Renters protection can cover possessions, protect home-based business assets or cover the medical expenses of a guest

Written by Jim Sloan on April 8, 2011 & Posted in Renters Insurance

If you are one of millions of Americans who in these difficult times have decided it's smarter to rent than buy a home, you've probably also thought about renters insurance.

Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance covers not only your possessions but also provides medical coverage in the event someone is accidentally injured while on the property you're renting. Most renters coverage will also pay living expenses if the space you're renting is damaged and deemed unlivable.

Riders, endorsements and coverage limits

When purchasing renters insurance, it is important to make sure your possessions aren't worth more than limitations on the policy. For example, if you have silverware that is worth more than the policy covers, you might consider the purchase of a rider or endorsement to cover the silverware's value.

When purchasing renters insurance, you have the opportunity to purchase additional coverage for unusual situations. These types of add-ons are called endorsements. Here are four circumstances when an endorsement might be in order:

  1. When you need to increase coverage to protect business property
  2. When you need to cover business merchandise
  3. Volunteer coverage for claims made against you while you're working as a volunteer
  4. Incidental business liability, which protects you if you have a home business and someone makes a claim against you that relates to your business

Even college students are wise to look into affordable renters insurance. It would cover losses if personal property is damaged, destroyed or stolen. That includes computers, electronics and furniture. If you're still a dependent, have your parents check to see if their homeowners insurance policy covers you while you're away at school.

Most renters insurance policies will cover you in the event of any number of problems, including high winds, smoke, lightning, vandalism, explosions and water damage. Conversely, floods and earthquakes aren't covered by a typical renters insurance policy.

Renters insurance buying tips

In order to know how much renters protection coverage to buy, you'll need to draw up an inventory of your possessions and determine a value for them, according to The Insurance Information Institute (III). The III even provides a free web-based inventory application. Your list should include such big-ticket items as flat screen TVs, but also smaller household items like kitchen utensils and bedding.

Renters insurance will also typically protect you in the event you or a family member--including the dog--causes bodily harm or property damage to other people. Damage caused by your sons, daughters or pets to you and your things aren't covered, however.

According to the III, it pays to shop around for renters insurance. Try to get at least three price quotes from different companies, and make sure the level of insurance for each quote is the same.

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