Sometimes, the unexpected happens: A storm knocks a tree into your living room, or a fire in the apartment next door damages your patio and kitchen. That’s where a renters insurance policy comes in. It protects your belongings from some unfortunate situations.
But what exactly does renters insurance cover and not cover? The answers depend on a number of factors. We’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Here at Asurion, we don’t just fix and protect your tech, we teach millions of people how to get the most out of their connected devices—from how to automate your rental property to what renters want from smart home tech.
Here’s everything you need to know about renters insurance, what it covers, and what it doesn’t—especially when it comes to your tech and appliances.
What is rental insurance?
Whether you have renters insurance for your apartment, it’s all about peace of mind when the unexpected happens. It helps keep your personal belongings and finances safe and secure in your rental home or apartment. While it doesn’t cover property damage to the building itself —that’s your landlord’s responsibility—it usually protects your possessions from damage, theft, or loss. It also may give you personal liability coverage, like if someone is injured in your home, and may even help cover extra expenses if you’re displaced from your rental home or apartment.
What is HO4 insurance?
An HO4 policy is another term for renters insurance. The benefits of renters insurance and an H04 insurance policy are exactly the same—as are the things they cover and don't.
What does renters insurance cover?
Like homeowners insurance, rental home insurance may cover the cost of fixing or replacing your personal belongings—including appliances, electronics, furniture, jewelry, and clothing—if they’re damaged in certain situations, like fire, theft, and burst pipes. In insurance speak, these scenarios are called “covered perils.” If a thief breaks into your home and steals your twins’ tablets (or any new gadgets), HO4 insurance may help cover that cost, as long as the value of what’s stolen is more than your deductible.
Your policy may also cover legal expenses or medical bills if someone is injured in your rental unit and you’re found to be at fault. This is the personal liability part of renters insurance coverage. Renters insurance also typically covers your living expenses if your home is uninhabitable. So if your rental was damaged in a fire, your policy will usually help pay for hotels, meals, pet boarding, and storage fees while your place is being fixed.
To understand your policy limits and to see the full list of items covered under your plan—from tech gadgets to smart home appliances—contact your renters insurance company or renters insurance agent.
Does renters insurance cover appliances?
Renters insurance or HO4 renters insurance generally covers appliances when they’re damaged by fire, water damage, theft, and vandalism. This coverage typically extends to major home appliances, including stoves, washers, dryers, and refrigerators. Some policies may also cover:
- Television sets.
- Video game consoles.
- Computers and laptops.
- Small cooking appliances.
- Coffee makers and espresso machines.
- Fans and portable heaters.
- Air-conditioning units.
Your coverage will depend on the circumstances, so make sure you understand your plan. To learn more, check out our guide to renters insurance and appliances.
Does renters insurance cover electronics?
Many of your favorite gadgets may be covered by renters insurance—again, as long as they’re stolen, damaged in a fire, or ruined by another covered peril. Check with your renters insurance company to see the full list of electronics covered under your plan, but it likely includes:
- Video game consoles.
- Other home automation devices.
To learn more, check out our guide to everything you need to know about renters insurance and electronics.
What does renters insurance not cover?
Understanding what does renters insurance cover and not cover is all about the situation. Damage from sinkholes, bedbugs, and other pests aren’t covered by a typical renters insurance policy. If your car is stolen or damaged, a standard renters insurance policy won’t usually help with those costs either.
Here are some more common things that aren’t covered.
Normal wear and tear
Wear and tear, negligence, and misuse aren’t usually covered by renters insurance. So if the cool tech gadgets you got for your birthday a few years ago—an Apple Watch® or an Oculus® VR headset—start to malfunction after years of neglect or due to accidental damage, you’ll likely need to pay to repair or replace them.
A standard rental insurance policy will likely cover jewelry, collectibles, and other high-end items, but only up to a certain limit, typically $1,000 to $2,000. For expensive items like engagement rings and artwork, contact your insurance company to find out about additional coverage. This process will likely involve an appraisal.
Your roommate’s property
Renters insurance with roommates isn’t a given. The property and casualty insurance protection that you receive as the policyholder doesn’t usually extend to your roommates. So if a burglar breaks into your apartment and steals your gaming console and your roommate’s computer and TV, only your gaming console would likely be covered by your standard policy. Your roommate would probably need their own renters insurance to protect their belongings.
Flood and earthquake coverage
Standard renters insurance will likely only cover situations listed in your policy, like fire, theft, and vandalism. Natural disasters, like floods and earthquakes, are generally excluded, though you may be able to add extra protection for an additional cost. How much depends on several factors, including where you live. If you live in a high-risk area where flood insurance isn’t available, you may want to look into buying it through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
Is renters insurance required?
Yes, some landlords require that you buy renters insurance before moving in, so that your personal belongings and finances are protected—and you don’t end up in a dispute following damage from an unexpected event.
Even if you’re not required to get a policy, investing in one can bring peace of mind and financial help in times of need.
How much does renters insurance cost?
The cost of renters insurance depends on many factors, including your location, the type of home or apartment you live in, and your insurance score. According to Nerd Wallet, a personal finance company, the average renters insurance cost in the U.S. is $148 a year, or about $12 a month.
Still wondering, “do I need renters insurance?” Not clear on questions like “ what is renters insurance good for?” Contact your insurance provider for details about the right policy for you.