The top 5 things to be sure that your renters insurance covers


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Written by
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UPDATED: 2020-02-25T22:00:09.541Z
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If you’re looking to rent, you probably know that you should look into renters insurance. In fact, your landlord might even require you to have proof of renters insurance when you sign your lease.

We say it often here at Clearsurance and we’ll say it again: it’s important to know what’s covered in your renters insurance policy. The last thing you want to find out after a loss is that your insurance policy doesn’t cover whatever was damaged, destroyed, or stolen.

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While renters insurance covers your belongings from damage or theft and covers you from legal liability for injuries that could occur in your rented space, there are exceptions. Most of those exceptions have to do with high-cost or hard to replace items. These are the very things that would be either expensive or difficult to replace in the event of a loss. It’s very important to understand what’s included, what isn’t covered, what your coverage limits are, and how you can go about insuring the things that aren’t covered by your policy (through other coverage).

So, what are the top things you need to make sure that your renters insurance covers? Here are some examples of things that are usually not covered by a basic renters insurance policy.

Insurance Category 1: Jewelry

This can be a little bit confusing, because your renters insurance policy may provide coverage for jewelry, but you need to read the fine print. There’s usually a limit to the value and some renters insurance policies will only cover the loss if the jewelry is stolen, rather than damaged or destroyed in another covered peril (such as a fire).

Standard renters insurance coverage limits for jewelry can be as low as $1,000. This might sound like a considerable amount, but that coverage can reach its limit surprisingly quickly. Add up the approximate cost of what you already own and you could discover that your jewelry is worth more than you expected and more than your coverage provides. This means that if someone breaks into your apartment and steals all of your jewelry, you’ll only be covered up to the limit set in your policy.

Even more devastating would be to lose everything in a fire only to then learn that jewelry is covered only if it’s stolen. Check your policy to be sure that you understand what coverage exceptions exist in your policy.

If you need additional jewelry coverage for your renters insurance, you may be able to purchase a rider, also called a floater or an endorsement. This would give you the additional insurance coverage that you need for your jewelry.

Insurance Category 2: Engagement Rings

As noted in the jewelry discussion above, limits to coverage for jewelry can be quite low. Given that the average cost of an engagement ring in 2019 was $5,900, according to a study by The Knot, a standard renters policy isn’t going to cover most engagement rings.

If you’ve just gotten engaged, be sure to look into getting an insurance rider (also sometimes called a valuable personal property rider) that will cover your engagement ring. Another benefit to a rider, beyond it covering the cost of replacing your ring, is that some riders will cover losses other than theft. This can be important if you have a prong-style engagement ring and accidentally lose the stone out of its setting.

Get a grading report from an independent laboratory for diamond center stones. You might also want to consider having the ring appraised by a certified gemologist, especially if the ring cost more than $5,000. Having a grading report and an accurate appraisal will assist you in getting the right amount of coverage on the rider. It will also help if you ever need to make a claim for your ring.

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Insurance Category 3: Electronics

Similar to the jewelry examples listed above, electronics are covered under a basic renters policy, but only up to certain limits. High-valued laptops and electronics may exceed your coverage limits.

Check the coverage limits listed in the policy. While a laptop is usually covered, if you have a high-powered gaming laptop, the coverage limits in your basic policy may not be enough to cover replacement in the event of a loss.

Again, you should look into additional coverage through a rider. It will add additional cost to your policy, but it’s worth the peace of mind knowing that your computer and other pricey electronics and equipment are protected.

Insurance Category 4: Collectibles

Whether it is coins, stamps, or Hummel figurines, if you’re a collector of anything, it’s important to find out if your renters insurance will cover your collection if it’s lost in a covered peril. The value of the collection is the biggest factor in determining if the collection is covered by your standard policy.

The greater the value, the less likely it is that your collection will be covered under a standard renters policy. Similar to other categories, you may be able to purchase an additional coverage rider for any valuable collectibles that exceed your renters insurance coverage limits.

Insurance Category 5: Antiques

By now, hopefully you’ve detected a pattern: whether or not a piece is covered by your standard renters policy depends a lot on its value. Anything that’s rare or difficult to replace increases its cost will likely place it outside of the coverage limits of your standard renters insurance policy.

If you own antiques, art, or family heirlooms that would be hard to replace, consider having those items appraised by a qualified dealer and insure them separately through the purchase of additional riders. This will increase your renters insurance premium cost, but that’s not a good reason to forego extra coverage. A good benchmark question to ask yourself if you’re concerned about the additional cost is: “How upset would I be if this item was destroyed in a fire?”

Fires, tornadoes, and electric storms do happen. Thefts happen. A basic renters insurance policy is a good first step in making certain that you’ll be able to replace your belongings if something were to happen to them. However, keep in mind that if you own any items of higher value, it’s very important that you understand the coverage limits and exclusions in your policy. You can investigate the additional coverage you might need to protect against loss for those items as well.

Whether you’re looking to buy renters insurance for the first time or you want to see if you can get a better price from a different company, Clearsurance has resources available to help you. Check out the renters insurance rankings page to see which renters insurance companies consumers say are the best in your zip code.

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