Pennsylvania Renter’s Insurance


When buying a new home, everyone thinks about the need for purchasing homeowner’s insurance, but what about when you choose to rent? Can you afford to replace belongings that are lost in a fire? If you are forced to live somewhere else for a while, hotel and food expenses can end up in the thousands of dollars in no time. Do you have available savings to buy a new laptop, iPod, or TV if they are stolen? Can you pay the medical bills if someone is injured while visiting you in your apartment?


Your landlord will have insurance that covers the building, whether it is an apartment, townhouse, or single family home, but your possessions are not covered by that policy. Renters have valuable possessions that need to be protected, and yet many renters don’t realize that insurance is available. Not only is renter’s insurance available and necessary, but it offers other important features that you may not be aware of.


Most renter’s insurance policies include:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Theft
  • Windstorms or hail
  • Explosions
  • Flood
  • Accidental flooding (such as overflowing bathtub or freezing of pipes)
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief


Your renter’s insurance policy will also include liability insurance. This is coverage that protects you in the event that someone is injured while on your property. It will even help pay for your legal defense in this situation, if necessary. Medical coverage is also part of most renter’s policies.


When preparing to purchase renter’s insurance, you should explore various options that insurance companies offer. For example, renters may be able to choose between “actual cash value” or “replacement cost” coverage. If you choose actual cash value, then in the event of theft or other loss, you will receive the actual cash value of the items that need to be replaced. If the items are relatively new, then the actual cash value will probably be enough to replace them. If your possessions are older, however, the actual cash value amounts will be a lot less. You would need to come up with additional funds in order to replace the items. Therefore, if many of your possessions are older, then purchasing replacement cost coverage would be a better way to go. Replacement cost coverage will actually pay to replace the lost possessions with brand new items. The premium may be higher, but in the event of theft or fire, you would be able to replace the items with no trouble. You will need to decide on a personal property replacement amount, usually from $10,000-$35,000, and a deductible. In the event of a claim, you must pay the deductible amount before your insurer will cover the balance of the loss.


It is also important to know if your renter’s insurance policy is an all peril or a named peril policy. All peril policies insure against the loss of your personal property in the event of any and all possible disasters, except for the specific exclusions that are noted in your policy. With an all peril, or all risk policy, if your apartment is flooded by a broken water line your insurance company will pay to replace the ruined property, unless flooding resulting from a broken water line was a specific exclusion in the policy.


Named peril policies are exactly the opposite.  A named peril policy will only protect your property from the disasters that are specifically named in the policy.


There are other options to consider when purchasing a renter’s insurance policy. Many insurers offer endorsements that can be added to the basic policy. These can include a higher valuable items limit that would allow for insuring furs, collectible art, coin collections, or expensive musical instruments. An identity theft rider and septic or sewer system riders are also options to consider when purchasing a renter’s insurance policy.