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Everything You Need To Know About Renters Insurance

Moneymagpie Team 29th Nov 2023 No Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Contrary to popular belief, tenants need contents insurance just like homeowners. After all, your rental property can still be subjected to a break-in or perhaps even accrue damage during an accident or natural disaster. If an ‘act of God’ does end up resulting in damage to your personal property, you should still have insurance cover in place to make sure that you don’t lose thousands of dollars’ worth of assets in one fell swoop.

So what should renters be looking for when it comes to contents insurance? Well, the answer to this question is actually quite simple: renters insurance.

Today, we’ll be taking a deep dive into all things renters insurance, unpacking what it covers and what it typically doesn’t, and finishing up with a little guide on how to secure the right renters insurance policy for your own personal insurance needs.

What is renters insurance?

In the simplest terms, renters insurance is designed to provide contents insurance cover to customers who aren’t owner-occupiers. You can take out renters insurance as a single tenant or you could even organise to take out a shared renters policy with your housemates. This makes renters insurance one of the most flexible types of residential insurance cover available on the market today.

Speaking of flexibility, as renters insurance isn’t designed to provide cover for the rental property and its fixtures (that should ideally be covered by your landlord, if they’re also spend-savvy and have taken out landlord insurance), you can typically expect renters insurance policies to cost less than combined home and contents insurance policies.

The costs of your insurance premium, however, will largely depend on a few key factors, including:

  • The geographic location of the property (and surrounding suburb demographics)
  • The insurance history of other individuals listed in your policy
  • The total replacement value of all insured items
  • The cost of the selected excess for your policy
  • The cost of any add-ons/extras to your policy

Even if you don’t feel like you have anything of value in your rental property, having key possessions like a laptop or even your wardrobe be misplaced or damaged has the potential to set you back thousands of dollars. For this reason, taking out renters insurance can provide immense peace of mind that you can stay financially secure and make your rental payments even in the event of a burglary or damage to your rental property. In this regard, taking out a renters insurance policy can be a great way for renters to save money.

What does renters insurance cover?

Now that you know what renters insurance is, let’s look a little closer at what this unique insurance policy typically covers. When you take out a renters insurance policy, you can expect to receive financial support from your insurance provider in the form of:

  • New for old cover – if any personal possessions are damaged or misplaced due to an insured event, your insurance provider can compensate you for the loss of those old possessions with enough money to purchase them new
  • Liability cover – if a claim is made against you or any other person included in your insurance policy due to an injury or accident that affects third parties or third party property, your insurance provider can provide funds to cover the costs of litigation
  • Costs of temporary accommodation – if your rental property is damaged and deemed untenable without immediate repairs, your insurance provider can cover the costs of securing temporary accommodation
  • Key and lock replacements – if your house keys are taken during a break-in, your insurance provider can cover the costs of lock and key replacements
  • Spoiled food and medication – if an insured event results in an interruption of energy supply to fridges, freezers, or cold storage for medication, your insurance provider can pay for the replacement of those food and medical supplies

Different insurance providers may offer their own additional inclusions, so it definitely pays to shop around and see what all your shortlisted providers can offer you. Once you’ve been able to find a policy with a reasonable premium and cover for all insured events you’re looking to secure cover for, then you can get started on your contract.

What renters insurance doesn’t cover

We mentioned that the total cost of your insurance premium may be dictated by any add-ons or extras you opt to include on your renters insurance policy. But what typical add-ons or extras would be available to you when finalising your ideal renters insurance policy? 

Some of the more common add-ons for these policies can include cover for high-value items (like jewellery), cover for portable items (laptops, tablets, cameras, etc.), and cover for accidental damage to personal possessions in the rental property. It’s also important to note that renters insurance typically doesn’t cover motor vehicles, plants and shrubs in outdoor garden spaces, stock assets, loose or unset gemstones in jewellery, and fixtures in your rental property (as these should be covered by your landlord’s own landlord insurance policy).

Renters insurance policies typically also don’t provide cover for acts of gross negligence, or any acts that may potentially have been purposefully or intentionally designed to cause damage or destruction of property.

How to secure your own renters insurance policy

Now that you know what to expect from your renters insurance cover, all that’s left to do is find the right policy for you. Thankfully, this can be as easy as following five simple steps:

  1. Outline your insurance needs
  2. Research insurance companies 
  3. Start preparing your policy applications
  4. Amend your cover to better suit your insurance needs
  5. Finalise your policy paperwork and pay your premium

Naturally, finding the right renters insurance policy to suit your needs must start with calculating how much you’d ideally like to be covered for, and then looking into which insurance provider can give the most cost-effective premium and excess to facilitate that coverage. So be sure to calculate your insurance needs carefully to reduce your risks of being underinsured. 

Keep in mind too that sharing your policy with your housemates can be a great way to enjoy some additional savings whilst ensuring that you and your fellow tenants can all maintain adequate insurance cover for your personal possessions. And yes, this isn’t the first time we’ve advocated that ‘sharing is saving’ either.

With all these considerations made, you should be well on your way to finding a renters insurance policy that caters to your unique insurance needs. Just remember to revisit your policy regularly to make sure that it continues to provide adequate cover as you accrue more personal assets.

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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