The idea behind renters insurance is to protect a renter’s personal property while in a rented house/apartment in the event of disasters, accidents, theft, vandalism, or other perils. Depending on the provider, policies may provide replacement cost or cast value of damaged/lost item. The more comprehensive policies will also include financial assistance in the event of a liability issue that may arise from or may be due to renter’s personal property. With that said, what do renter’s think about renter’s insurance?

Let’s start with some facts about renter’s insurance compiled by Nationwide from its online survey:

  • When it comes to the safety of their property, renters’ biggest fears are fire and theft; only 3% of survey respondents believe that a zombie apocalypse is a possibility
  • Nearly a quarter of renters suggested that they would save their laptops/computers first before anything else in the event of disasters. Cash and mobile phones apparently were not  priorities
  • About 40% of respondents don’t even know that renter’s insurance policy covers stolen properties
  • 1 in 3 renters do not believe if renter’s insurance actually covers party mischief for examples damaged computers, broken floor, or injured guest; in reality, vandalism or malicious mishap is among the most common perils covered
  • 56% of respondents do not have renter’s insurance, including 46% who think they don’t need it at all

What’s covered?

Any standard renter’s insurance, also known as a HO-4 policy, provides protection – usually in the form of reimbursement – for the destruction or loss of personal property from 16 specific events including:

– Theft – Windstorm or hail
– Smoke – Damaged by aircraft
– Explosion – Damaged by vehicles
– Falling objects – Civil commotion or riot
– Fire or lighting – Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
– Volcanic eruption – Vandalism or malicious mischief


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Also considered perils are:

  • Accidental and sudden damage from artificially generated electric current
  • Freezing of household appliance, heating, plumbing, automotive fire-protection devices or system, or air conditioning
  • Accidental overflow or discharge of steam or water from household appliance, heating, plumbing, automotive fire-protection devices or system, or air conditioning
  • Accidental and sudden cracking, bulging, burning, or tearing apart of a steam or hot water heating system, automatic fire-protection system, or air conditioning system.

Do You Need Renter’s Insurance

If you are a tenant in NYC, then you should certainly have it, although it is not legally mandatory. If you have personal property, then you are at risk of losing it due to accidents, natural disasters, or even someone else’s mistakes.

Regardless of how careful you are, it is almost impossible to control everything that happens around your property, even in your own dwelling. Also, your landlord is not responsible for the safety of your personal belongings. Your landlord most likely has homeowner’s insurance, but the coverage only protects the building and not the tenants’ personal property.

What can I expect to pay?

Renter’s insurance comes with two basic types of coverage:

  1. Loss of Use – includes protection/reimbursement for the loss of personal property due to the covered perils.
  2. Liability – covers potential financial losses because you are legally liable for another person’s injuries or property damage.

The average renter’s insurance costs only about $184/year or just a little more than $15/month, which is about the same price as seven cups of coffee in NYC.

With that said, accidents happen. Assuming your personal property (including laptops, appliances, jewelries, and other valuables) has an estimated value of $10,000 or even more, it would be seemingly unreasonable to decline an insurance offer that costs only a fraction of the amount.

While insurance premiums are determined by a lot of factors such as your location, profession, and actual prices of the items covered, you can always compare the cost among different providers to find the best deal.

Essentially, it boils down to whether or not you are willing to take the risk of not having a renter’s insurance policy. The choice is yours.


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