A renters insurance policy will cover your personal property, personal liability, and additional living expenses if you need to live somewhere else while the dwelling is being repaired, but it will not cover maintenance issues to your rental property. Damage to the physical structure of the building, including a broken window, is covered by landlord insurance.
But if you accidentally break a window on someone else’s property, the personal liability portion of your renters insurance policy may cover the cost to fix it.
Learn more about what renters insurance covers and what it doesn’t cover.
When does renters insurance cover a broken window?
Maintenance issues in the home — like pest damage, broken built-in appliances, and broken windows — are usually the landlord’s responsibility.
But if you or a family member accidentally break a neighbor’s window and you’re held liable, your renters insurance may cover the damage.
Personal liability coverage & broken windows
Your personal liability coverage may cover your legal expenses if you’re found liable for bodily injury or property damage. That means if you break someone else’s window, your renters insurance coverage may pay for the cost of window repairs. Once the claim is filed, if it’s determined that you’re liable for the damage, they will reimburse you the cost of the window up to your policy’s limit of liability.
For example, if you are golfing in your backyard and hit a golf ball through your neighbor's window, your renters insurance coverage would cover the cost of a new window, in the event you filed a claim. Alternatively, if someone breaks your window and they have renters insurance, the personal liability provision of their renters insurance should pay to fix it. They will have to file a claim with their own renters insurance company in order to do so.
Loss-of-use coverage & broken windows
The loss-of-use or additional living expenses provision of your renters policy protects you if your home becomes uninhabitable. If your window is broken and there is additional damage to the rental property to the point of it being unsafe or uninhabitable, your renters insurance loss-of-use coverage will pay for you to stay elsewhere while your home gets repaired.
When does a landlord pay for a broken window?
Generally, landlords are responsible for fixing damages to the rental property, but they are not responsible for reimbursing or fixing your personal property. If your window is broken due to a covered peril, like someone breaking into your apartment, that’s where your landlord’s insurance comes in.
If you do something purposefully, like throw a rock through your own window and your landlord can prove you did it, then they will most likely take the repair money out of your security deposit or just make you pay for it. This is also true if one of your friends or roommates breaks the window in your apartment.
Most leases will have a section that outlines what type of damage your landlord is responsible for fixing and what the tenant is responsible for. If you have a party and a partygoer breaks your window, it will likely be your responsibility to fix.
How to file a renters insurance claim for a broken window
If your window is broken due to a break in, you should contact the police right away and file a police report. You should then contact your landlord to alert them of the break in so that they can secure the property.
If you break someone else’s window and you want to file a claim, you should photograph the broken window and any other damage, as you will need to provide proof to your renters insurance company.
You should then contact your insurer. Most renters insurers require you file a claim within 24 to 72 hours of the incident. Make sure you have the following on-hand to make the process smoother:
Your insurance policy number or policy declarations page
Police report (if you filed one)
Documentation of the damage (photographs, videos, receipts if you’re filing for theft)
A phone number that you can easily be reached at
Once you file your claim, your insurance provider will assign you a claims adjuster who will begin investigating your claim to determine if the claim is credible and covered by your insurance policy. Depending on the damage or incident, it can take weeks to finish the investigation. You should ask your insurer to give you a time frame so you have a better idea of what to expect.