Everything you need to know about renters insurance in Texas.
Whether it's your first apartment or your long-time rental residence, renters insurance is a way for tenants to get protection for their belongings. But how does renters insurance work in Texas? What does it cover? Do you really need it? We'll walk you through the details, so read on!
What does renters insurance cover?
You may have heard someone ask, or even asked the question yourself, "Why do I need rental insurance? Doesn't my landlord have insurance?" Your landlord most definitely has insurance for their property, but it will not protect your personal belongings. In fact, that is specifically what renters insurance is for!
Should a disaster damage your building, your landlord's insurance will pay to repair the damage. Renters insurance would pay to replace your personal items that are damaged.
While the disasters covered by a renters insurance policy vary from company to company, they usually include standard incidents, like fire, theft, riots or civil unrest, storms, leaks, and so on. Like some homeowners policies, renters insurance can often cover your property outside your dwelling, too.
Many insurance policies break down into three main categories, and renters insurance is no exception.
This covers your personal belongings, like furniture, electronics, and clothing. For example, if there is a fire in your building and your furniture is destroyed, this would help you replace it.
Loss of use.
This aspect of a renters insurance policy can help provide you with a place to stay if yours is temporarily uninhabitable. If the fire from our previous example required you to leave your rental while repairs were made, this could provide you with funds to stay somewhere temporarily.
Pays for injuries that other people may sustain while on your property, and covers legal fees if you're sued for it. This could cover medical bills if someone injures themselves on your property. It could also cover repairs if something in your apartment causes damage in an adjacent unit.
Beyond the basic coverages offered by most renters insurance policies, there are usually a number of optional coverages you can add.
This additional coverage would extend your policy to protect your personal belongings in the event of disasters not typically listed, like floods and earthquakes (while uncommon in Texas, they do happen!). Just like homeowners insurance in Texas, most policies don't cover floods in their basic offerings. Instead, you usually have to purchase flood insurance separately, often from the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program).
This addition is for more expensive items like jewelry and electronics. While your policy will likely cover these things, if they are especially valuable, they may exceed the limits of your base policy. If that is the case, you can often get additional, specific coverage to extend those limits.
Depending on various factors in your life (like having a dog for example), you may decide that the basic level of liability offered with renters insurance isn't enough. In such a case, you might consider adding extra liability to your policy. If your rented property has something like a pool, or any item or feature that might cause injuries, you may be required to expand your liability coverage. If you feel as though you need even further liability coverage (beyond the limits of a renters policy), umbrella insurance
might be an option to consider.
Who needs it?
So who needs renters insurance? Broadly, anyone who is renting an apartment, condo, townhouse, or rental house can get great benefit from having a renters policy.
If you're a student or otherwise a dependent, sometimes your parent's homeowners insurance will extend to you even while you're away. However, that doesn't mean that your apartment is covered by the same limit as the homeowners policy. Therefore, it might be a good idea to have a separate renters insurance policy anyway, just to make sure you're fully covered.
Is renters insurance required in Texas?
While there isn't a law in Texas that requires a tenant to have renters insurance per se, the law does allow the landlord to require it. Many landlords understand how important it is to have and do require it, and many apartment complexes will, too. However, even if they don't, renters insurance can be very inexpensive and is well worth it. The bottom line is it's just a good idea, even if it isn't always required.
How do renters insurance claims work?
Once you've got a renters insurance policy, there are a few things you can do to make sure that the claims process goes smoothly should you need to file one.
Filing a renters insurance claim
Fill out a home inventory checklist.
A home inventory checklist
is exactly what it sounds like. It's simply a document you can use to help you take inventory of all the items in your rental place and estimate their value. Should you have to file a claim, this can be invaluable during the process.
Additionally, when you're getting a quote for renters insurance, the checklist can help you get the most accurate premium. It certainly isn't required, but having a detailed list of your property will help your agent get you the coverage amount that's right for you.
Keep receipts for newer items.
In addition to the home inventory checklist, it's also a good idea to keep receipts, or make copy of your receipts, in order to help you keep track of the value of the property you want covered. This sounds tedious, but you can simply snap a clear photo and store it in the cloud
Call your insurance company.
If you've experienced an event (such as a fire or theft) and want to file a claim, it's important to reach out to your insurance company
as soon as possible. While they may send out an adjuster to evaluate the loss, having your checklist and receipts ready will help speed the process up.
Like most insurance policies, renters insurance usually has a deductible associated with it. Of course, the amount of your deductible will vary based on your individual policy.
Once your claim has been evaluated and you've paid the deductible, your insurance company will cover the rest up to the limit of the policy. For example, if you have a $2,000 claim with a $200 deductible, the insurance company would pay the other $1,800.
Renters insurance is important - and it's cheaper than you might think! Get a renters insurance quote or chat with one of our trusted Germania agents for more information!
: There's a lot to learn about insurance in Texas! Read our other blogs about auto insurance
, homeowners insurance
, and umbrella insurance