So, you’ve got everything set up, all security deposits put down, leases signed, and moving trucks aligned, but now you must get some renters insurance. Living in a state prone to floodings, such as Florida or another coastal state, may have you wondering if renters insurance will cover you in the event of a flood.
What is Renters Insurance
Let’s break it down, what is renters insurance? Renters insurance can help protect tenants and their belongings while renting or leasing a home. Occasionally, you may hear renters insurance called “tenant insurance” or “apartment insurance.”
Renters insurance may or may not be required by your landlord. Suppose your landlord does mandate you purchase renters insurance. In that case, it is typically noted in your lease, and you must have a policy before moving in. However, even if the apartment owner does not require renters insurance, purchasing some is still highly recommended. Renters insurance can protect you and your belongings in several scenarios. Without it, you could end up liable for damages or out thousands of dollars to replace your belongings!
It is important to remember that renters insurance is different from landlord insurance. Landlord insurance refers to the policy the homeowner will buy when renting out a space. Landlord insurance protects the owner from liability if a tenant is injured on the property, or if any structural damages to the building need to be fixed. Landlord insurance does NOT protect any personal items of the tenant.
What Renter Insurance Covers
Now let’s jump into the specifics of what renters insurance covers. Under most policies, you can expect to be protected by three types of coverages: personal property, renters liability, and additional living expenses. So, what do these mean for you as a renter?
Personal Property Protection
You can probably guess what personal property protection means. With renters insurance in Florida, you can expect your personal belongings to be covered. These items are covered if they are stolen, damaged, or destroyed by an incident outside your control, like fires or break-ins.
A few examples of personal property are:
The list goes on and on. When you sign up for a policy, you will be asked to estimate the value of your belongings; this will help determine your payout if anything ever did happen to them. However, there may be certain things that are restricted from a standard policy, such as expensive jewelry, collectibles, and artwork. These objects need to be added to the policy, as their value may be too high to replace with typical renters insurance.
Renters Liability Insurance
Renters liability will cover the policyholder in the situation that there is a lawsuit filed against them for incidents that occurred on the rental property. For example, your insurance policy will help cover the legal expenses if you accidentally damage a neighbor’s personal property. Additionally, you can be covered if a guest sustains an injury from your pet or another injury occurs on the property.
Additional Living Expenses
Lastly, additional living expenses refer to the reimbursement your insurance agency will give you under the circumstances that you need to relocate. For example, in the event of a fire, explosion, theft, vandalism, lighting, fallen trees, or busted pipes, you may need to leave the premises and find a temporary home. Again, your policy can help to cover the expenses that come with relocation.
Note: There are exclusions to this policy, such as earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters. Reading through the details of your policy to learn what is and is not covered is recommended. Shopping around and speaking to different insurance agencies is the only way to determine what your renters insurance will and will not cover.
Average Cost of Renters Insurance
As with all insurance policies, the cost of your coverage will be based on the specific needs of your situation. For example, the overall value of your personal possessions, the location of the lease, your lifestyle, and how much protection you want will factor into your renter insurance premium.
Since the risk of actually using your renters insurance is fairly low, the cost is VERY affordable. The nationwide average cost for renters insurance is around $15 a month! Even with such a low monthly rate, renters insurance can provide you with tens of thousands of dollars in protection. It is no wonder why renters insurance is considered to be an intelligent choice for tenants to make.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Flooding?
Back to our original question, does renters insurance cover flood damage? The answer is no. Your renters insurance policy will most likely NOT cover flooding damages. Much like homeowners insurance, your belongings will not be protected if a flood occurs.
The only time renters insurance will cover water damage is if the source comes from within the building. This includes internal sources such as broken pipes that cause flooding. However, suppose you live in an area that is prone to flooding or natural disasters such as tsunamis or hurricanes. In that case, you can purchase flood insurance to keep your belonging safe.
What is Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is a separate policy that helps repair or replace personal property when flood damage occurs. A flood may occur when there is heavy rainfall, lots of melting snow, coastal surges, or even levee dam breaks. In areas where flooding is common, such as hurricane-risk areas, you may be required by the law to get flood insurance.
Fortunately, Florida flood insurance has become relatively affordable for residents through programs like The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which helps protect those who live in flood-prone areas.
Can I Buy Flood Insurance as a Renter?
Yes, renters can purchase flood insurance in addition to their renters insurance. Flood insurance is recommended for those in flood-prone areas and at higher risk of experiencing the damages that come with high-water levels.
You can get a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or through a private insurer. If you choose to go through a private insurer, it is best to purchase your flood insurance through the same agency you bought a renters insurance policy from. This will help keep all your documents organized, can make filing claims easier, and may even help to reduce the overall costs when bundling.
What is Covered Under Flood Insurance?
Although renters insurance in Florida does not cover flood damages, flood insurance can protect a great deal of your belongings. For example, you can expect the following to be reimbursed in the unfortunate event they are damaged or destroyed during a flood
Average Cost of Florida Flood Insurance
In the state of Florida, the average cost for flood insurance is $700 per year or $58 a month. With that said, it is anticipated that those who are protected by flood insurance will receive upwards of $250,000 for the repair of residential buildings and a maximum of $500,000 for businesses, should any damage caused by flooding occur. Keep in mind that flood insurance prices vary according to your location, the size and number of floors of your home or business, and the age of the structure.
The Bottom Line
Renter insurance can help to protect your personal property, fund legal expenses, and help you to relocate in the event of a disaster. Landlords sometimes require these policies when signing a lease; however, they are made incredibly affordable to renters, so this is not typically a financial strain. Even when renters insurance is not mandated, it is recommended every tenant still holds a policy. In the long run, a few dollars a month could save you thousands in the future!
When it comes to what renters insurance does and does not cover, it is important to speak to your insurance agency to get a full insight into your policy. It is safe to assume that flooding caused by external factors will NOT be covered under a standard renters insurance policy. Therefore, if you want flood damage coverage, you must purchase flood insurance in addition to your renters policy.
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