Renting an apartment, condo or single family dwelling is a great alternative to owning a stand-a-lone house when you want to minimize the maintenance owning a home requires. The US Census Bureau estimates that 1/3 of all families live in rented structures. Rough insurance estimates suggest that as many as 3/4’s of rental unit tenants do not have renters insurance on either their personal property or for their liability. The choice to insure one’s property is certainly not lost on us but it seems that tenants would recognize their property isn’t just exposed to their negligence, but to the negligence of the other tenants in the same building. The careless smoker next door who or the person downstairs that falls asleep while cooking are real examples of people who started their apartment units on fire in this area in just the last twelve months. Other examples include grills put away while burning, and of course, the electrical fires and similar losses.
Renters insurance policies are issued to people on the Homeowner policy HO-4 coverage form. The tenant form of the homeowner policy is known as an HO4 policy. Many better apartment property owners are now requiring their tenants to have coverage for their property and liability protection for the times when they be negligent in a loss that has occurred. Unless there is gross negligence by the apartment property owner, you should not expect their insurance coverage will pay for your loss. In many cases today property owners are asking for at least $100,000 in personal liability coverage on renters insurance policies for just the reasons noted in the first paragraph. The damage you do to the building due to your negligence like careless smoking, cooking accidents, or otherwise, could result in you being sued for the damage in a court. In that case the renters insurance policy will provide your defense against the claims. Liability is an important coverage in a HO4 tenant homeowner policy.
Understanding the renters Insurance policy starts with understanding the coverage that is provided in the standard policy. This is where I can help you. Once coverage is provided, the choices you make are specified on your declaration page. While the coverage may be reported slightly different from company to company, your coverage is always listed on the declaration and, if it isn’t listed you probably don’t have the coverage. Some coverage may appear on your policy as endorsements rather than in the declaration page but you should be able to find all the coverage you have bought listed on the declaration page and under an endorsement number. Here are the common coverage parts for a homeowner property policy form for tenants (HO4):
Section I – Property Coverage
- Coverage A – No coverage – you do not own the structure
- Coverage B – No coverage – you do not own the structure
- Coverage C – Contents and Personal Property – Minimum coverage begins at $15-20,000
- Coverage D – Additional Living Expense – Minimum of 20% of coverage “C”
Section II – Liability and Medical Payments
- Coverage E – Personal Liability Coverage – $100,000 is minimum with most companies
- Coverage F – Premises Medical Payment – $1,000 is minimum with most companies
Most companies now require a $1,000 deductible that applies to property (Section 1) losses.
Here is a link to a typical declaration page that you might received for your home insurance: Home Insurance Dec Page Infographic . It is not exactly the same as an HO4 policy but is similar to what you will have on a renters insurance policy with the exceptions of the coverage noted above.
As few as one tenant is four has coverage either for their property or their liability. Many property owners are now requiring tenant insurance for their rental customers. Cost for an HO4 policy is as low as $10 per month. Considering that your property to the negligence and hazards created by your fellow tenants in an apartment building, it doesn’t make sense not to have an inexpensive HO4 policy. Many companies will give a multi-policy discount to help lower the cost of auto insurance so ask about an Tenant insurance policy quote today.
About the Agent and Agency
No question is too simple. Ask me a question. That is why I am here. I have almost four decades of experience working with home and renters insurance clients and am available Monday – Friday from 9 – 5 most days to give advice and help you with your insurance needs. Reach me at (513) 779-7920. Or, stop by the offices at 8114 Paul Manors Dr., West Chester, OH. We’re here from 9-5 most days. Appointments for all other hours are by appointment. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Property Insurance Topics
- Homeowners Insurance
- Condo Insurance
- Renters Insurance
- Landlord Insurance
- Mobile Home Insurance