We use our favorite tech all the time—from TVs and computers to video game consoles and tablets. These are expensive electronics, and if you’re a renter, you’ve probably wondered, “what happens if someone breaks into my apartment?” Or, “does renters insurance cover electronics and other valuable items?” These are good questions, and the answer depends. We’ll walk you through the basics.
Here at Asurion, we teach millions of people about their tech—from what renters want from smart home tech to how to automate your rental property. Here's everything you need to know about what renters insurance does—and doesn’t—cover when it comes to your electronics.
What types of electronics does renters insurance cover?
Renters insurance can cover all sorts of electronics, including video game consoles, TVs, and computers. That means that your policy may help pay to repair or replace your tech in certain situations, like if they’re stolen or damaged by a fire. In insurance speak, these scenarios are referred to as covered perils.
To see the full list of electronics covered under your plan, contact your renters insurance company.
What electronics aren't covered by renters insurance?
Again, it’s less about the types of electronics than about the situation. While renters insurance covers many electronics, there are cases in which your policy won’t apply.
One example is property and electronics owned by a business. If you use a company-owned work laptop at home, and if that computer gets damaged or stolen in your rental, it may not be covered by your policy. Instead, it may be up to your employer to replace it.
Similarly, if your property manager owns your appliances, like your refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher, renters insurance may not cover those items. If you live with a roommate, your policy may not cover their tech, either.
When are my electronics covered by renters insurance?
Here are a few common scenarios in which your electronics may be covered by renters insurance.
Fire and smoke damage
If fire or smoke in your rental damages your electronics, a standard renters insurance policy may help cover the cost of replacing those devices. Check with your provider to be sure.
Vandalism and theft
If your electronics are damaged or stolen due to theft, a typical renters insurance policy may cover the cost of replacing them. This part of your policy—called personal property coverage—typically protects tech stolen during a break-in at your rental and can even cover items stolen elsewhere.
If someone steals your gaming system from your car or nabs your tablet while you’re on vacation, the personal property coverage in your renters policy may help you pay for a replacement. But your policy may have restrictions to vandalism claims, so reach out to your insurance agent to find out exactly how your plan works.
When are my electronics not covered by renters insurance?
While fire, smoke damage, vandalism, and theft are generally covered by renters insurance, there are other events that might not be, including negligence, maintenance issues, earthquakes, floods, and damage due to rodents, bugs, and other pests.
How much coverage does renters insurance offer?
Your renters insurance coverage depends on the personal property coverage limit in your policy. That’s the maximum amount your renters insurance will reimburse you for a loss. But first, you need to meet your deductible, which means paying a set amount towards a repair or replacement before your insurer helps pay for anything. Typically, the lower your premium, the higher your deductible will be. Once you’ve reached your deductible, your renters insurance helps pay for an item up to a limit, or maximum.
If you own something that's worth more than your policy’s limits, you may be able to add on to your policy to boost your coverage. You can also add coverage for perils that aren't automatically included, like certain natural disasters.
Does renters insurance cover TV damage?
If your TV stops working due to normal wear and tear or if you drop it during a move, you may not be able to start a claim to replace it through renters insurance. But if a fire breaks out in the kitchen of your rental unit, ruining the TV, a standard renters insurance policy may help you cover the cost of fixing or replacing it (up to your plan’s limit).
Similarly, if your TV falls off the wall due to a thief knocking it over during a robbery, your rental insurance may cover the damage. But it won’t if your TV falls because you made a mistake installing the wall mount, you’re probably not covered.
One quick tip: Add equipment breakdown coverage to your renters insurance policy to help cover costs if something you own is damaged by an electrical or mechanical breakdown.
Does renters insurance cover computer damage?
It depends. If your computer is stolen from inside your rental apartment or it’s damaged by a fire, your renters insurance may kick in to help pay for a repair or replacement.
But if your laptop breaks due to an accident or normal wear and tear, your renters insurance likely won’t cover the damage. Case in point: if your laptop falls off the kitchen counter and the screen cracks or if the battery just stops working, you’ll probably have to pay for the repair. The same goes for lost or misplaced tech.
You can, of course, buy extra coverage that includes accidental damage from handling.
Does renters insurance cover electrical damage?
Once again, it depends. You may be covered if a power surge causes electrical damage to your rental (once you’ve met your deductible). But damage you caused by dropping your laptop and breaking the screen or chucking your video game controller at your TV, won’t be covered.
Does renters insurance cover lightning damage to electronics?
It may. If lightning strikes your house or building, it can send a high voltage surge to your electronics. If your gaming console stops working or experiences glitches, you may be covered as long as you’re plan includes this peril and you’ve met the policy’s deductible.
During a serious lightning storm, we recommend you unplug electrical devices in case there’s a surge, starting with landline phones, computers, and any other high-value devices. If you leave an electrical device plugged in, don’t touch it during the storm. Avoid standing on concrete floors and touching concrete surfaces, too, as electricity can travel through the metal wiring inside them.
Are electronics protection plans worth it?
Another good question. We’ve got you covered. To learn more, check out our guide to are electronics protection plans worth it.