There is a common misconception that if you are renting an apartment, your landlord’s insurance will cover your belongings in case of a disaster. This is not true; to protect your property, you need to buy renter’s insurance.

What circumstances does it cover?
Most renter’s insurance covers your property in cases of fire, theft, smoke, and water damage from sources like pipes and overflowing bathtubs; some insurance will also replace your property if it is damaged or stolen outside of your premises. Renter’s insurance can also cover liability if anyone is injured on your property (note that this generally does not apply if you sublet or rent out a property). It does not typically cover items broken by other people or animals, or flood. If you are concerned about natural flooding, consider purchasing separate flood insurance.

What items does it cover?
Renter’s insurance generally covers all valuable items, including televisions, computers, jewelry, clothing, exercise equipment, furniture, etc. Be sure to properly document the value of your possessions to pick the right policy. It’s also important to be aware of whether the insurance covers you on an “actual cash value” basis (paying for the current monetary value of the items) or a “replacement value” basis (how much it will cost you to replace the item with one of similar quality).

Who does it cover?
If you purchase renter’s insurance, it will cover you, your spouse, and the people directly related to you. You can generally also list up to two unrelated people on the policy, so if you have additional roommates, they will need to get their own policy. Please note that even if the roommates are on the insurance, if they purposefully steal or damage your belongings, it is unlikely to be covered.

How much will it cost?
Depending on how much coverage you need, renter’s insurance policies can cost as little as $125 a year, although you can save money by increasing your deductible. The price is dependant on how much property you need to cover and if you require additional coverage for things like jewelry, which are generally only covered up to $1000.

Where should I get it?
When searching for insurance, it can be useful to first look at companies established in your area. If you are dissatisfied with your options, you can search for more specialized insurance or use an insurance broker, who may be able to find something specific more easily.