If you’re a renter, there are many things your landlord is responsible for. Say there's a fire in your building: Your landlord’s insurance coverage will pay to repair the structure. But you are responsible for your belongings inside the building. A renters insurance policy can replace property that’s damaged—or stolen, for that matter—within the limits of your specific policy. And if your apartment or rental home gets so damaged that you need to vacate and your loss is covered, some renters insurance policies will even pay your temporary living expenses so you don’t end up couch surfing.
Property damage coverage limits
Take a full inventory of everything in your home—clothing, jewelry, furniture, electronics, sports equipment—and add up the value of your belongings. That sum is how much coverage you need. (For the average renter, it’s about $25,000.) So as you gather renters insurance quotes, make sure the policies you’re comparing have the same coverage limit.
Personal liability and medical payment coverage limits
Renters insurance doesn’t just protect your stuff. It can also protect you if someone falls into your fireplace and gets burned, or in other instances where a visitor is injured. Personal liability coverage pays for your legal expenses should the injured party take you to court. And medical payment coverage will pay that person’s medical expenses. Again, if you opt for these types of coverage, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples by getting quotes for policies that have the same coverage limits. Experts recommend having at least $300,000 in personal liability coverage. Medical payment coverage limits usually range from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your state of residence.
A deductible is the amount you have to pay before your rental insurance coverage kicks in. Within the same insurance company, the same type of coverage with a $500 deductible will, of course, be more expensive than one with a $1,000 deductible. So when comparing rental insurance quotes, make sure that you’re looking at policies with the same deductible amount.