Renters insurance is a big help when your property is lost, broken or stolen. It’s also a big help when you accidentally damage your rental unit or when a guest is injured at your place.
Like all types of policies, renters coverage does not cover every type of “peril,” or cause of loss. Before you buy a policy, make sure you understand where your renters insurance coverage begins and ends.
So what does renters insurance not cover? Check out these five losses that are likely not part of your renter’s insurance coverage.
What does renters insurance not cover?
1. You move—and don’t tell your insurance company.
If you bought renters insurance in your first apartment, then move to a new city or state, your coverage will not follow you. Crime risk, cost of living, the insurance company’s license to conduct business, premium pricing and other factors change from one location to the next.
So if your new apartment is burglarized a few months after you move in, you might not have any coverage to help you replace the stolen items. Moving? Make sure your policy is updated with your new address—before you unpack.
2. Your aquarium breaks.
You fill your new 90-gallon aquarium and leave town for a few days. While you’re gone, 90 gallons of water leak onto the floor. Does renters insurance coverage include replacing the sodden, and possibly moldy, carpeting? Probably not. “Pet damage” caused by a faulty tank is not covered under most policies.
3. The levee breaks.
If you live near a stream, river or lake, consider a separate policy for flood damage. That’s because renters insurance cover does not cover water damage that affects large areas of land, such as a river overflowing its banks and pushing water into houses and apartment buildings.
But what about storms? Does renters insurance cover hurricane damage? It depends what actually causes the damage.
As always, coverage depends on a variety of circumstances, like the nature of the incident and the details of your plan, so you’ll need to check with your insurer to confirm what your plan covers. Generally, renters insurance covers a list of “perils”—those are specific things that cause damage, like fire or a strike of lightning—rather than broader things, like storms.
Earthquakes can happen anywhere. However, they are a lot more common in Malibu than Miami. And like other natural disasters, from hurricanes to tornados, they tend to affect thousands of apartments, condos, and houses at the same time.
Live in California or another earthquake-prone state? Earthquake insurance will increase your monthly insurance budget. But if you have to replace dishes, TVs or other fragile items after a quake, the premiums will be well worth it. When it comes to the question, “What does renters insurance not cover?” earthquakes are on the list.
5. Trampoline injuries.
A trampoline is an “attractive nuisance.” In insurance lingo, that means a trampoline is a kid magnet. If a child trespasses on your property to play on your trampoline, you are responsible if he or she is injured.
How common are injuries? Extremely common—more than 100,000 a year occur on average. Some injuries are severe, requiring months of hospital care.
Before you get a trampoline, check your policy. Many will not provide any liability coverage for you if a guest (or trespasser) is injured and sues you to help pay medical costs. Some do provide coverage for these attractive nuisances, but only if you follow strict rules for safety and are willing to pay higher premium rates.