If you rent a home, apartment or condo, you still need insurance. A landlord’s insurance policy typically only covers the building structure, leaving all your valuables uninsured. A renter’s insurance policy is something that you as a tenant obtains to protect your personal possessions and protect against liabilities like injuries or damages in situations where you are liable.

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

Renter’s insurance is generally not expensive. The Insurance Information Institute reports that in 2011, the average cost for renters insurance in Maryland, DC and Virginia was about $13 per month, which is slightly less than the national average. For less than $300 per year, you can get about $500,000 in coverage.

What’s Covered?

Coverage may vary, but typically includes:

  • Personal Property
  • Loss of Use
  • Personal Liability
  • Medical Payments to Others

Renter’s insurance typically covers loss or damaged caused by:

  • Fire and/or Smoke
  • Theft and/or Vandalism
  • Forces of nature: Wind, hail, lightning
  • Explosion
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice or sleet
  • Water damage from plumbing or appliance failure, fire sprinklers or other accidental discharges of water (typically does not cover flood)
  • Electrical surges

Renters insurance often protects your belongings when you’re away from home. For example, if your laptop is stolen from your car, or your bike is taken from the rack at work, your renters insurance policy may pay to replace them.

Getting Started

Before you call about a renter’s insurance quote, make an inventory of your belongings, including:

  • TVs, computers and other electronics
  • Clothes, shoes and accessories
  • Furniture
  • Firearms
  • Sports equipment
  • Musical instruments and/or equipment
  • Appliances (that do not belong to the landlord)
  • Jewelry
  • Art, antiques and other collectibles

When you talk to your insurance agent, some things you might want to discuss include:

  • Valuable items (such as jewelry, antiques or firearms)
  • Flood and/or earthquake coverage
  • Sewer backup
  • Replacement Value Coverage vs. Actual Cost Value
  • Home business
  • Emergency living expenses
  • Pets living in your rental unit
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