Q

Q

Does renters insurance cover cellphones?

A

A

If your cellphone is stolen or damaged by a covered peril your renters insurance may reimburse you for it, but there are several factors to take into consideration before filing a claim.

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Published January 9, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Your renters insurance will cover your cellphone if it is stolen or damaged under a covered peril, but if you have a high deductible you might be better off not filing a claim. Your renters insurance will not cover the cost of replacing your cellphone if you lose it or damage it yourself

  • You can schedule additional riders to your policy if you have an expensive phone and want additional coverage

When you purchase a renters insurance policy you are protecting yourself and your belongings. If your items are ruined in a fire or stolen while you’re on vacation, your renters insurance policy will reimburse you for the cost. It will also protect your personal liability, so if someone gets hurt on your property, your renters insurance can help pay for any legal fees or medical expenses. If your home becomes unlivable because of a covered peril like a leak, your renters insurance loss-of-use coverage can pay to put you up in a hotel.

Everyday items like your furniture, clothing, cookware, and food are usually all covered by a basic renters insurance policy. When it comes to more expensive items, like electronics or jewelry, your renters insurance can reimburse you for them up to your policy’s limit. Your limit is the maximum amount your insurance provider will pay you for a covered loss. If your items are worth more than your coverage limit, you can add additional riders and endorsements to add and increase specific coverages to your policy.

In this article:

What does renters insurance cover

Renters insurance coverage falls into three categories:

  • Personal property coverage: Protection for your belongings if they get damaged or stolen
  • Personal liability coverage: Protection if someone gets hurt on your property and requires medical attention or legal fees
  • Loss-of-use coverage: Protection and payment if your dwelling becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril

Some covered perils include:

  • Fire and lightning
  • Hail and wind damage
  • Short-circuit damage from an electrical appliance
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Damage by aircraft
  • Leakage or overflow of water or steam

Learn about what other types of perils renters insurance will cover.

When will renters insurance cover cellphones?

Your personal belongings are covered by your renters insurance up to your policy’s limit. Your cellphone will count as your personal property. This means that if there is a fire or theft your phone will be covered by your renters insurance policy. It will also cover your cellphone if it is part of another claim, like if your backpack gets stolen and your cellphone, cash, and laptop are inside — you can file one claim for all of those belongings and you will get reimbursed up to your policy’s limit.

Your renters insurance protects your personal belongings even if they aren’t on your property, like if your cellphone gets stolen at the airport. However, when it comes to filing a claim to reimburse the cost of your cellphone there are a few more things to factor in.

Renters insurance deductible

Before your renters insurance coverage can kick in, you will need to pay your insurance provider a deductible. A renters insurance deductible is the amount of money that you must pay your provider out-of-pocket towards a loss before your coverage can start. For example, say there is a fire in your apartment and you have $25,000 in renters insurance property coverage and a $500 deductible. You will need to pay your insurance provider the $500 deductible and then they will contribute to the reimbursement of your covered belongings. When you purchase your renters insurance policy, you get to choose how high or low you want your deductible to be. The higher your deductible is, the lower your premium payments will be.

A common deductible amount for renters insurance is usually either $500 or $1,000, depending on how much coverage you purchase. So, if your cell phone is stolen or damaged in a covered peril, you can file a renters insurance claim once you pay your $500 deductible.

Cellphone price vs. deductible price

Because renters insurance deductibles are often $500, you are going to need to determine if it is worth paying that much to file the claim. Cellphones can cost anywhere from a couple hundreds of dollars to $1,000 — so if your deductible is $500 and your cell phone costs $550, it might make more sense for you to just buy a new phone. If your phone was worth less than your deductible, it’s not going to be worth it to file a claim. Another expense to consider: filling a claim can raise your renters insurance premiums, so you should consider your premium price as well.

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When will renters insurance not cover cellphones?

There are a few different circumstances under which most renters insurance companies will not reimburse you for your cellphone.

  • You misplaced it: Your renters insurance policy will not reimburse you if you misplaced your phone or lost it.
  • You caused the damage: Most renters insurance policies will not cover self-inflicted damage. For example, you will not get reimbursed if you drop your phone on the sidewalk.
  • The cost exceeds your policy’s limits: If you have a low amount of coverage or if you have a very valuable smartphone, it will exceed most renters insurance policy limits. This means your policy will reimburse you for some of the cost, but not all.
  • It was damaged by a non-covered peril: If your cellphone is damaged by a non-covered peril, like if it stops working because of wear and tear over time, your renters insurance will not reimburse you.

Scheduling additional riders

If you have a valuable cellphone, you should consider adding additional riders or endorsements to your renters insurance policy. There are some common riders that you can add to protect your cellphone or other expensive electronics.

  • Scheduled property rider: Scheduled property riders up the amount of coverage for a specific item that is not fully covered by your policy’s limit. This will allow you to protect your more expensive items like a fancy cellphone, jewelry, or a laptop that’s worth more than your coverage limits.
  • Replacement cost riders: There are two types of renters insurance policies: actual cash value policies and replacement cost policies. Actual cost value policies will reimburse you the depreciated amount of your item, so if your item is ten years old, the amount you get reimbursed will reflect that. However, if you have an actual cost value policy you can schedule a replacement cost rider, which will pay you as if your item was new.

Can you get cellphone insurance?

Most cellphone carriers will offer cellphone insurance when you purchase your cellphone and sign up for a wireless plan. Cellphone insurance premiums typically cost around $10 to $30 a month. This insurance will usually provide you with a new phone if you misplace or break it yourself in a covered peril, whereas renters insurance will not. That being said, cellphone insurance will also require a deductible, but it is typically a lower deductible than renters insurance, around $50 to $100. It’s up to you to decide if the extra cost of cellphone insurance is worth it. If you already have renters insurance, it may not be.

How to file a renters insurance claim for a cellphone

If your cellphone is stolen you should contact the police to file a police report. If someone breaks into your apartment, you should contact the police and then your landlord. Your landlord can help you secure any unsafe areas or repair damage from the break-in. Once you file the police report, you should contact your insurance provider either over the phone, through their website, or their app if they have one.

Things you will need to file a renters insurance claim:

  • Your policy number
  • Documentation of the damage (photos, videos, etc)
  • Your police report if the incident involved a theft

If your phone was stolen along with other items, you should make sure to include that in your renters insurance claim. Once you file your claim, your renters insurance provider will assign you a claims adjuster who will begin the process of the investigation to determine if your claim is legitimate and covered by your policy.

If your loss is urgent, you should mention that to your insurance provider. Depending on the incident, it can take weeks to determine if the claim is covered. You should ask your renters insurance provider to give you a timeframe so you have a little peace of mind.

About the author

Insurance Editor

Kara McGinley

Insurance Editor

Kara McGinley is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius. She previously worked as a freelance writer and a copywriter for various startups. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, Mask Magazine, and more.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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