7 Ways to Show Proof of Renters Insurance to Your Landlord

No one wants to have an apartment break-in happen to them or lose their personal belongings to an unexpected tornado but sometimes life happens. When the unexpected occurs, everyone wants financial coverage and know that they have a backup plan or safeguard in place.

That’s where renters insurance comes in. While property owners will have insurance policies covering the apartment complex and building in place, it’s often up to the tenants to provide their own renters insurance where the policy covers personal belongings. In fact, most landlords are requiring proof of renters insurance to rent their property before signing the lease.

We’ll help you understand the fundamentals of a basic tenant insurance policy and provide ideas on how to show proof of renters insurance if your landlords require it.

What is a renters insurance policy?

Simply put, insurance is protection against financial loss. Renters insurance is a type of insurance policy that’s specific to tenants and renters only. Unlike homeowners insurance, renters insurance does not usually cover the structure of the building, but it does cover the renter’s personal property that’s housed inside the apartment.

Renters insurance exists to protect you and your personal belongings should an incident — like theft or fire — occur while you rent. The insurance policy would then pay you for the damage caused to your belongings. Renters insurance also protects renters from liability in case someone gets hurt within your apartment.

Renters insurance covers property from a burglary

Why every renter needs renters insurance coverage

Landlords are requiring tenants to provide proof of renters insurance. This helps safeguard property managers from liability, but it also protects renters. People who have renters insurance can breathe easy knowing it protects their personal property. Here are a few reasons you need to purchase renters insurance:

  • Offers protection of your personal items from theft or natural disasters
  • Covers you from personal liability if someone is hurt within your apartment
  • Often required to sign a new lease
  • Sometimes required for lease renewal
  • Can save you money should something happen to your personal belongings
  • Provides peace of mind to tenants
  • Helps expedite the rental process and avoid waiting periods if you already have a policy

Regardless of the reason you purchase renters insurance, it’s smart to have it when you live in a rental unit.

What exactly does renters insurance cover?

We’ve talked about the benefits of having renters insurance, but what exactly does renters insurance cover? Your coverage will vary based on your insurance company and policy, but in most cases, renters insurance policies offer these types of coverage:

Personal property coverage

Personal property coverage includes repairs or replacements for lost or damaged property, such as furniture, electronics and clothing. Depending on the policy, it may cover the costs of things like jewelry, but you’ll have to check with your insurance provider to see how much coverage comes with your plan.

Liability coverage

Liability coverage protects the tenant in case an injury occurs to someone within the apartment and needs medical attention. There’s often a cap on how much liability coverage there is, so read your policy carefully.

Renters insurance will cover a hotel room if you

Additional living expenses coverage

Additional living expenses coverage includes the cost of hotel or travel bills should your apartment become unlivable due to an incident that occurs on-site. This part of a policy will not cover property damage to the building itself — that’s usually the landlord’s responsibility — but it will cover your hotel bills while you find a new place to rent.

You’ll likely have increased premiums when you purchase more coverage and it’s up to you to determine how much renters insurance you need and how much coverage your landlord requires. Do your research to select the best policy for you.

How to show proof of renters insurance to your landlord

We’ve mentioned that landlords require proof of insurance to rent a rental property. But how do you show proof of renters insurance to a landlord? Here are several ways to show proof of renters insurance.

1. Provide the declarations page to your landlord

Every renters insurance policy will have a declarations page that outlines the details of your coverage. The declarations page will include things like your name, the policy number and how much coverage you purchased. You can send a digital copy directly to property management as proof.

Send a digital copy to your landlord.

2. Share a digital file with the landlord

You can show digital proof of your insurance by emailing the landlord a copy of the entire policy or the declarations page itself. When you send electronic proof, you have a digital footprint that shows your communication with the landlord. You can even ask your landlord to store this electronic copy on their property management software so you have a record of it.

3. Show them the physical copy of the renters insurance policy

If you’re more old-school, you can print out a physical copy of the policy as a way of showing proof of coverage. Print out a copy for your records and print out a second copy for the landlord to have, as well.

4. Have your insurance agent contact your landlord to confirm

If your landlord will accept verbal confirmation, you can ask the insurance company to call the landlord directly to show proof of insurance. Let your landlord know when your insurance agent will contact them so they can prepare for the call.

