Who Pays? The Renter v. Landlord Edition

If you’re looking for a home to rent, you may be wondering why your landlord wants you to have renters insurance. Although not a requirement by law, it can go a long way to help protect your assets and property.

However, the argument always arises as to when it is your landlord’s responsibility to compensate for damages or repairs and when it is the renter’s responsibility.

Landlord’s responsibilities

Landlords are responsible for the maintenance of their rental property. The requirement in most states is for the landlord to keep their property in a good, habitable condition. This means that the property should have adequate heating, electricity and water. The property should also be structurally sound and clean.

The landlord is responsible for the property meeting housing codes and local building standards. This will include minimum requirements for electrical wiring, ventilation and light. The safety of the property is also the landlord’s responsibility. They are required to install smoke detectors and other safety devices and ensure that they are operating properly.

Responsibilities of the tenant

Tenants also have a responsibility of keeping their living quarters clean and sanitary. Tenants cannot request assistance from landlords to deal with insect and pest infestations otherwise. Tenants are responsible for repairing any damage that they cause due to their negligence.

Landlords have a right to carry out repairs caused by your negligence and send the bill to you or add it to your monthly rent.

Why you need renters insurance

 Landlords take out insurance to cover their property. Their insurance however, will not cover you or your property. Renters insurance is a good idea because it protects:

Your personal property

It can be devastating to lose your property in a disaster. It would take tens of thousands of dollars to fully recover your property. The average cost of renters insurance according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners was $188. That is about $20 per month. You can get even better rates by requesting a renters insurance quote online with companies like CoverHound and matching up policies line by line with other insurers.

Renters insurance allows you to pay a small amount so that you won’t have to pay a large amount when an incident occurs.

Personal liability

Accidents occur in and around the home often. The Home Safety Council puts the number of deaths occurring from accidental injuries in homes at 18,000 a year. Renters insurance will cover your legal costs as well as other liability costs in case you are sued for injuries or damage.

Property damage

If you, a roommate or friend damage property accidentally, you can rely on your renters insurance policy for replacement.

Other expenses

If there is an incident that renders your rental home uninhabitable, you will have to find a place to stay temporarily. This can cost a lot of money. Renters insurance will cover these costs up to a limit.

What renters insurance doesn’t cover

 Although renters insurance can be a lifesaver, it doesn’t cover everything. Some of the things not covered under a standard renter’s insurance policy include:

Natural disasters

Many renters assume that their policies cover them for natural disasters, such as wildfires, earthquakes or flooding. These are only covered with additional policies.

Expensive items

Items such as expensive artwork, jewelry and other high-value items are not covered by renters insurance. You would need an additional policy for these items.

Damage that is intentional

If you intentionally damage property, you will not be compensated. You will also not be compensated for damage that the insurance providers deem to have occurred as a result of negligence.

Items that aren’t documented

If you don’t have documentation such as receipts to show the value of your items, don’t expect to be compensated for them.

Renters insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your assets and property. Be sure to search for the best deals online before purchasing a policy.