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Renters Insurance Checklist
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How to Shop for Renters Insurance

Whether it’s an apartment, condo or other type of rental property, your things are what make it home. That’s why protecting the things that make your place yours is so important. Having renters insurance with American Family Insurance guarantees that in the event of a covered unexpected loss — like theft or damage from a fire — your valuables will be protected.

Looking for a quick guide on buying renters insurance? We can help you prepare so when it comes time to build a policy with your agent, you’re in the know and confident that you’re getting the right level of coverage for your rental.

No matter what type of property you’re renting, getting you back on your feet is what we’re here for.

Renters Insurance Checklist

  1. Your policy is built specifically to your rental situation, so it’s important you know the contents of your home to get the most accurate coverage. A good rule of thumb when shopping for renters insurance is to buy enough coverage to replace your possessions if they’re stolen or destroyed. The below information is used to determine an appropriate amount of protection you’ll need, as well as how much you’ll pay for it.

    When shopping for renters insurance, having this information at your fingertips will help you save time when you meet with us — we’ll use this info to help design a policy that matches your needs: 

    • How many people live in your house full-time: 
    • What is the approximate value of your belongings: 
    • Does your landlord require liability protection:
  2. Renters insurance is a term for a package of coverages that can be broken down into a few categories. Below, we’ll describe the most common coverages renters want when they’re selecting their insurance plan.

    Coverage C: Personal Property Covers your personal belongings, including furniture, clothing and electronics, if they're stolen, damaged or destroyed.

    Quite simply, personal property coverage provides protection for your belongings. Your personal property coverage comes with limits — and understanding those limits will help you determine what coverage you’ll need.

    For example, if your apartment’s contents are valued at $13,000, you would want to have a personal property coverage limit of at least $13,000.

    Coverage D: Loss of Use (Additional Living Expense) Pays for additional living expenses if your rental is uninhabitable due to a covered loss.

    If your rental is damaged, or your apartment is broken into, you may need to temporarily relocate. In order to maintain your same standard of living, loss of use coverage helps pay for things like a hotel, food, transportation and other costs of living while repairs are being made.

    Coverage E: Personal Liability Protects you against financial loss if you're legally responsible for someone else’s injury or property damage.

    Personal liability on your renters policy protects you against lawsuits by others alleging bodily injury or property damage.

    Your landlord may require this coverage for your rental. Even if they don’t, however, it’s a good idea to keep yourself protected.

    Coverage F: Medical Expense Covers medical payments to others for injuries caused by you, regardless of your legal responsibility.

    For example, if your dog gets too excited or plays too rough and causes a cut to your neighbor that needs stitches, your coverage can take care of the medical expenses.

    Additional Consideration for Renters Insurance

    It’s important to know that there are limits for liability coverage on your standard policy and you’re covered up to a certain amount. What if expenses go above your primary policy limits? You’d be responsible for paying the remaining costs out of pocket! That’s why having personal umbrella liability insurance is such a good idea — it’s an added layer of coverage over many types of your policies, including renters and auto.

    Take a look at our renters insurance overview page to learn more about your coverage options with American Family Insurance.

  3. Renters insurance policies offer coverage for your belongings up to the limits you pick. So before deciding how much personal property coverage you’ll need, it’s helpful to create a home inventory, which is a complete listing of items in your apartment or rental.

    This way you’ll have the right amount of personal property coverage.

    When you have a home inventory checklist, you know exactly what needs to be replaced in the event of a loss and it helps you provide a more accurate estimate of what your total possessions are worth.

  4. So how much does renters insurance cost? In short, it depends. Each rental situation is unique, and there are a number of factors that influence the cost of your renters insurance. Here are a few things to look for when comparing renters premiums:

    What coverages do you have? Your standard renters policy is equipped with property and liability coverage. But a great thing about renters insurance is that you can customize your policy with optional coverages to match your needs. Additional coverage might mean a little higher premium, but the price you pay for protection is worth the cost considering what you might have to pay out of your own pocket if the unexpected happens.

    How much are your possessions worth? Your personal property also plays a role in the cost of your renters insurance because you’ll want enough coverage to replace everything if your rental is damaged, destroyed or burglarized. High-value items, like jewelry, art and collectibles, have limited coverage, so you have the option to increase those coverage limits and make sure you aren’t underinsured.

    Your personal claims history. A renter who has fewer claims will pay less for insurance than those who have more claims. It’s about your level of risk, and statistics show that people who have had claims in the past are more likely to have claims in the future.

    Do you have pets? We love pets! Your renters insurance policy provides some financial protection against liability claims and lawsuits brought by others for accidental bodily injury or damage to their property done by a pet. Your renters insurance premium may be affected by the type and number of pets you have.

    Understanding how your renters insurance premium is calculated is important as you begin shopping for and comparing rates for your insurance. Check out our renters insurance calculator where you can easily add up how much your belongings are worth and get an estimate for how much it’d cost to cover it all with renters insurance.

  5. Now that you’ve assembled the essential information needed for a renters insurance quote, it’s time to officially get covered! Set up time to meet with an insurance agent — they’ll use their expertise to help you build a customized policy with coverages unique to your needs.

    Tips for Meeting With Your Insurance Agent

    Ask about discounts. Looking for ways to save money on your renters insurance policy? You probably qualify for a number of renters discounts. Make sure to ask your agent about all the ways you’re eligible to save!

    Know what kind of deductible you want. A deductible is an agreed cost you would pay before your insurance kicked in to cover the rest. For example, if your deductible is $500 and you made a claim for $3,000 in damages, you would pay $500 before American Family Insurance covered the remaining $2,500.

    American Family also provides our customers with options to control how much they pay. For example, Diminishing Deductible for renters allows you to pay less each year you go without a claim, for a maximum of $500 off your deductible whenever you may need to use it.  

    Ask questions. You want to be confident that your coverage is protecting you and your apartment — don’t be afraid to ask your agent questions. If you’re not sure what something means or if you don’t understand parts of your policy, your agent is the perfect person to ask. To help you out, we’ve put together some great questions to ask your agent.

    Final Considerations to Look for When Shopping for Renters Insurance

    Here are some questions you’ll want answers to when looking to purchase rental insurance:

    Do you have valuables such as expensive jewelry, televisions, computers, furniture, etc.? If so, be sure to make note and ask your agent about extra coverage that may be needed.

    Do you want replacement cost coverage for your personal property? If your laptop or television, for example, are claimed as a result of a covered loss, replacement cost coverage will pay for new items with comparable features and functionality.

    Is your liability insurance enough to protect you financially? Make sure to take a good look at the liability coverage limit on your policy. Since liability insurance helps cover you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you, a household family member or a pet cause, you may want a higher amount than what’s on your policy today.

    You may want to consider an umbrella policy for an additional layer of protection. An umbrella policy is a separate insurance product that protects you financially in the event of a lawsuit or claim that threatens to exceed your policy coverage limits. If your policy has liability coverage up to $150,000 and you’re sued for $175,000, an umbrella policy can help to protect your savings and other assets from the $25,000 discrepancy.

    Speak to a Renters Insurance Agent Today

    As your dreams change and evolve, it’s important you’ve got the protection you need. At American Family, we want you to be confident and in control of your renters coverage — that’s why we recommend reaching out to an American Family Insurance agent to learn about customizing your renters coverages to match your unique needs.