5. Add the landlord as an interested party to the policy

On any insurance policy, you can add an interested party to the policy. This is one way to show proof that the tenant has insurance. When the insurance agent is writing the policy, they will add the landlord as an interested party and then, notify the landlord upon completion of the policy.

6. Share the policy number and insurance agency with your landlord

Another way to show proof when renting is to share details of the policy with your landlord. You can share things like the number of the policy, the name of the insurance company and agent or the amount of coverage purchased.

Simply tell your landlord you have renters insurance.

7. Give verbal assurances of your renters insurance policy

Depending on the property managers, you can show proof by giving verbal confirmation of coverage. While this is only as good as your word, some landlords are OK with this type of proof. Keep in mind that there’s often no digital or written record of verbal assurances, so it’s not the most concrete or secure way to show proof of renters insurance.

These are some of the most common and accurate ways to show proof of coverage when property owners require proof.

How much does renters insurance cost?

Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive and ranges from $15 to $20 a month, or $180 to $220 per year. The cost of the policy will depend on how much coverage you purchase. Some landlords will even require that you have a certain amount of coverage, but that varies by location, by the landlord and even by state. When you’re analyzing your budget, it’s important to include renters insurance with your other utilities.

Keep in mind that most policies renew annually and if you don’t automatically renew your policy lapses and you may temporarily lose coverage. You also need to pencil in the cost of compensation for the agent, if they charge a fee to draft a policy.

Signing the renters insurance policy.

How to get a renters insurance policy of your own

If you’re trying to rent an apartment and can’t sign the lease until you have proof of renters insurance, then it’s time to find a policy for you. There are ways to find an insurance agency who you get you set up:

  • Ask your new landlord for a recommendation
  • Use your existing insurance agency and bundle it with your car insurance, for example, to save money
  • Use an online comparison tool to find an insurance company
  • Do an online search to find an insurance agency
  • Ask your neighbors who they use
  • Go to your local insurance broker

Proof of renters insurance is key

Once your policy is in place, you’ll be happy to know that you can then sign the lease, move into your new apartment and feel secure knowing you’re protected from the unexpected.

Source: apartmentguide.com

Can You Back Out of a Lease Before Moving In?

You may face penalties and even end up in court if you break a lease before moving in.

It’s exciting to find an affordable apartment located in your ideal neighborhood. But, because life is unpredictable, situations arise that can alter even the most solid plans. You’ll want to know, “Can I cancel a lease before it starts and how long after signing a lease can I back out?”

Breaking a lease

When you sign a lease agreement, you have entered into a binding contract. That means that as a tenant, you have agreed to fulfill certain duties and obligations. Among them is to pay rent on time.

By signing the lease, the landlord also agrees to specific responsibilities. For example, the landlord must make the rented space habitable and furnished with heat.

Not occupying a rental after signing the lease is not, in and of itself, considered a breach of contract. However, not paying rent because you did not move in is.

Early termination

When a landlord or tenant fails to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations they accepted by signing the lease agreement, early termination of the contract occurs. Any scenario that leads to the terms of the lease going unfulfilled can escalate to an early termination situation.

As soon as you learn you can’t move into your apartment, review your lease to check your options.



What is an early termination letter?

An early termination letter is a written request from a tenant to end the lease sooner than agreed. A landlord does not have to OK the request. However, they do have to make reasonable efforts to get the apartment re-rented as soon as possible.

If the landlord accepts the reason you’re seeking an early end to your lease, they may agree.

If nothing else, sending such a document proves you gave the landlord notice of your intention not to occupy the premises. It’s important to keep a paper trail of your attempts to help the landlord mitigate the losses they may incur due to your early termination.

Contents of an early termination letter

A letter to terminate a lease early should contain specific information, including details as to why you’re seeking the unexpected termination of the rental contract:

  • The tenant’s name
  • Updated contact information
  • The address the tenant is vacating
  • The date you’ll terminate the lease
  • The reason for ending the lease early
  • A summary of the penalties and fees you acknowledge caused by ending the lease earlier than originally agreed
  • Information as to how to return the apartment’s keys, garage opener, etc.
  • The tenant’s forwarding address
  • The current date
  • The tenant’s signature

The date of the letter is important. If, for example, a would-be tenant signed an apartment lease in January with a move-in date of June but then sent a letter of early termination to the landlord in February, it could be argued they had plenty of time to find a replacement tenant. That could reduce the fees or other penalties the would-be resident might be required to pay for not fulfilling the lease terms.

