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Can Landlords Require Renters Insurance?

Updated July 3, 2020 . AmFam Team

Why does your landlord want you to have renters insurance? It benefits you more than you think! Learn about the benefits of renters insurance — with American Family.

You’re out apartment hunting and finally find the one that has everything you’ve been looking for — and the landlord says it’s all yours! But in order to secure the lease, your landlord requires you to buy a renters insurance policy. Can landlords really do this?

The short answer: yes, they can. Landlords can mandate renters coverage because it helps to prevent disputes if a tenant’s personal property is damaged in the rental unit or on rental grounds. And it helps shield landlords from liability claims as well. But most importantly, renters insurance helps protect your savings — even if your landlord doesn’t make you buy a policy.

Let’s take a close look at all the ways renters insurance coverage can help protect you from expensive problems.

How Does Renters Insurance Benefit the Tenant?

Since the insurance your landlord carries only covers their property and not yours, you’ll want a way to make sure your things are protected. That’s where renters insurance steps in. Renters insurance offers you a lot of protection in several key ways:

Personal property coverage

You’ve worked hard for the things in your home that make it uniquely yours. If your rental is broken into you could lose a lot — from expensive electronics to high-priced jewelry. Under a covered event, your renters insurance will help pay for the replacement or repair of your valuables like:

  • Bicycles
  • Televisions and smart TV systems
  • Computers
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry

If your belongings are damaged by fire, smoke, storms or theft, you’ll be protected. Here’s even better news: your belongings are protected wherever you go. Find out more about renters insurance coverage that follows you.

Liability coverage

Say you’ve just mopped the floor and your friend slips and falls, breaking their arm. Your landlord wouldn’t be responsible for this, so you’d need renters insurance to help you out. You can be covered up to your policy limit under a covered loss if you’re found legally liable for:

  • Bodily injury lawsuits
  • Property damage done to the rental property
  • Medical expenses when others are injured due to your negligence

Loss of use protection

If something were to happen to your building, like a fire or storm damage, and you have to find temporary living arrangements, your landlord won’t foot the bill. Under a covered loss, your renters policy can cover:

  • The replacement of destroyed personal property
  • Additional living expenses, like a hotel
  • Other qualifying expenses while you’re temporarily displaced

Why Do Landlords Require Renters Insurance?

Though there’s no law forcing tenants to get renters insurance, your landlord may require you to be covered through a clause in your lease. If you sign a lease that requires you to have renters insurance, then you are required to get it.

Landlords make you pick up a renters insurance policy to reduce the financial risk tenants can pose to their rental property. These kinds of things include:

  • The restoration and replacement of rental property you’ve broken or destroyed
  • If someone’s injured in your rental, your coverage can shield landlords from liability claims
  • When rental agreements require renters insurance, landlords may be more likely to allow dogs
  • By requiring rental coverage, landlords can better control their property insurance premiums

Actions you need to take when renters insurance is required

If your landlord has mandated that you get renters coverage, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Get a quote for renters coverage
  • Purchase a renters insurance policy
  • Verify that your renters policy will be active across the start and stop dates in your lease
  • Email or supply a hard copy of your policy to your landlord

Actions your landlord can take if you don’t get renters coverage

If you’re given a few weeks to pick up renters insurance and don’t do so, your landlord may follow provisions outlined in your lease which could include:

  • A fine
  • An eviction warning
  • Eviction

Before signing any lease, be sure to read through it and ask your landlord questions about renters insurance.

The Reasons Why Landlords Require Renters Insurance

A landlord typically requires renters insurance for legal protection. Landlords require renters insurance of their tenants to avoid liability lawsuits. Because most rental insurance includes liability coverage, if someone’s injured in your rental, your renters coverage will help protect the landlord from being sued.

Additionally, if you damage the property in the rental, your renters coverage can help you pay for the costs of returning the rental to its previous condition. For example, suppose you accidentally leave your water on in the bathtub and it overflows. Water then leaks down into your neighbor's unit and ruins their personal property. Your landlord can hold you liable for those damages.

And the landlord may also need you to pay for damages to the floor and drywall in the affected rental units. Whether damage was done to the neighbor’s personal property or the landlords rental property, you’ll be responsible to pay for the damages. Your coverage ensures funds are available for landlords if the unexpected happens.

Renters insurance benefits both you and the landlord because it can save you both from paying the full costs that result from certain covered losses.

Does my landlord’s insurance cover my rental anyway?

You might think that the landlord’s insurance will cover your personal property in the event of theft or other damages, but that’s not true. Your landlord’s insurance only covers their building and any structural damage to their own property — they aren’t responsible for any of your belongings.

Find out more about why landlords may require tenants to get renters insurance.

How Much Is Renters Insurance?

For the cost of one dinner out per month, you can typically get renters insurance that offers the coverage today’s landlords require. But the actual cost of your renters insurance depends on the coverage you choose. Your agent will build a policy and a quote based on:

  • The value of the items you store in your rental unit
  • Your ZIP code
  • Other optional coverages you opt for like identity theft protection, pet insurance, travel insurance or home business coverage

Connect with an American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) to talk about your renters insurance options — you’ll gain peace of mind that you’re protecting all the things that make your home uniquely yours.

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