There are many advantages to renting your home, including not worrying about property taxes, never paying for maintenance, and not being tied down to one location for longer than a lease period. Should a disaster strike, the landlord’s property insurance will generally cover repairs to the structure, too. But the landlord’s insurance will not cover your belongings, leaving you on the hook to replace your books, clothes, electronics, and other personal items that are damaged or destroyed.
What can you do to protect yourself and your belongings? Many people know that renter’s insurance is the answer. But fewer people realize that it can provide other protections, too.
If someone is hurt in or around your home and you may be at fault, renter’s insurance can protect you financially from a lawsuit. A negligent injury lawsuit can be extremely expensive and leave you financially devastated. Your insurance will typically pay for both legal fees and any compensation paid or awarded to the injured party. Many policies typically begin with a minimum of $100,000 in liability protection, but $300,000 is a very common and recommended amount; up to $500,000 of protection can often be purchased.
If you’re a dog owner, you should know this coverage often also covers situations in which your dog bites someone, either on or off your property. Check with your insurance agent to be sure, as not every plan does cover dog bites.
Liability protection also often comes with “no-fault” medical coverage, in which the injured party may submit medical bills to the insurance company, avoiding the need for a lawsuit and saving time and money for everyone.
Personal Property Protection
One of the biggest and most well-known advantages of renter’s insurance is to compensate you financially when your belongings are damaged or destroyed due to accident or disaster. Some of the perils that covered by a standard policy may include:
- Fire or explosions
- Smoke damage
- Theft or vandalism
- Damage from vehicles, including aircraft
- Falling objects
- Sudden, accidental electrical damage
Some policies may also cover wind, storm, or hurricane damage, but this coverage is highly dependent on the region of Texas that you live in—some regions may require extra insurance to cover weather-based events, particularly along the Gulf Coast.
Floods and earthquakes are almost never covered with a standard plan, so if you live in an area prone to either, you’ll want to purchase additional coverage specifically for these events. Coverage might be available as a rider on your policy, or you may need a separate plan. Be sure to talk with your insurance agent to find out exactly what will be covered and whether you’ll want to purchase additional coverage for these kinds of natural disasters.
If the accident or disaster damaged your personal belongings, there’s a good chance that your rental may not be fit for human habitation until repairs are completed. Most renter’s insurance policies will provide money to pay for alternative arrangements until repairs have been completed. This coverage will usually pay for a hotel stay as well as meals, since you probably don’t have access to a kitchen. Be sure to discuss with your agent how many days will be covered, the maximum allowance per day, and the coverage limit per incident.
Making a Renter’s Insurance Claim
Renter’s insurance offers great protection for the price, with most plans only costing a few hundred dollars a year. But insurance companies are also notoriously tight-fisted, as they don’t make money by paying out claims. If you think that your insurance company might not be holding up their end of the bargain, hiring an attorney who is familiar with insurance law can help you get the compensation that you’re owed. After all, that’s what you’ve been paying a premium for!
Wayne Wright has years of experience battling the insurance companies on behalf of frustrated consumers, and may be able to help you. If you’d like to talk to a skilled attorney about your case, call today for a free consultation at 800-237-3334.