Potential penalties

A person can’t just walk away from a signed and legally binding rental agreement without expecting to incur fees or penalties.

For example, if the signed lease contained an early termination provision requiring a tenant breaking the agreement early to pay a penalty of two months’ rent, that must occur to cancel it.

credit score

credit score

Impact on your credit score

Negative information on your credit report stemming from ending your lease early could impact your credit score. The good news is that not every landlord reports early terminations to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S.

If you secured utility services for the abode, it’s your responsibility to notify them of your change in circumstances. If not, you could be facing hefty bills for utilities you never used.

Meanwhile, many utility companies report late or missed payments to credit reporting agencies. That hurts a credit score.

Exceptions to every rule

Laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship vary by state. But many jurisdictions permit early termination in specific situations, including:

  • If the landlord did not maintain the property in a habitable condition, as defined state-by-state
  • Your inability to experience the quiet enjoyment of your home due to the unreasonable behavior of the landlord, other tenants, their guests or some other reason. The interferences must occur over a period of time, not just once.
  • Being called up for active military duty after signing the lease but before entering the military. If you signed the agreement after joining the service, the lease might be ended early if the deployment orders are for 90 days or longer or permanently alter your station.
  • You experience harassment or are in danger by remaining in the rental. In many states, victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault, among other crimes, allow you to terminate a lease early.
  • When a lease includes an early termination provision, you must meet its conditions for the agreement to end early

U.S. Courthouse

U.S. Courthouse

See you in court?

Unless the tenant has a legally justifiable reason for ending a lease early, a landlord can sue for past due rent and other losses caused by the improper termination. If the landlord receives a judgment, they can garnish your wages or bank accounts to get paid. The judgment would also be noted on your credit report, and that’s a huge ding.

Moving on

Sometimes, life’s unpredictability causes situations that can cost people dearly, financially and otherwise. Reading and understanding your lease before signing it can go a long way towards mitigating any damages that result from an early end to a lease agreement.

Source: rent.com

Understanding the 50/20/30 Rule: Our Easy-to-Follow Guide

Figuring out and sticking to a budget isn’t super fun for most people but it certainly is a smart way to to handle your money.

The 50/20/30 rule is one of many budgeting plans that help us get spending under control. This plan works well for households where no more than 50% of the money coming is spent on living expenses. As housing prices rise across the country, this is becoming more difficult for many Americans.

The 50/20/30 budget plan was popularized by Vermont Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a bankruptcy expert and creator of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, and her daughter, business executive Amelia Warren Tyagi, in their co-authored book, “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.”

The book was published in 2006, prior to the Great Recession and the housing bubble burst. Since that time, income inequality has risen, and recently inflation has gotten out of control.

How to Use the 50/20/30 Budget Plan

Using this budget plan isn’t particularly difficult but will require you to assess monthly expenses in comparison with household income. The goal of the 50/20/30 budget is to break down your monthly after-tax income and focus your spending in three broad categories: Essential living (50%), financial goals (20%) and personal spending (30%).

While this budgeting method might have worked for many middle-income families when it was published, the number of households it actually applies to is shrinking. However, if you live in that sweet spot, the 50/20/30 budget can still be a great strategy to implement.

Essential Living: 50%

With the 50/20/30 budget, you should spend 50% of your income on essential living expenses. These can include:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Groceries
  • Car insurance and/or car payments
  • Phone and internet
  • Gas for your work commute
  • Credit card and loan minimum payments
  • Other: Bills that are essential and probably no fun at all. Examples include prescription medicine or daycare costs.

Let’s take a closer look at these numbers and see just why they can be so unrealistic for so many people.

The average American household brought in $67,521 in 2020 – and that was before the economic impact of the pandemic. That averages out to about $5,627/month before taxes.

According to Realtor.com, the average rent in March 2022 was $1,807/month across the top 50 metro areas. According to the USDA, a thrifty family of four can currently expect to pay over $901/month for groceries. These two expenses alone push the family up to 48% of their monthly income.

So if you have utilities? Car payments? Insurance or phone bills? If you’re the average American household — or, heaven forbid, lower-income — you can forget about it. The 50/20/30 budget won’t work for you because your basic expenses take up more than 50% of your take-home pay.

