Renters insurance and subletting

Everything you need to know about what happens to your renters insurance when you sublet.

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Published January 27, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Renters insurance covers your personal property and liability both on and off your property. However, most renters insurance policies are written with the assumption that you are living in your home, not a subletter

  • Long term subletters should get their own renters insurance coverage so that their belongings and liability are also protected

  • You can get renters insurance without a lease and most times that coverage will extend to family members living in your home

It’s becoming more and more common in the rental market for tenants to sublet their own rented apartments or rooms. Subleasing is a good way to save money if you’re traveling, moving, or studying somewhere else. But what happens to your renters insurance if you decide to sublet your place? You should first check with your landlord to see if you’re legally allowed to sublet your apartment — many landlord’s will outline this in your lease and some might forbid it.

Renters insurance is financial protection for you and your personal belongings. Landlords can require their tenants to purchase renters insurance, but it’s a smart investment even if it’s not a specification outlined in your lease.

Renters insurance will reimburse you for your personal property if it gets stolen, damaged, or destroyed by a covered peril. Renters insurance also includes loss-of-use coverage and personal liability coverage.

Read more about what is and is not covered by renters insurance here.

Renters insurance is one of the cheapest insurance products out there, costing on average $16 a month. When you move, it’s relatively easy to transfer your renters insurance policy over to your new address. But what if you sublet?

In this article:

Renters insurance when you sublet your home

Whether you’re moving for a new job or decide to just move to a new place, being on an existing lease can complicate the transition. This is when a sublease comes in. If you decide to sublease your apartment and you have renters insurance, you may think you should cancel the policy, but this is probably not the right move.

Short term sublet

If you’re renting out your apartment or other rental property for a short amount of time you should not cancel your renters insurance for a few reasons:

  • Your belongings are still there: Your renters insurance policy will cover your personal belongings while a subletter or subtenant is in your apartment, but it will not cover their property unless they’re added to your policy. When it comes to subletting, you should check with your insurance company to see if theft is still covered, since you are willingly allowing someone else to occupy your home.
  • You still need liability coverage: Like your personal property coverage, the personal liability provision in your renters insurance policy will cover you on or off your property, so if you cause damage to someone else's property while you're traveling, your renters insurance might reimburse you for that cost.

Long term sublet

If you’re subletting your rental property long term, you should contact your landlord about drawing up a sublease agreement or transferring the lease over to your subtenant, which would make them the primary tenant. Your subletter should also get their own renters insurance policy.

If you’re no longer on the lease, then you won’t have any responsibility for the rental and it is no longer your residence. You should then transfer your policy over to your new address.

Additionally, if you are still on your lease and plan on moving back, you can add your subtenant to your renters insurance policy, but this will raise the price of your premiums since you will be adding the total value of their personal belongings to your policy, too.

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Renters insurance when you sublet someone else’s home

If you are subletting someone else’s home for the long term, you should purchase renters insurance coverage. This will protect your stuff, like your couch or art collection that you furnish the rental with.

If you cause any damage while you are subleasing or someone gets hurt while in your sublet, your renters insurance can help pay for it. If you write up a sublease agreement, you should include a section outlining who is liable for what: the subtenant or tenant.

Since renters insurance covers you and your belongings both on and off your property, your stuff will be covered while you're traveling. So if your laptop gets stolen at the airport, your renters policy will help pay for reimbursement costs.

If you're staying somewhere short term while on vacation and don't have renters insurance, you should look into vacation rental insurance.

Renters insurance without a lease

You can get renters insurance even if you are not on a lease. Many times, renters insurance companies won’t ask to see your lease. The only information that is usually required to sign up for renters insurance is your current address, the total value of your personal property, and maybe a bank statement or utility bill to prove you are living at your current address.

Any family member of yours that is living on the rented property with you will be covered by your renters insurance policy, even if they aren’t on the lease either. Check with your renters insurance provider to see if your family members need to be added as “named insureds” on your policy.

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, 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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