Even though tenants don’t own the places that they live in, they’re still exposed to several potential risks. Renters insurance generally helps people who lease residences in Massachusetts protect themselves and their belongings from covered risks.
Renters insurance might be compared to homeowners insurance, but the two products aren’t identically. Since renters policies are adapted to meet the needs of renters, they usually don’t include structural coverage (which homeowners policies normally do). Instead, it’s often the landlord’s responsibility to procure a policy that insures their building against perils like wind and lighting.
Most everyone who leases a residence in Massachusetts can benefit from having a renters policy in place. This includes (but isn’t limited to) the following:
Renters who lease their permanent residence
Snowbirds who lease a winter residence
Vacationers who lease a coastal residence for the season
Out-of-state workers who lease a residence while working in Alabama
College students who lease a space off campus
Most renters policies include three primary protections:
Personal Property Coverage, which may protect belongings that a policyholder owns
Personal Liability Coverage, which may protect against certain potential liability lawsuits
Additional Living Expenses Coverage, which may cover alternative housing following a disaster
In addition to these three primary protections, some renters policies might offer other coverages as standard or optional features. Tenants who know of another specific coverage that they want should speak with an insurance agent who specializes in renters policies. A specialized agent will be familiar with what coverages are available and what policies offer them.
The renters liability insurance protections included in a policy, such as personal liability coverage, normally help pay legal fees, judgements and settlements associated with covered claims. In many cases, renters liability insurance protections will begin paying legal fees for covered claims as soon as the claim is filed -- and before there’s a final judgement or settlement.
The personal property coverage offered in renters policies is frequently written as either actual cash value coverage or replacement cost coverage. Policies with actual cash value coverage normally protect belongings up to their fair-market value, which takes into account depreciation. Those that have replacement cost coverage typically protect belongings up to the price that it’d cost to replace them, which often is more than the depreciated value.
Renters policies are given abbreviations within the insurance industry, and their abbreviations tend to start with “HO” because they’re grouped with homeowners policies. Most policies that have the same abbreviation will offer similar protections.
An HO-4 renters policy is a fairly standard renters policy. It’s suitable for many tenants’ needs, and those who do need more coverage frequently end up building on the foundational protections offered by an HO-4 policy.
Renters policies are often quite affordable, and they’re almost certainly more affordable than facing a major disaster without any coverage in place. In many cases, tenants are able to qualify for premium discounts by bundling other insurance policies with a renters policy. (Car insurance, for instance, can frequently be bundled with a renters policy.)
For help finding renters insurance, contact the independent insurance agents at Roger Keith & Sons Insurance. Our agents have assisted many Massachusetts residents with their renters coverage needs, and the team is ready to help you.