Your landlord might require you and other tenants to purchase a renters insurance policy in order to rent an apartment, but even if your landlord doesn’t require you to get a certain amount of insurance coverage, it’s still a good idea to buy a renters policy. It’s also one of the cheapest insurance products out there, a typical renters insurance policy costs just $15 a month on average.
Renters insurance covers your personal belongings if they’re stolen or damaged by a covered peril both on and off your property, so if your suitcase gets stolen while you’re on vacation, your renters insurance will still cover it. Renters insurance covers perils like fire and smoke damage, vandalism, certain water damage, and more.
Since renters insurance offers a lot of coverage whether your belongings get damaged at home or while traveling, most people only purchase one renters insurance policy. However, there are some instances when you might need to buy two renters insurance policies.
When would I need two renters insurance policies?
Most of the time, one renters insurance policy is enough. A renters insurance policy offers tens of thousands of dollars in protection, and if you only have one rental unit then you only need one policy. That said, there are exceptions and certain circumstances when you might need two policies. For example, if you move temporarily to a new apartment and your new landlord requires you to buy renters insurance, you might need to take another renters insurance policy out for that address.
Renters insurance is made up of three parts:
Personal property coverage: Coverage for your belongings if they are stolen, damaged, or destroyed by a covered peril.
Personal liability and medical expenses: Coverage if you cause damage or injury to someone else.
Loss-of-use coverage: Coverage if your home becomes uninhabitable and you need to temporarily live somewhere else, like a nearby hotel.
Before you buy another renters policy you should check with your new landlord. If you already have a renters insurance policy in force, then your personal liability and property is already covered, which might be enough insurance coverage depending on your landlord. That said, you won’t have loss-of-use coverage for your new apartment if you do not have a renters insurance policy for that address.
Renters insurance and roommates
Most people assume their roommates are covered under their renters insurance policy, but that isn’t the case. If your roommate needs coverage they can be added to your renters policy, however this isn’t always the best or most affordable option. Many times it is easier for your roommate to get their own renters policy.
There are a few reasons why, for example:
Multiple people on one policy makes filing a claim more complicated
Coverage limits and sublimits do not increase just because there are more people on the policy
You will have an insurance record. Meaning your claims history will be on record, so if your roommate files multiple claims on your joint renters policy, it will stay on your record.
Does renters insurance cover storage units?
If you have a renters insurance policy in force, it will cover your personal possessions whether you are traveling or living at home. This means your renters insurance will cover your personal property while stored inside a storage unit.
You do not need to take out a separate renters insurance policy for your storage unit. The personal property part of your renters policy will extend protection to your belongings that get damaged or stolen while in a storage unit.
Many storage unit companies do offer storage unit insurance, however your renters insurance policy may be enough coverage. You should check with your insurance company before buying additional storage unit insurance.
When should I not have two renters insurance policies?
You generally do not need two renters insurance policies. Having two renters insurance policies does not mean you have double the coverage for your belongings, which is why you really only need one policy. Although renters insurance is cheap, it's still probably not worth it to buy multiple policies.
You cannot file two claims for the same loss. Filing the same claim with multiple insurance companies is insurance fraud.
If you have expensive items, it makes more sense to add endorsements to your one renters insurance policy in order to extend coverage, rather than taking out multiple renters insurance policies. For example, if you want more coverage for your expensive wedding ring, you should schedule an endorsement to your policy specifically for the ring.
How to buy renters insurance
Depending on the insurance company, you can buy a renters insurance policy online, through a mobile app, over the phone, or in person. When buying renters insurance, there are a few steps you should take.
Create a home inventory to estimate the value of your personal possessions
Shop around and compare renters insurance quotes
Check policy details (which perils are covered or excluded, sublimits for certain items, if the policy is a replacement cost policy or actual cash value)