The short answer is yes, landlords can require a tenant to purchase and maintain renter’s insurance as a requirement of the lease. However, the longer answer to this question is, as the renter, you should welcome this requirement. Yes, we said welcome - here’s why.
Did you know that in the event of a fire, flood or catastrophe your landlord’s policy covers everything that is important to them. This includes, the structure of the building; windows, doors, plumbing and electrical systems, detached garage and fencing. There is nothing in the landlord’s policy that protects anything within the four walls of your living space. That means that your 55” HD television, laptop, gaming system, wireless speaker system, expensive cell phone, furniture, artwork and jewelry are NOT covered under the landlord’s policy.
Now for the good news. A few interesting facts about renter’s insurance include:
It is Inexpensive
It can also cover you for personal liability (Personal liability occurs in the event of an accident, inside or outside of your home, that results in bodily injury or property damage, that you are held legally responsible for)
It can give you a 15-20% (on average) discount on your car insurance if you bundle your renter’s policy with the same carrier as your auto insurance.
Another benefit to having renter’s insurance is that if your home becomes unlivable due to water or fire damage or any other covered peril, renter's insurance can also cover your temporary living expenses.
Indulge us for a minute and play this game. Take a look around your home or apartment and do some simple math in your head. Try to attach a dollar value to each item in your line of vision. What is the value of the couch you are sitting on? How about the television and everything within the TV stand drawers below the TV? Don’t forget the new mattress and box spring you recently purchased. Again, assign a value to everything within your view. It’s surprising how quickly it all adds up, right?
Don’t learn this lesson the hard way. Regardless of if your landlord requires you to obtain renter’s insurance or not, do yourself a favor and purchase it. Protect yourself, protect your property.
Now take that camera phone of yours and create a digital asset library by documenting your belongings. In the event of an insurable loss, you’ll be happy you created this archive in addition to purchasing renter’s insurance.