Financial Goals: 20%

Let’s say you are lucky enough to have your basic expenses account for 50% or less of your monthly take-home pay. You’d then want to look at your financial goals, allocating another 20% of your monthly budget to the cause.

Financial goals can include things like:

  • Investments: This includes your 401(k) and all other investments. Don’t have any yet? It’s never too late to start investing.
  • Savings: One of the biggest steps to financial health is having emergency savings so you don’t step backward every time an unexpected expense pops up.
  • Debt-reduction payments: This is for payments on your credit cards, student loans and any other debts that are above the minimum payment.

Personal Spending: 30%

This is the category that makes this budget work for the budget-averse — when they have a high enough income, that is.

Personal spending is all of the stuff you like to spend money on but don’t really need. And at 30% of your monthly income, that can mean a lot of freedom.These expenses can include things like:

  • Dining out
  • Vacations
  • Going out for movies or drinks
  • Netflix and other in-home entertainment options
  • Shopping for clothes, decor, etc.

Now, here’s where you have to get careful at higher income levels. Let’s say both you and your spouse pull in $200,000/year each. That makes your monthly household income about $33,333/month.

That means 30% of your budget would be $11,111.

Could you spend that much on personal spending every month?


But odds are you’d really have to try. For high-income households, you’re probably going to want to readjust your percentages so they’re more oriented towards your financial goals rather than pursuing lavish expenses every single month.

Getting to a place where the 50/20/30 rule could work

Most people don’t fit into the 50/20/30 budget because their income is too low and their essential expenses are too high. If you find yourself in this boat, here are some things that can help on the saving money side:

And here are some ways you can side hustle to increase your income:

When the 50/20/30 Budget Works

This method works well for those within certain income limits who are new to budgeting, or are put off by rigid spreadsheets.

Splitting your expenses into these three broad categories will get you thinking about the value of your purchases, while providing flexibility as you find your frugal footing.

And by building discretionary spending into your financial plan, you’ll be able to enjoy what’s most important to you while you find places to cut spending.

When the 50/20/30 Budget Doesn’t Work

For some, the numbers simply won’t add up.

Maybe you have two jobs and still can’t earn double the price of rent in your area. Maybe your daycare options are limited. Or maybe your student loan debt eats up most of your paycheck.

For others, you may need to adjust the percentages if you make so much money that 30% on personal spending would be ridiculous.

If the 50/20/30 budget isn’t for you, that’s OK.

There are plenty of other budgeting methods to choose from:

  • Zero-based budgeting
  • Envelope budgeting
  • Bare-bones budgeting
  • Bullet journal budgeting
  • Kakeibo
  • Calendar budgeting
  • Half-payment method
  • Paycheck budgeting

What’s most important is that you zero in on eliminating debt and growing your personal wealth, regardless of the budgeting method you choose to use.

Pittsburgh-based writer Brynne Conroy is the founder of the Femme Frugality blog and the author of “The Feminist Financial Handbook.” She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Former Penny Hoarder writer Tyler Omoth contributed to this report. 

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

A Complete Renter’s Guide To Understanding Your Apartment Lease Agreement

Here’s an overview of the types of lease agreements and important terms to understand before signing on the dotted line.

Renting your first place with a roommate or paying rent on your own for the first time means you need to submit a rental application to rent a residential property. Once a landlord accepts your rental application, you’ll review and sign an apartment lease agreement.

Understanding the terms of a rental lease agreement is important for both the landlord and tenant. Legally binding contracts are not something a property owner or property management company takes lightly.

It’s important for both the tenant and property manager to understand what’s included in an apartment lease agreement before it’s signed.

The lease agreement also protects both parties since the terms can’t change once it gets signed. The landlord can’t change the monthly rent amount or add a pet fee if the lease doesn’t include a pet policy.

What is a rental lease agreement?

A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between the landlord and tenant for a particular piece of real estate. It outlines the rules agreed upon by both the landlord and the tenant in clear lease terms. The lease agreement includes important details, including the type of real estate, monthly rent amount and the lease term.

A security deposit is part of lease agreements, even in a month-to-month lease agreement. Sometimes, house rules include a pet policy not allowing pets or no smoking allowed in the unit or on the real estate property. These house rules should be in the lease agreement so there are no misunderstandings.

Verbal agreements are difficult to enforce. Anything discussed should be in the final rental or lease agreement. A verbal agreement is useless if one of the parties forgets what they said or flat out denies it.

