What is Renters Insurance and Why Do I Need It?

woman in apartment unpacking moving boxes

If you’re looking to rent an apartment, make sure looking into renters insurance is at the top of your list. Yes, your landlord has an insurance policy, but more often than not, that policy won’t cover your belongings should there be a theft or fire. Here are six things to consider when you’re ready to purchase a renters policy:

1. Estimate how much your stuff is worth.
“There is value to everything when it comes to renters insurance,” says Dave Freeman, vice president and regional officer, Personal Lines Underwriting, at ERIE. “Most people underestimate the value of their contents, but once they itemize them, they realize there’s a dramatic difference from what they initially thought.”

2. Decide between actual cash value and replacement cost.
Actual cash value takes depreciation into account when calculating the worth of your belongings. So if you bought a brand new laptop for $1,000 five years ago, you’ll only be reimbursed for what the laptop is worth in today’s dollars minus depreciation. Say it’s only worth $500 today, then that’s all you’d get.

Replacement cost is a better option: It reimburses you for the original value of the item (or one of similar kind and quality at today’s replacement cost if the item is no longer available) and costs only slightly more than actual cash value.

3. Consider earthquakes and other disasters.
Depending on where you live, your ERIE agent can tell you more about adding these extra coverages to your renters insurance policy.

4. Choose a deductible.
Think about it this way by asking yourself these questions: “How much premium savings do I want from picking a higher deductible? How much could I afford to pay out of pocket should I experience a loss?” This will help you determine what deductible is right for you.

5. Think about extra protection for any valuables.
ERIE offers $3,000 worth of coverage for any one item that’s stolen. If you own pricey items like jewelry, art, furs or silverware, you’ll probably want to add an endorsement to your renters insurance policy to make sure they’re fully covered.

6. Pick a liability limit
“Think about all the ways you could accidentally hurt someone,” says Freeman, “and you’ll see there are many.” If your dog bites another animal or person, you’ll be held responsible, for example. That kind of lawsuit can get pretty costly if the injured person has any long-lasting physical scars or impairments. (If you’re concerned about having enough liability protection, consider an umbrella policy that offers an extra $1 to $5 million in coverage.)

Finally, remember that no matter where or what you’re renting, your ERIE Agent is always there to help you get the right coverage at the right price. In the meantime, check out the renters insurance page to help get the conversation started with your agent.

What’s even better? Purchasing both a renters and an auto policy can qualify you for a multi-policy discount. In some cases, the discount actually pays for the renters policy.*

*Discounts subject to eligibility criteria and rates and rules in effect at the time of purchase.  For additional information visit erieinsurance.com or your local ERIE Agent. Individual policies may differ.

Here are six things to discuss with your agent when it comes to renters insurance. /blog/six-things-consider-buying-renters-insurance Erie Insurance