How to Protect Your Belongings with Renters Insurance Personal Property Coverage

Renters insurance is a type of insurance that covers your personal belongings in case of theft, fire and other disasters.

It can also pay your legal expenses if someone sues you.

An image of a couple taking renters insurance policy
Renters Insurance Coverage| MOTIVE

But what exactly is personal property coverage and how does it work?

Here are some key points to know.

Personal Property Coverage Explained

Personal property coverage is a standard part of a renters insurance policy that pays to replace your stuff if it’s unexpectedly damaged or destroyed.

This protection generally applies to certain risks (also referred to as “perils”), such as fire, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Personal property coverage is sometimes called “Coverage C,” after the heading it falls under in many insurance policies.

The amount of coverage you have depends on the limit you choose when you buy your policy.

The limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay for a covered claim.

How Personal Property Coverage Works

Personal property coverage works on either a named perils or an open perils basis.

Named perils means that your policy only covers events that are specifically listed in your policy, such as fire, theft and windstorms.

Open perils means that your policy covers any event that is not excluded by your policy, such as flooding or earthquakes.

Most renters insurance policies use the named perils approach, which means that if an event is not named, it’s not covered.

Below are the standard perils that most policies cover:

1.Fire or lightning.

2.Windstorm or hail.

3.Explosion.

4.Riot or civil commotion.

5.Damage caused by aircraft.

6.Damage caused by vehicles.

7.Smoke.

8.Vandalism or malicious mischief.

9.Theft.

10.Volcanic eruption.

11.A falling object.

12.The weight of ice, snow or sleet.

13.Accidental discharge of water or steam from within certain household systems or appliances.

14.Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of certain household systems.

What Personal Property Coverage Does Not Cover

Personal property coverage does not cover everything you own.

There are some items that are either excluded or have limited coverage under a standard renters insurance policy.

These include:

1.Cars or pets.

These are usually covered by separate policies, such as auto insurance or pet insurance.

2.Roommate’s belongings.

Unless your roommate is listed on your policy, their stuff is not covered by your personal property coverage.

You may want to consider sharing renters insurance with your roommate or getting separate policies.

3.Tenant’s belongings.

If you’re a homeowner who rents out part of your space to an unrelated tenant, their stuff is not covered by your personal property coverage.

They should get their own renters insurance policy.

4.High-value items.

Some items, such as jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles and electronics, may have a lower coverage limit than your overall personal property limit.

For example, your policy may have a $1,000 limit for jewelry, even if your personal property limit is $10,000.

If you have high-value items that exceed these limits, you may want to add extra coverage, such as a rider or an endorsement, to your policy.

5.Business property.

If you use your home for business purposes, such as running a home office or storing inventory, your business property may not be covered by your personal property coverage.

You may need to get a separate business insurance policy or add a home business endorsement to your renters insurance policy.

How to Choose the Right Amount of Personal Property Coverage

The amount of personal property coverage you need depends on how much your belongings are worth.

A couple chasing property insurance coverage
Personal Property Coverage| Benedicts

To figure this out, you can do a home inventory, which is a list of everything you own and how much it would cost to replace them.

You can use a spreadsheet, an app or a video to record your inventory.

You should also keep receipts, photos and other documents that can prove the value of your items.

Once you have your inventory, you can add up the total value of your belongings and compare it to the personal property limit on your renters insurance policy.

If your limit is lower than your total value, you may want to increase your coverage.

If your limit is higher than your total value, you may want to lower your coverage and save some money on your premium.

Another factor to consider when choosing your personal property coverage is whether you want actual cash value or replacement cost coverage.

Actual cash value coverage pays the depreciated value of your items, which means it takes into account wear and tear and age.

Replacement cost coverage pays the full cost of buying new, similar items, which means it does not factor in depreciation.

Replacement cost coverage is more expensive than actual cash value coverage, but it can also pay you more in the event of a claim.

How to File a Personal Property Claim

If your belongings are damaged or stolen, you should file a personal property claim with your renters insurance company as soon as possible.

Here are the steps to follow:

1.Contact the police.

If your property was stolen or vandalized, you should report it to the police and get a copy of the police report.

This can help you prove your claim and recover your items.

2.Contact your landlord.

If your property was damaged by a fire, water leak or other disaster, you should inform your landlord and ask them to fix the problem.

You should also document the damage with photos and videos.

3.Contact your insurer.

You should call your renters insurance company and let them know what happened.

They will assign you a claims adjuster, who will review your policy, inspect the damage, estimate the cost of repairs or replacements, and process your claim.

4.Provide proof of loss.

You should provide your insurer with your home inventory, receipts, photos, police report.

You should also cooperate with your claims adjuster and answer any questions they may have.

5.Receive your payment.

Once your claim is approved, your insurer will send you a check for the amount of your loss, minus your deductible.

Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in.

For example, if your deductible is $500 and your claim is $2,000, your insurer will pay you $1,500.

Conclusion

Personal property coverage is an important part of renters insurance that can protect your belongings.

It can also save you from paying out of pocket for repairs or replacements.

To get the most out of your personal property coverage, you should:

1.Choose the right amount of coverage based on the value of your belongings.

2.Choose the right type of coverage based on whether you want actual cash value or replacement cost coverage.

3.Do a home inventory and keep it updated.

4.Add extra coverage for high-value items or business property if needed.

5.File a claim promptly and provide proof of loss if your property is damaged or stolen.

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