Even though tenants don’t own the residences they lease, tenants still face a number of potential risks. They do own belongings that can be damaged or stolen, and they can be named in liability lawsuits. Renters insurance policies help protect Massachusetts tenants from a number of the risks they face.
Renters insurance is an extremely important form of insurance for tenants, and it’s one that’s vastly underutilized. The Insurance Information Institute reported that just 37 percent of people who lease a residence carry a renters policy -- leaving 63 percent of tenants unnecessarily without protection.
Renters policies, like any insurance policies, can offer varying coverages. Nevertheless, there are a few coverages that most renters policies make available as standard or optional protections. These coverages include:
When considering what personal property limit to select, tenants need to carefully consider how much all their belongings are worth. Many people are surprised at what the cumulative worth of their belongings ends up being, as it’s frequently in the tens of thousands. A policy’s personal property limit should be at least equal to the total value of a tenant’s covered belongings.
Furthermore, tenants also might have an option to select between replacement-cost and actual-value personal property coverage. Between the two options, replacement-cost coverage tends to offer better protection. It will typically pay the full replacement cost of covered belongings noted in a claim. In comparison, actual-value coverage normally only offers compensation for the fair-market value -- after depreciation has been considered -- of covered items.
Finally, tenants also should check whether a policy’s personal property coverage places any specific limits on certain kinds of belongings. Some policies have lower limits for high-value items like jewellery, coins, firearms and artwork. If a policy’s standard personal property coverage has a specific limit that’s lower than the value of policyholder’s belongings, the limit should be adjusted by adding coverage, getting a rider or finding another policy.
Within the insurance industry, renters policies fall under the broad category of homeowners insurance. Most kinds of homeowners insurance are given an abbreviation. “HO-4” is the abbreviation for a standard renters policy.
Most everyone in who leases a residence ought to carry a renters policy. This includes -- but is not limited to -- residents who lease their primary residence. Others who may also benefit from having a renters policy include:
(Most single-family homeowners policies cover college students who live in on-campus dorms, eliminating the need for a separate renters policy. Students and their parents, however, should confirm that their parents’ policy offers such protection.)
When comparing different policies, tenants will come across a wide array of coverage options. Policies can have very different protections, definitions, exclusions and limits. In order to select the best available policy, it’s necessary to both understand and compare these differences.
For assistance going comparing and contrasting different policies, Massachusetts tenants can contact an independent insurance agent who’s helped others with renters insurance. An independent agent can compare policies from any insurance company in the state, and an agent who knows renters policies will be able to accurately and quickly compare different policies’ protections.