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Can a Landlord Require Renters Insurance?

Updated: October 2019

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, or to reduce their liability in legal claims, 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.

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Doesn't My Landlord Have Insurance?

Landlord insurance policies typically provide coverage for structural damage to the building. 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.

Landlord 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.

Some landlord policies, however, will cover liability for another person's injuries on the property including medical protection to help pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses if someone is injured on the property.

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 hailstorm 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, renters personal property 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, renters 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 apartment below, this coverage may help cover the cost of repairs.

Additional living expenses coverage. 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 renters insurance policy limits and adjust your coverage to fit your specific needs.

How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

A landlord may require their tenant to have renters insurance, but it's the renter's responsibility to shop for and purchase coverage on their own.

When you're deciding how much renters insurance to buy, think about the value of your belongings. How much money would you need to replace your electronics, clothing and furniture if they were destroyed? Having an inventory of your belongings and their value can help you choose appropriate personal property coverage limits.

As you compare renters insurance quotes, keep in mind that the coverages, coverage limits and deductibles you choose affect the premiums you pay for a policy.

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. © 2020 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.
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