Renters insurance is your equivalent of a homeowners policy when you rent a home or apartment. Although your landlord's homeowners insurance covers his structure and belongings, his policy will not cover your belongings. And your policy premiums won't be nearly as expensive as his are. You can often get a yearly policy for around $200. Candles are among a handful of common causes of home fires. The good news is that standard renters policies cover fires, including those caused by dropped candles.
Whether a fire caused by a dropped candle in your rental unit or in a neighbor's unit that spreads to your home damages your belongings, most renters insurance policies will cover your losses.
The Basics of Renters Policies
A renters policy covers your belongings and your liability for property damage and bodily injury to others. In fact, your landlord's home policy won't cover the costs for your personal items if you don't have a policy. Therefore, when a fire causes damage, your renters policy covers the costs of your furniture and valuables, as well as any liability you might have for repair damage on the property.
Exploring Additional Benefits
Your benefits if a dropped candle causes a fire actually extend beyond coverage for basic damages and liability. If the fire ruins the home or makes it unsafe to live in for a period of time, your insurance company normally pays benefits for alternative living until you move back in or get a more permanent place. The costs to stay at a hotel are commonly covered, for instance, while you wait for repairs to complete.
Assessing Liability Basics
The liability portion of a standard renters policy is quite broad. In fact, it extends beyond your home. If you are out shopping and knock somebody over or damage their car in a non-car-related event, your renters policy typically protects you. While you might think a fire you cause by dropping a candle is not covered, typical plans include liability protection for "unintentional" or "accidental" events that harm other people and property.
Apartment Complex Implications
In some cases, your policy may even extend to fire damage in other units if you drop a candle in your apartment. You would definitely want to check with your provider about this, though. If a candle fire spreads quickly enough, it may spread into the walls or interior of neighboring apartments. The smoke could also set off alarms in the halls or neighboring apartments. Your policy might cover damage to the other units as well.
- Allstate: Renters Insurance Made Simple
- Rentec Direct: 10 Reasons Why Your Tenants Need Renters Insurance
- Realtor.com: 3 Smart Reasons to Get Renters Insurance
- National Fire Protection Association. "Home Structure Fires." Accessed Sept. 24, 2020.
- Progressive. "Does insurance Cover Fire Damage?" Accessed Sept. 24, 2020.
- Insurance Information Institute. "A Vacant Home Still Needs Insurance—Don't Be Caught Without Coverage." Accessed Sept. 24, 2020.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.