But renters insurance also protects when you’re liable for harm experienced by other people, like guests, people around the home, or even people away from home.
If you have renters insurance coverage, your insurer will pay you to replace your belongings if they’re destroyed in a covered peril or stolen. You’ll also be covered if the peril was so bad that it forced you to relocate to temporary accommodations.
But renters insurance also protects when you’re liable for harm experienced by other people, like guests in your home, people around the home, or even people away from home. If someone in your home gets injured or otherwise suffers in some way for which you are liable, your renters insurance coverage has a provision that pays all or part of what you owe to the injured person. This is your renters liability insurance, and it has two components: personal liability coverage and medical payments to others coverage.
As with other coverages in renters insurance, the amount of liability protection you have is contingent on how much you purchase when you first take out the policy. That amount will be listed along with personal property coverage and loss-of-use coverage on the policy declarations page. The more protection you need, the higher your premiums will be.
However, liabilities can reach into the tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars, so make sure you purchase enough so you’re not stuck paying these expensive costs out of pocket. Once you’ve reached the maximum amount – the limit of liability, with “liability” meaning the insurer’s obligation to you – you’ll have to pay the rest.
Read on to learn more about renters liability insurance:
Personal liability coverage pays for damages someone suffers for which you’re liable, even away from home. Damages doesn’t necessarily mean injuries; it comprises both bodily injury and property damage, similar to liability coverage under car insurance. When you’re liable to pay for these damages, the insurer will pay up to the maximum amount of coverage you purchased.
Additionally, the insurer will provide legal defense against the lawsuit, although it’s only obligated to fight for a settlement or judgment amount no greater than your renters insurance coverage. The insurer’s counsel will investigate the injured party’s claim at the insurer’s expense.
Property damage liability is usually featured in a different section of your renters insurance policy than that of bodily injury. That section is called something like “damage to property of others” and includes the limit of liability (usually $500 or $1,000) for a single occurrence of damage. Some common exclusions to your renters liability insurance are:
While most renters insurance policies largely have similar or even identical terms for liability coverage, Policygenius can work with you to find a policy that fits your particular needs, and it all starts with comparing renters insurance quotes online.
Medical payments to others (MPTO) coverage reimburses you when someone suffers a bodily injury in your home and you have to pay his or her medical bills, including people employed by you in your home who aren’t insured by your policy.
This coverage also applies when the bodily injury is suffered away from the home, if your actions or those of your in-house employees or pets are responsible. If a condition on your home itself, like a structural collapse, injures somebody nearby, an MPTO payment may also be made to that person.
Whether an injury is eligible for reimbursement from MPTO coverage depends on if it’s consider a reasonable expense. Renters insurance companies usually list the following as reasonable medical expenses for this purpose:
You’ll only be responsible for such expenses after the injured party’s health insurance pays for its own obligations, so make sure you get the final bill before filing an MPTO claim. Most renters insurance policies also cover first aid expenses for other people, although not for anyone insured by the policy.
Liability takes many forms. Beyond being liable for people getting hurt in your home, around your home, or away from your home, you’ll occasionally incur other expenses related to filing renters insurance claims for which the carrier may actually reimburse you.
Some of these additional coverages are:
Zack Sigel is a SEO managing editor at Policygenius. He covers personal finance, comprising mortgages, investing, deposit accounts, and more. His previous work included writing about film and music.
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.