How to protect your personal belongings when living on rent?

TomorrowMakers ™

How to protect your personal belongings when living on rent?

29 January 2018
This is an introduction to Renters Insurance, how it works, what it covers, and explains why this kind of insurance is necessary for those who are living on rent.

During your relatively carefree life as a student, you probably didn’t pay much attention to your possessions and the way you lived, especially if you studied away from home. Once you started working and earning, things changed. You may still live carefreely, but it’s more than likely that you’ve made improvements to your standard of living – in terms of accommodation, furniture and mod cons.


We all know about the many types of insurance coverage available – life, health, home, automobile, travel & critical illness/disability being some of the most common, but insurance for people renting their homes?

Related: Understanding how student travel insurance works

What Is Rental Insurance?

You’ve moved to a new city with your job and are looking to rent an apartment, rental insurance is probably way down your list of priorities. The mistake most people make is either assuming that the landlord’s insurance will cover your possessions, or even worse, thinking you won’t need it. Destruction or loss of your personal belongings isn’t covered under the landlord’s policy.

Alternatively, what if some of the landlord’s furniture or fixtures & fittings break during your stay in the house? What if you lose some of your possessions? The simple answer to the first question is that the landlord will deduct an agreed amount from your deposit. As for the latter question, you’d simply have to bear your loss and move on. But these are not the only risks tenants need to worry about.

The Types Of Coverage Available

If you happen to be living on rent, typical rental insurance offers protection for your valuables from losses due to theft, fire, smoke, vandalism, explosion, lightning, wind and water damage (excluding floods), amongst other things. Even if you don’t believe the value of your possessions requires insurance coverage, rental insurance covers other risks that can adversely impact your finances.

While the types of coverage offered by insurance companies will vary, they fall into the following categories:

  • Coverage for Personal Possessions – The basic premium will cover the cost of repair or the replacement of belongings if they are damaged or lost. This, however, does not cover electronic items, jewellery, art, or as defined in the policy exclusions mentioned on the website or policy. 
  • Coverage for Special Items – Possessions such as televisions, laptops, mobile phones, music systems, art, jewellery etc. not covered under the basic premium is covered by this supplementary premium.
  • Coverage for Legal Liabilities – An additional premium intended to compensate third parties (guests, home help, workers etc.) for injuries suffered by them in your rented home, but also covers damage done by you or your guests to the house. This coverage could also include your legal costs if your landlord or a third party takes you to court.
  • Coverage for Emergency Living Costs – Rental insurance can also cover living expenses should you be unable to live in your apartment due to fire, smoke or water damage, though there will likely be a cap on the amount of compensation paid.

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The Key Benefits Of Rental Insurance

It is an unfortunate fact that the vast majority of tenants ignore the safety of insurance cover, as much to avoid the extra expense as the feeling that they don’t possess much of great value. But the real shock lies in recognising the drain on your savings in replacing lost items.



     1. Coverage for Individual Assets

  • In the case of an unexpected calamity like fire or theft, rental insurance can be your financial saviour, especially since the landlord will only insure his property, and nothing else.
  • If your possessions have been stolen or destroyed, rental insurance will help you recover the cost of your clothes, personal valuables, jewellery, furniture, electrical or mechanical appliances, and even items of everyday use, such as kitchen utensils, crockery and cutlery.
  • Rental insurance can also cover the loss of your personal property, such as cash and jewellery, while you are travelling.



Related: 6 compelling reasons why you need Home Insurance

A crucial question you need to decide on your rental insurance policy is whether it the policy pays out the actual cash value (you are reimbursed to replace your possessions after allowing for depreciation) or compensates for the replacement cost (which pays the actual cost of replacing lost or damaged items, subject to certain limits). In most cases, replacement cost coverage is the smarter option.



         2. Coverage for Legal Liabilities

Based on the policy and deductibles you have opted for, you can get reimbursements for legal, medical and renovation expenses.

  • With this, damages and costs – including legal costs – are covered if guests, home help or workers are hurt in the home or elsewhere. For instance, if someone slips and is severely injured, even if the incident wasn’t due to a fault of your own, medical costs will be covered.
  • In addition to injuries, policies also cover the loss of property of such non-residents while they were in the house.
  • Covers you against costs for structural repairs to the house and for the landlord's belongings in the house.
  • Provides cover if you accidentally cause damage to a neighbour’s property or possessions.

Related: Stick to room-rent limit to avoid partial claim settlement in health insurance



         3. Coverage for Emergency Living Costs

  • Rental insurance provides you with the safety of coverage for additional living expenses in case you temporarily need to find alternative accommodation due to damage to the house you live in.
  • Additionally, the cost of meals and other incidentals are covered.

Related: 4 Situations Every Home Owner Fears



Things to Consider For Your Rental Insurance Policy

In order to arrive at a ballpark figure of the value of your possessions, you need to do it the old-fashioned way – make a list of everything you own. You should be thorough and list small items – such as utensils, crockery, cutlery, linen, curtains etc. – as well as the high value electrical and electronic items (TVs, laptops, mobile phones). It is advisable to take photographs of the items on your list, so if you do make a claim, the insurance company can verify it.

Related: How to successfully rent out your home? 

It’s always worth remembering that, based on the rental insurance policy you choose, in addition to deductibles, there is usually a limit to the money you may

receive per claim.


So if you are staying in rented accommodation, don’t be complacent. As we all know, landlords usually have the power and are unafraid to wield it. Damages, which may be accidental, are quietly borne by the people staying in the house. So, better safe than sorry.

Renter’s insurance is usually quite inexpensive – it can be less than the cost of a night out – so if you are unsure as to what type of policy to purchase, self-appraise your belongings, have a rough plan how to replace them, talk to an insurance agent, and get a quote. The low cost of protection will make your decision easier. Cover yourself now!





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