If a landlord doesn’t offer aan apartment lease agreement, a tenant could ask for one.

Read your rental lease agreement and know what it means.

Read your rental lease agreement and know what it means.

Types of leases in a rental agreement

There are many lease agreements available when someone rents a property.

Most fixed-term lease agreements include a lease period of 12 months. A month-to-month rental lease agreement is not uncommon. Each rental lease agreement includes how much rent the tenant pays each month and when the monthly rent amount is due. It also notes the security deposit amount, whether there’s a pet deposit and the lease end date.

It also includes other details, such as who is responsible for utilities, property maintenance, property repairs and whether parking is available as part of the real estate to those who pay rent or if it’s included in the monthly rent.

Legal terms, monthly rent details and other things in an apartment lease agreement

A lease agreement is a legally binding contract. Take the time to read it so you know what you’re renting, what you can do on the property and what you can’t.

While many are standard agreements, each rental agreement should outline, for example, how much advance notice you need to provide should the lease end date need to change or what the pet policy is for the rental properties.

Governing law refers to the state laws that govern the lease. In most cities, standard residential leases are governed by and construed in accordance with state laws.

It’s important to review the rental lease agreement closely as it outlines what is considered normal wear and tear.

For example, if a tenant decides to paint the whole apartment or remove blinds and put in curtains and there’s no written consent as part of the lease terms, the security deposit may not be returned if the rental property manager needs to pay to have the unit repainted or add blinds.

What each section means in a sample lease

Lease agreements are pretty standard but it’s good to note what each should include. Here are what each section means in a sample lease.

Property details

The rental lease agreement should include basic facts about the rental property. Each agreement includes the address, landlord or property manager’s name and contact information. It notes when the lease begins and ends, the monthly rent amount and what the monthly rent includes, such as appliances and parking.



Payments, deposits, lease termination, late fees

In addition to how much rent is expected every month, the lease agreement should make it clear when each month’s rent is due by and what, if any, late fees can be expected if you pay rent late. If you have a roommate, what might happen should one of you need to end the lease early?

Does the lease agreement note you’ll need to provide the first month’s rent and last month’s rent and a security deposit?

If a security deposit is due upon the signing of the lease, how is it handled upon lease termination? What’s considered normal wear and tear and what will be covered by a security deposit?

How much advance notice does a tenant need to give a landlord of their intent not to renew a lease once the lease expires or once the landlord lets the tenant know the monthly rent amount will increase? It should note the monthly rental rate does not increase during the fixed period of the lease.

Resigning or breaking your lease

Life happens, a new job opportunity in another city presents itself or something happens in which you need to break your lease. There are things your landlord will appreciate as part of a good landlord-tenant relationship.

It’s a good idea to review the details of the agreement, including what kind of advance notice you must give. There could be many reasons why you may have to break your lease. It’s important to know what’s at stake if you have to break a lease. You could lose your security deposit and your last month’s rent. You could also be responsible for finding someone to sublet your apartment or need to pay each month’s rent until your lease ends.

Include everything in writing to save time and money

Renting a new apartment can be a fun experience. Knowing the terms of your new home by reviewing the lease agreement can save both time and headaches in the short and long term. Having this legally binding agreement can help avoid misunderstandings, too.

Source: rent.com

How to File a Renters Insurance Claim (Process for Payouts on a Loss)

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Additional Resources

You knew your building’s plumbing was old, but you thought you’d be out of there before anything terrible happened to it. 

An inch of water (and counting) and several panicked calls to your property manager later, you admit you thought wrong. Now, you’re left with the massive, thankless job of replacing numerous possessions, including your mattress, bookcase, and computer, ruined by the burst water pipe in your bedroom ceiling. 

It’s a good thing you have renters insurance — because you’re about to put your insurance company’s promises to the test. 

How to File a Renters Insurance Claim

Renters insurance covers property losses of the sort caused by a burst pipe in your apartment ceiling — or any other peril mentioned in your renters insurance policy. It’s known as personal property coverage.

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Usually, it also covers medical and liability claims arising from mishaps in your rental unit. For example, it would cover the party guest who slips on your slick kitchen floor and breaks their ankle or the delivery person who tumbles down your rental house’s icy front steps and suffers a concussion.

