own? 

There are two ways in which renters can get reimbursed by renters insurance - actual cash value and replacement cost. Actual cash value pays what the property was worth at the time of the damage. Replacement cost pays the full cost of replacing items with new ones. 

There are two major types of renters insurance: broad form and comprehensive form. 

Broad Form: 

  • Covers personal belongings against specific events, such as fire or theft.
  • This is the most commonly purchased renters policy.
  • Typical coverage under this form includes damage from fire, lightning, explosion, smoke, vandalism, theft, and water-related damage from utilities.

Comprehensive Form: 

  • Provides coverage from a range of events, such as storm damage, unless specifically excluded by the policy.
  • Considering the potential amount of coverage, the premiums for this type of policy may be higher.

Most renters insurance policies provide two basic types of coverage: personal property and liability.

Personal Property Coverage: 

  • Pays to repair or replace personal belongings if damaged, destroyed, or stolen.
  • Your landlord's insurance covers the structure and the grounds, but not your belongings. A growing number of landlords require tenants to purchase their own renter's insurance policies, and they'll expect to see proof.
  • It covers your belongings whether they are in your car, at home, or while you are traveling. Check your policy or ask your insurance agent for details on what constitutes "other covered losses."
  • Renter's insurance usually covers a long list of items, but three of the noteworthy items are clothing, electronics (including your computers and tablets), and furniture. 
  • Can cover additional living expenses during unforeseen events and natural disasters. This can include the cost associated with living somewhere else temporarily, food, and more. Check your policy to find out how long it will cover additional living expenses and if it caps the amount the company will pay.

Liability Coverage: 

  • This provides coverage against a claim or lawsuit resulting from bodily injury or property damage to others caused by an accident while on the policyholder’s property.
  • It pays any court judgments and legal expenses up to the policy limit.
  • Most policies provide at least $100,000 of liability coverage and a smaller amount for medical-payments coverage. You can request (and pay for) higher coverage limits if necessary.

NOTE: Renter’s insurance policies do not cover losses caused by your own negligence or intentional acts. For example, if you fall asleep with a lit cigarette and cause a fire, the policy most likely will not cover the damage.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, you can pay as little as $15-30 a month. Louisiana Department of Insurance encourages consumers to ask questions before purchasing an insurance policy. It pays to understand what you’re purchasing so there are no surprises if you ever need to file a claim. Shop around for a policy that meets your needs at the best price. When shopping, ask about contents coverage, replacement value coverage, living expense coverage, and what is not covered.

Last Review and Update: Sep 29, 2022
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