Even though you're renting, your landlord's homeowners or landlord insurance doesn't cover your personal belongings or injuries sustained by guests to your apartment or rented home. However, renters insurance typically does. If a guest falls outside of your rental, renters insurance will usually pay for any medical expenses and legal costs if the injury was caused by you, your pet or your property.
Purpose of Renters Insurance
A landlord's homeowners or landlord insurance typically does not protect the property a tenant has inside of her individual rental unit. Generally, this means that if the building burned down, a thief broke in or water pipes burst and a tenant's property was damaged, destroyed or stolen, the landlord wouldn't be on the hook. The same is true if a tenant's guest slipped and fell inside her rental. This is because the landlord's insurance policy typically protects the building itself not what's inside the tenants' individual units.
Although policies differ from one insurance company to the next, renters insurance typically covers the personal belongings in your rental, from clothing, furniture and jewelry to computer, televisions and stereo equipment. Your property is protected in the event it is stolen, damaged or destroyed. Common covered perils include vandalism or malicious mischief, theft, fire, smoke, accidental discharge of water and more. (Ref 1-3 all above) Additionally, your personal property doesn't even need to be in your rental to be protected. For example, if your belongings are stolen from your hotel room while traveling, renters insurance typically covers it.
Falls and Liability Protection
Renters insurance also includes liability protection. This covers injuries suffered by someone while inside your rental. Although policies differ, this routinely includes medical expenses and even legal costs. This protection extends to outside your rental as well if the suffered injury was caused by you, your pet or the property itself. This means that if a guest of yours fell outside your rental because your dog suddenly ran underneath her legs, for example, your renters policy would cover any medical and related costs because the fall was caused by your pet. However, before purchasing a renters policy, it's best to contact the insurance company and confirm the extent of protection inside and outside your rental.
Landlord May be Liable for Fall
Depending on the nature of the fall outside, the injuries your guest sustained may be your landlord's responsibility and covered by your landlord's homeowners or landlord policy. For example, if your guest fell because of building debris left behind by the landlord's maintenance staff while working on the roof, the landlord may be responsible for any injury and related expenses.
- U.S. News: Should You Buy Renters Insurance?
- Geico: About Renters Insurance
- Esurance: What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
- InsWeb: Renters Insurance Provides Liability Coverage
- Allstate: Homeowners or Landlord Insurance?
- Insurance Information Institute. "Your Renters Insurance Guide." Accessed May 11, 2020.
- State Farm. "How Can Renters Insurance Protect Both Landlord and Renter?" Accessed May 11, 2020.
- Travelers. "Renters Liability Coverage." Accessed May 11, 2020.
- USA.gov. "Property Insurance." Accessed May 12, 2020.
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "NAIC Releases Report on Homeowners Insurance." Accessed May 12, 2020.
- Insurance Information Institute. "Renters Insurance." Accessed May 12, 2020.
Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.