When it comes to renting, there are some important things you should know. For example, you don’t want to rent a place without seeing it first. That can help ensure that you don’t get scammed, and that the house or apartment is really what you’ve been told. You can also verify that the person renting to you has the legal right to rent it out. Working with a good company for property management reduces your risk, too, because you know you’re dealing with professionals and the place you’re renting is the way they’ve described it.
But what about protecting yourself after you move into your new place? For that, you need renter’s insurance. It’s not mandatory according to state law, but you’ll want to have it. Why? Because it offers you a level of financial protection you wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy. Just like having insurance as a homeowner protects your investment, having insurance as a renter protects your belongings and your finances. Here’s what you need to know, so you can decide what coverage level you need and what other options you might have to protect yourself.
Not Mandatory, But Probably Required
A reliable property management company will generally always advise that anyone renting a home or an apartment have renter’s insurance. Many management companies also require it from their tenants. In short, that means you could be required to have renter’s insurance as a part of your rental agreement. It’s perfectly legal for a property management company to require renter’s insurance from their tenants. What the management company can’t do is dictate how much coverage you’ll be required to have, especially if it’s far more than most renters of similar dwellings have.
The law in Pennsylvania states that renter’s insurance requirements have to fit what others have in the area, and/or that the insurance amount per occurrence cannot be more than $100,000, whichever is greater. So, if most rentals in the area have rental insurance for $200,000 per occurrence, the management company can ask for that. If most renter’s insurance policies in the area are for $50,000, the property management company can’t require you to have more than $100,000 in renter’s insurance.
What Does Renter’s Insurance Cover?
Unlike homeowner’s insurance, which covers the structure and the things inside of it, renter’s insurance doesn’t cover the house or apartment at all. The owner of the house or building must have property insurance to cover the structure. Renter’s insurance is strictly for the tenant and covers all their belongings. So, everything from your sofa to your clothing and dishes would be covered by your renter’s insurance policy. Even if you don’t have much, you might be surprised how quickly replacing everything will add up if you need to. A flood, fire, or other disaster could wipe away everything you own in an instant.
Rather than take the risk that you can replace things, having renter’s insurance is a responsible way to protect yourself financially. If you need to make a claim, you can get money to replace lost or damaged items. Because the policy isn’t covering the building, you can also get renter’s insurance for a fraction of the cost of a homeowner’s policy. It won’t cost you a lot, but it will provide you with a level of protection you can’t easily get otherwise. Don’t assume the landlord’s policy will cover your things, because that’s simply not the case. Protect yourself by buying a renter’s insurance policy.