The claims-filing process is similar for both types of claims, but you’ll notice some differences in the order of operations.

Filing a Claim for Property Loss or Damage

Depending on the circumstances, a renters insurance claim for property loss or damage begins with a police report or a call to the property manager. You must then document the damage — comprehensively.

Don’t throw anything away or clean up until you’ve completed all these steps. If you erase evidence before the insurance company has fully investigated, you could jeopardize your claim. That said, if the property owner needs to make basic repairs to ensure the property remains habitable or not repairing the damage would make it worse, it’s OK to do what’s necessary. 

1. File a Police Report (if Applicable)

If your possessions are damaged in the course of a potential violation of law, call the police and file a report. 

“Potential violation of law” could mean any of the following:

  • Vandalism
  • Burglary
  • Suspicious fire
  • Theft by a guest

More ambiguous incidents, like a fuel explosion inside or outside your building, warrant a police report too. Incidents like a burst pipe or rough weather don’t require a police report.

The police report is vital because it backs up the story you’ll tell the insurance company. It’s an impartial record of the incident — and the extent of the damage — taken by a respected third party.

When dealing with the police, get the name and badge number of every officer and investigator you speak with, even if they don’t visit your apartment in person. Ensure they take copious photos of the damage, and request a copy of the report when it’s done.

2. Contact Your Property Manager

Next, contact the owner or property manager and let them know what happened. If you live in a multiunit building and the incident affected more units than just yours, they might already know, but call them anyway.

The owner or manager probably won’t help you file your renters insurance claim, but they need to know about the incident because they might need to file an insurance claim of their own. Regardless, they’ll want to assess the condition of your unit or the building itself. Be sure to document any lingering hazards, such as:

  • Broken windows
  • Damaged doors or locks
  • Exposed pipes or wiring
  • Suspected gas leaks
  • Nonfunctioning utilities (such as the power being out or the water being off)

If you feel uncomfortable remaining in your unit due to safety concerns or simply can’t stay there, tell the property manager right away. Your renters insurance policy might cover temporary relocation costs, such as staying in a hotel for a week or two while your unit undergoes repairs.

3. Contact the Insurance Company

Your next call goes to your renters insurance company or to your insurance agent if you need their help to file the claim. 

You might be able to file straightforward claims through your insurance company’s website. Look for a File a Claim button or tab on the homepage. But it’s not a bad idea to call the company or your agent directly if you have questions about the process, aren’t sure your policy covers the incident, or want to figure out whether it’s worth it to file a smaller claim. 

4. Document the Damage or Loss

If you filed a police report, the investigators assigned to your case will take photos and make notes of the damage. But you shouldn’t rely on their report to be the sole record of the incident.

So once you’ve made your initial calls, take the time to document what happened meticulously. Take photos and videos of the scene as you found it. Take photos of individual items that sustained damage. Create a list of damaged, destroyed, or stolen goods with the price paid for each and an estimate of the current replacement value. Make copies of receipts or invoices for any expenses incurred due to the incident, including replacements for damaged or stolen possessions and bills for temporary lodging if your apartment is uninhabitable.

If you’ve previously taken a home inventory, include it in your documentation. A home inventory helps back up your claim and could make it easier for the insurance company to reimburse you quickly. Not having one doesn’t mean the insurance company will deny your claim, but it does increase the chances of an insurance adjuster visiting the premises. 

5. Submit the Claim

You’re now ready to submit your claim. Visit your insurance company’s website to download or fill out the required forms and upload photos, videos, notes, and the police report to support your claim. 

If you’re having trouble finding the required forms or submitting your information electronically, contact your insurance company or your insurance agent. Your agent might offer to file the claim on your behalf, though you must be available to answer the insurance company’s questions.

Be sure to file your claim before any deadline imposed by your insurance company. This deadline could come as little as 48 hours after the incident. If more information comes to light or you incur additional expenses after you file, you can update your claim.

6. Prepare for the Investigation & Claims Adjuster Visit

If your claim is fairly small and straightforward, the insurance company might take you at your word and accept your claim without much trouble. In this case, you can start cleaning up your place and move on to the next step — reviewing your settlement offer.

If your claim’s value is higher, the circumstances are murky, or you haven’t provided enough documentation to support your claim, your insurance company could investigate further. Wait to throw out damaged possessions or clean up your space until you hear back.

