Is Renters Insurance Mandatory in Illinois?

by Edriaan Koening ; Updated July 27, 2017
With renters insurance, you can recoup losses in case of a disaster.

Your landlord may have a homeowners or landlords insurance policy for your rental unit. However, this policy only covers the rental unit itself. It does not provide protection for your personal belongings. Although renters insurance is not mandatory in Illinois, you should consider purchasing this coverage to minimize losses arising from unexpected events.

Mandatory Status

Less than 50 percent of renters have renters insurance, according to the Medill Reports from Northwestern University. If you are one of them, you could potentially lose all of your belongings if a natural disaster, a fire or a break-in occurs. You may lose your clothing items, furniture, computers, televisions and gadgets, costing you more than $10,000. However, the choice to obtain renters' insurance is yours. Your landlord may recommend it for your own benefit, but you are not required to purchase it, unless your lease specifies this requirement.

Coverage

Renters insurance coverage varies depending on the particular policy. Flooding can occur at any time of the year in Illinois, according to Chicago State University. Your landlord may already have protection for the rental building structure, but renters insurance can protect any of your belongings that are destroyed by the flood. Renters insurance also may cover losses arising from fire, burglary, natural disasters, water leaks and power surges. If you rent a basement unit, you also may request protection against water seepage from the sewers.

Amount of Coverage

When buying renters insurance, you usually can determine the amount of coverage of the policy. For example, if you don't own many things and your rental unit came furnished, you may get a $10,000 or $15,000 policy. To determine the appropriate coverage amount, you should calculate the cost of replacing your belongings if you were to lose them all. Your may want a policy that covers the cost of accommodation in case the rental unit is destroyed and you have to stay elsewhere while your landlord fixes the home.

Cost

Renters may decide to not get insurance for their belongings because they believe it to be expensive. However, renters' insurance often cost less than $50 per month. According to the Medill Reports, you can get an insurance policy from most providers for $20 to $30 per month. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign estimates that renters insurance can cost as little as $11 per month. The average renter in Illinois can get reimbursed if a loss exceeds $174, as of 2005.

About the Author

Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.

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