Just as homeowners and condo owners need insurance, people who lease the residence they live in also should have insurance. Without adequate insurance, homeowners, condo owners and tenants in Massachusetts can be exposed to potential risks they can’t afford to recover from. Tenants insurance needs, however, are different from the insurance needs of both homeowners and condo owners. That’s why there’s renters insurance.
Renters insurance policies are somewhat similar to homeowners policies, but they’re specifically designed for tenants. Because tenants usually have fewer insurance needs than homeowners, these policies typically provide a few less coverages and cost significantly less.
As is true with just about any type of insurance, exactly what coverages a renters policy provides can vary. On a general level, there are two main coverages that tenants should focus on:
Policies may provide a variety of other coverages, such as additional living expenses coverage.
One of the most significant differences between renters policies and homeowners policies is the lack of structural coverage in renters policies. Homeowners policies usually have some sort of structural coverage that provides protection for the insured house. Renters policies normally don’t have any such protection because renters generally aren’t responsible for insuring the building they live in. Instead, it’s typically the landlord’s responsibility to insure the building since they own it.
(The renters liability insurance coverage included in a renters policy may cover an incident in which a renter is found responsible for destroying or damaging the building they’re in. This liability coverage is different from a structural coverage that would probably guard against physical perils, like windstorms and hail damage, though.)
Broadly speaking, renters liability insurance coverage is designed to protect renters in scenarios where they cause property damage or injury to another party. Injury might include physical injuries (e.g. a fractured arm) or non-physical harm (e.g. a slandered reputation).
As mentioned, renters liability insurance coverage might cover an incident in which a tenant causes damage to the building they live in. For example, if a tenant was grilling outside too close to the building and they melted the building’s siding, this coverage might provide protection. Here are some other examples of scenarios where liability coverage might offer protection:
(Precisely what incidents would be covered depend on a policy’s specific terms, conditions and exclusions.)
Like homeowners policies and other types of insurance policies, renters policies vary in cost. A renter’s address, past claims history, type of rental unit and many other factors can influence a policy’s premiums.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of renters policies cost significantly less than homeowners policies. This is because renters policies normally don’t include any structural coverages, which reduces insurers’ risk exposure and lets them charge less for policies.
Most people who rent an apartment, townhome, condo or single-family house in Massachusetts should have a renters policy. This includes:
For help finding renters insurance, tenants who rent a place in Massachusetts should contact a Garrity Insurance agent. Our independent agents can help a tenant select the coverages they want and get quotes for renters policies that will provide those coverages.