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Renter's Insurance: Do You Really Need it?

Posted by South Dakota Housing Authority on Oct 21, 2016 5:43:50 PM


We all have those necessities in life that just don't seem all that necessary. We ignore the "check engine light" at first, we push the gas tank to its last sputters to avoid a trip to the gas station and we roll our eyes when a friend or family member says, "You should get renter's insurance."

But the truth is, apartment-dwellers and renters should give serious consideration to opening a policy - it can save a lot of headache if things, out of your control, go south.

Landlord responsibility

It's a common misconception that a landlord is fully responsible for damages to your rental space and its contents in case of events such as theft or fire. While some landlords may offer assistance in securing renter's insurance (or even require that you have it as part of the terms of the lease), appliances in the unit are not necessarily their responsibility if damaged, depending on the details of your rental agreement. And the malfunctioning of these appliances - say if they cause damage to your laundry or food items - is not something a landlord will typically cover. It's traditionally a renter's insurance benefit.

Covered items

When it comes to repairing damage to and replacing your belongings in a rental space, insurance goes a long way. Just read your policy options carefully, as supplemental insurance might also be beneficial to you, depending on your region and your proximity to the flood plain. While many standard policies will cover loss related to theft, vandalism and fire, other natural disasters like flooding may not be covered.

Appraising your Things

At first glance, it may not seem like your belongings are necessarily high-value. What's a few pieces of furniture and some electronics? Plus, the major appliances are owned by the landlord anyhow. It would surprise you, however, if you truly thought about the value of your things. It can add up quickly once you begin to accumulate belongings - many renter's insurance policies will cover up to a certain value in replacement cost, so it's good to consider higher-ticket items, such as sofas, televisions and computers, when deciding if insurance is worth it. (Also, some policies may even offer you funds to replace items in brand-new conditions, rather than simply repay you for the value of your used items in their state when damaged or stolen.)


When it comes to people-related damage, a lot of renter's insurance policies will cover some degree of liability. Most often, you'll see policies that cover bodily injury or property damage that is due to negligent behavior. Just keep in mind that this might not include negligence that is purposeful or the result of a separately covered piece of property, like a vehicle. Regardless, it's a positive protection to have in case of unforeseen injury on your premises.

The benefits of renter's insurance, for many, outweigh the often minimal cost to have a policy. Make a pros-and-cons list and decide for yourself if renter's insurance is one of those not-so-necessary items that will feel awfully necessary once something goes wrong and it's too late.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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