What does renters insurance cover?

As a renter, you may feel like you’re off the hook for problems that crop up in your home; your landlord owns the place, so it’s on them to replace a broken hot water heater, or fix a leaky roof, right? The reality is, it’s not so simple.

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Sure, your landlord may have to handle home-related repairs, but incidents that occur at your place are still very much your problem.

Why? Let’s say a pipe bursts in your living room, soaking everything from your sofa to your TV. Your landlord is responsible for fixing the pipe and repairing any damage to the ceiling or walls, but they’re not going to replace your waterlogged flat screen—that’s on you.

And that’s where renters insurance comes in. It protects you and your belongings from a range of situations, called “covered perils.” The most common covered perils include fires, burst pipes, and windstorms, but your renters insurance will also have your back if your things are stolen, if a guest is injured at your place, or if you accidentally cause damage to your home.

Most people don’t realize just how much protection renters insurance offers (and question whether it’s something they really should have), but when you’re in the know, it’s clear that renters insurance is worth it.

What does renters insurance cover?

Most renters insurance includes four basic types of coverage:

  1. Contents coverage. This is protection for your belongings, also known as the “contents” of your home or apartment. You may not think you own much, but if you’re unlucky enough to suffer damage in a fire or other incident, the costs can really add up. Imagine paying to replace your clothes, your electronics, your furniture, and your dishes—all at once. For most people, those bills would add up to at least $20,000. If you have an adequate amount of renters insurance, your insurance company will cover it. If not, you’ll be paying out of pocket.
  2. Loss of use. Loss of use coverage is protection that kicks in when a covered peril, like a fire or burst pipe, renders your place uninhabitable. Your renters insurance will put you up in temporary accommodations while your place is undergoing repairs, and may even pay for some reasonable additional living expenses, like all the take-out you’ll be eating while you’re without a kitchen. Note that loss of use only applies in certain situations. If your heat goes out for a few days, or a tree branch nicks a small hole in your roof, your place will likely still be considered habitable, and you’ll have to tough it out until those issues are resolved.
  3. Liability. This is protection for those times when you’re the one who caused the damage. If you accidentally start a fire, or your bathtub overflows into your downstairs neighbor’s apartment, the liability portion of your renters insurance may cover payments to your landlord, your neighbor, and anyone else who incurred damage. Your legal fees may even be covered if you’re unlucky enough to be taken to court. Learn more about the answer to the question, Does renters insurance cover personal injury?
  4. Medical payments to others. This protection can cover medical expenses in the event that a guest is accidentally injured at your place.

Is anything else covered?

It depends on your insurance company. With Jetty, you have the option to purchase additional coverages, called Power-Ups. These bonus coverages (often called “endorsements” by other companies) include the Portable Electronics Power-Up, which protects your devices from loss, water damage, and shattered screens, and the Personal Valuables Power-Up, which covers big-ticket items, like expensive sporting equipment or engagement rings. We also offer a Bedbug Power-Up and Airbnb Host Theft Protection.

What’s not covered?

There are a few things that renters insurance doesn’t cover—one of which is flood damage. Flood damage is not covered by most traditional insurance policies, but there are exceptions. Learn more about renters insurance and flood damage.

How much is renters insurance?

But how much is renters insurance? The good news is that even with all of the coverage we’ve talked about here, renters insurance plans don’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, the average cost of renters insurance can be as low as $9 per month, depending on the state you live in.