Money Mondays: What Renters Should Know About Apartment Insurance

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

I was watching the morning news and one of the stories covered was an apartment fire.  Many tenants were evacuated; fortunately, no one was hurt.  However, a few families lost all their belongings.  One of the victims interviewed was very distraught.  She said they lost everything, and did not have any insurance.  I felt bad hearing about this and thought it’s about time I write about this boring but necessary subject for apartment dwellers.

Homeowners are always required by the bank to carry homeowner’s insurance, but apartment insurance is something that is optional for many renters.  However, more and more landlords now require their tenants to carry apartment insurance.

I actually did not have apartment insurance at one time, thinking it was an unnecessary expense. Then I started thinking about what would happen to the family if we lost our belongings for some reason or other.  I did not really want to think about it, but it was something we needed to do, especially now that I have a small amount of stored food and emergency supplies. If you feel you don’t need it, consider all the items you use every day:  how much do you think you would need to replace your stuff if something happened to your apartment?  Do you have enough money in your savings to replace everything you own?

Things you should know when buying apartment insurance

What’s covered and not covered

I reviewed my standard renter’s policy and here is a quick summary of what it covers:

  • fire
  • wind or hail storm
  • theft
  • vehicle or aircraft damage
  • falling objects
  • riots
  • smoke
  • the weight of snow or sleet
  • vandalism
  • accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
  • sudden and accidental tearing
    apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or
    hot water heating system/air conditioning system, fire protective sprinkler system or water heater
  • freezing
  • sudden and accidental damage from artificially
    generated electrical current
  • volcanic eruption

Here’s what it doesn’t cover:

How much renter’s insurance do you need?

Go through your possessions room by room and write down what you have, starting with the big-ticket items such as laptops, TVs, appliances, furniture.  Then, look at your closets, drawers.  Include jewelry, heirlooms, art, collectibles, guns etc.  Don’t forget day to day items such as clothes, shoes, dishes, pots, and pans.  Now check online and quickly find out the value of each item.  Most people underestimate what they have – it may come up to $20,000-$30,000 all told.   Now you have a ballpark figure of the amount of coverage you might need.

How it pays

My policy would pay for the “cash value” of items that were lost, but it would never be more than the amount required to repair or replace.

Another type of policy would be for the “replacement cost” of property, but this type of policy would be more expensive.



You can get a discount applied if you have your auto insurance policy with the same carrier.


Some companies offer a discount if you agree to receive everything electronically.  You will have to save or print copies of your policy from their website yourself.

Higher deductible

Having a higher deductible would also allow you to get a lower rate.  You just need to make sure you set aside that money (let’s say $1000 as an example) in savings.  Since the insurance will only pay for losses above $1000, you have to make sure you have savings to cover that.

Final tips

If you do decide to obtain a renter’s policy, read everything in the policy and ask the agent questions about what is covered and what is not covered, and details about what happens if you had to file a claim.

Take photos of everything you own, and save a copy in a flash drive, in the cloud or someplace safe so you have documentation of what you own should a disaster occur and you need to file a claim.

Apartment insurance may not be one of the most exciting aspects of being prepared, but worth some consideration as part of a well-rounded preparedness plan.


© Apartment Prepper 2018


Money-saving deals for you!

Here are a few items that may be helpful for record keeping:

Five Star Flex Binder - keep copies of important documents and receipts for your possessions.  You can also save printed photos of your belongings for insurance purposes.

Fire proof document bag - For more protection, save your documents, money, passports in a fire proof document bag.

Water proof/fire resistant safe -  If you need more space for valuables, store them in a water resistant fire proof safe that you can easily carry with you in an evacuation.

Help support Apartment Prepper! Your purchases via my Amazon link help me earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  Thank you!



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  1. This is a very good article and something most of us do not think about. But isn’t prepping just like an insurance policy. Something that you need and do, But hope you never have to use. I find many very thoughtful articles here. Please keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Oldguy, Glad you like the article. It’s one of those subjects no one really likes to think about but its necessary. Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Be sure that your policy covers liability as well as your contents. And I agree that you have good info on your web page

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