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Can a Landlord Require Renters Insurance?

Published: April 2017

You found the perfect apartment with a great view, and it's not far from work. Your potential landlord says your application looks good, but he requires you to obtain renters insurance before you finalize the lease. That may make you wonder, can a landlord require renters insurance?

Yes, landlords can require tenants to have a renters insurance policy. Many landlords insist their renters have insurance to help avoid potential disputes if the tenant's belongings are damaged while on the property, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Here are a few things to consider if your landlord requires you to have a renters insurance policy — and why you may want to consider renters insurance even if it's not required.

Landlord giving couple keys.


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Doesn't My Landlord Have Insurance?

Landlord insurance policies typically provide coverage for structural damage to the building, says the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). However, landlord policies typically do not extend coverage to renters' personal property. If your television is stolen or your furniture is destroyed in a fire, your landlord's insurance likely won't cover the costs of replacing these items. The NAIC also notes that the landlord's insurance will not typically cover damage you cause to the building. For example, you may be responsible for repairs if you accidentally start a kitchen fire.

How Does Renters Insurance Help Protect Me?

While your landlord's insurance may help pay to repair the building after a covered loss, such as a hail storm or fire, renters insurance typically offers protections not provided by a landlord policy, says the III. Renters insurance typically offers the following protections:

Personal property coverage.
This coverage may help pay to replace your personal belongings if they are damaged or ruined by a covered peril, such as fire or theft. So if your rental unit is damaged by fire, this coverage may help to repair or replace damaged belongings, such as furniture and clothing.

Liability coverage.
If you are found legally responsible for injuries to other people or damage to their property, liability coverage may help prevent you from paying out of pocket for certain related costs. For example, if you distractedly leave the bathtub running and the flowing water ruins the floor or the apartment below, this coverage may help cover the cost of repairs.

Additional Living Expenses.
If your rental home or apartment building are left temporarily uninhabitable after being damaged by fire or another covered peril, this coverage may help pay for unexpected additional costs, such as hotel bills, while you are unable to live in your rented home.

Keep in mind that these coverages will likely have limits, the maximum amount of money an insurer will pay for a covered loss, as defined in your policy. You may want to talk to your agent about your policy limits and adjust your coverage to fit your specific needs.

Having your own renters insurance policy, in addition to the coverage that your landlord's insurance policy provides, may help prevent a bad situation from becoming worse. And you may have some peace of mind knowing that you have helped protect yourself from the unexpected.

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This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

Coverage subject to terms, conditions, and availability. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. © 2019 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.
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