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The Rundown on Renters Insurance

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Sarah Wuenscher
Apr 24, 2023

As we all know from firsthand experience, life happens. Whether it’s your bike getting swiped or a burst pipe ruining the brand-new sofa you waited for on backorder for six months, the renter life comes with some unexpected inconveniences. Thankfully, prepared renters have a tool at their disposal to help with the financial repercussions of certain unsavory situations. Enter: renters insurance!


What’s renters insurance, and why do I need it?

For starters, having renters insurance is almost always required by the property manager/landlord in order for you to live in your apartment. They have their own insurance that covers the building itself and all of the legal stuff that comes with it, but renters insurance is going to be what protects you and yours. Even if it wasn’t a necessity, we highly recommend having coverage.  It’s generally pretty inexpensive, and it can help you financially recoup from a surprising number of “perils”— aka, the previously mentioned life stuff that happens.

Renters insurance covers you in three core ways:

a bedroom model with caption "personal property", an apartment building with "temporary living expenses", and paperwork with caption "personal liability and medical bills"

Disclaimer: We aren’t insurance brokers here at Smart City— all of the detailed specifics about what your policy does and doesn’t cover are going to depend on which insurance company you’re working with. We’re just here to go over the basics!

Personal Property

When disaster strikes, the costs start to add up quickly— but if you’ve got renters insurance, they’ll help shoulder the financial burden in a number of cases. As long as the inconvenient situation at hand is outlined in your policy (and you didn’t leave your key in your front door or something), your provider should be able to help soften the blow in the case of:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Water damage*
  • Fire and smoke
  • Windstorms and hurricanes*

We’re putting an asterisk on water damage and hurricanes because while windstorm damage is usually covered, naturally-occurring flooding won’t be covered under a renters insurance policy. More on that later!

Temporary Living Expenses

Your renters insurance policy will include what those in the biz call loss of use coverage. When does this kick in? Picture this: a pipe randomly bursts in your upstairs neighbor’s apartment, and you wind up wading through a foot of water to get from your bedroom to the kitchen. Along with helping to recoup damages to your personal property, your insurance can also help cover the cost of a hotel stay until your apartment is considered “livable” again. They say there’s always a silver lining, and in this hypothetical case, it’s waffles from the complimentary continental breakfast bar.

Personal Liability & Medical Bills

If you or someone who happens to be hanging out at your place gets accidentally injured, your insurance can help with the medical expenses (or legal fees) that come as a result. Your Hinge date slips and falls on their way to the bathroom and ends up in the ER? Bummer, but hey, you can impress them with your preparedness by filing a claim.


Okay, but what’s NOT covered?

Your specific provider will be able to give you the final yay or nay when it comes to coverage on a case-by-case basis. However, there are a few situations that are almost always no-go’s across the board. For example, your roomie may be able to mooch off your groceries in the fridge, but your renters insurance isn’t fair game. If it’s your roommate’s brand-new sofa that got destroyed, your coverage won’t extend to them (yes, even if you’re the one sitting on it most of the time.) Other situations that renters insurance most likely won’t cover include:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods brought on by mother nature
  • Stolen cars
  • Damage from pests
  • Undocumented items
  • Dog bites from aggressive breeds


Lemonade Renters Insurance

Now that you’ve read up on renters insurance, it’s time to shop for a plan that works for you! We always recommend Lemonade to our clients— the rates are great (some clients manage to pay as low as $5/mo), and their platform is super easy to use.

Be a prepared renter!
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