If your insurer wants to investigate further, expect a call and possibly a visit from a claims adjuster. This person’s job is to verify your story and determine how much compensation you actually deserve for the loss. 

If they visit the property, they’ll take pictures of the damage and make notes for their own report. Be prepared to point out less obvious evidence of damages or losses, and have your home inventory handy to corroborate your claims.

The claims adjuster might also want to talk to others involved in or who have knowledge of the incident. That could include your roommates, houseguests, and the property owner or manager. It could also include the police investigator who wrote up your report.

7. Review the Settlement Offer 

If the insurance company accepts your claim, you’ll receive a settlement offer. 

It’s a formal payout offer for the amount the insurance company is willing to pay to settle your claim after subtracting your policy deductible. It could be about what you thought the damage or loss was worth — less the deductible — or significantly less, depending on how the insurance company values the claim. 

A lot depends on whether the insurance company uses replacement value or actual value when calculating your total personal property claim value. Replacement cost pegs the value of lost or damaged items at what it actually costs to buy new replacements for them. In contrast, actual value (or actual cash value) takes depreciation into account. The difference can be stark: A three-year-old TV with a replacement value of $500 might have an actual cash value of just $100 or $150. 

If your policy has a maximum coverage amount for certain types of personal belongings claims and your place sustained a lot of damage or became uninhabitable for months, you could find your total payout capped at an amount much lower than what you deserve. 

In either case, it’s your responsibility to review the settlement offer and determine whether it’s acceptable to you. If you’re not sure, ask your insurance agent. 

Filing a Claim for Personal Liability and Medical Payments

Renters insurance covers more than your personal possessions. It also protects you from costly liability issues arising from mishaps in your rented home. Without it, you could be on the hook for houseguests’ medical bills, among other injury-related expenses.

Filing a personal liability or medical expenses claim with your rental insurance company is a bit different from filing a property damage claim. To get it done, follow these steps in order.

1. Document the Damage

First, take copious photos and videos of the scene of the incident as soon as you can. For example, if a guest at a party you hosted fell through a railing on your second-floor unit’s balcony, you’d want to take photos of the damaged railing and the area where they hit the ground. 

Next, create a record of the incident as you remember it. If no video record exists, a written record will have to suffice. Describe where you were when it occurred, how you became aware of it, and the sequence of events that followed. 

2. Give Your Insurance Information to the Injured Person

You won’t be filing this claim yourself — the injured person will. To do that, they need your insurance information: company name, your name, and policy number.

It’s their responsibility to reach out to you about this, either directly or through a lawyer. However, you should do everything in your power to help them file the claim, including giving them your insurance agent’s contact information or helping them navigate your insurance company’s online claims forms. 

3. The Injured Person Submits the Claim

When they’re ready to file, the injured person submits their claim to your insurance company. They’ll provide hospital bills, physical therapy bills, receipts for medical equipment like crutches or wheelchairs — any costs arising from their injury. 

Don’t worry about submitting your photos, videos, and notes on the incident at this time. But do hold onto them until the injured party settles the claim, as your insurance company may want to review them.

4. Prepare for the Investigation & Claims Adjuster Visit

Be available to answer any questions from your insurance company during the investigation, and don’t be surprised if they send a claims adjuster to assess the scene of the incident. If you haven’t already done so, the claims adjuster visit is a good time to share your own documentation.

5. The Injured Person Reviews the Settlement Offer 

After completing its investigation, the insurance company sends the injured person a settlement offer for review. If they accept, the insurance company reimburses them and closes the claim. 

For medical-only claims, your insurance company typically covers the portion of the injured person’s medical bills not covered by their own health insurance. 

For personal liability claims, where the injured person sues you for damages, your insurance company covers the amount of the judgment and the injured person’s legal fees if you lose. If you win, your policy might cover your legal fees, but you won’t owe anything to the injured person.

Remember that reimbursement kicks in only after you hit your policy deductible. If the claim is worth $10,000 and your liability deductible is $1,000, the insurer covers $9,000 and you pay $1,000 out of pocket.

Likewise, every renters insurance policy has a personal liability and medical expense coverage limit. If the victim’s injuries are severe, you could blow through this limit. Umbrella insurance provides an additional layer of liability protection — typically starting at $1 million — in such cases.

Renters Insurance Claim FAQs

Filing a renters insurance claim can be confusing and stressful. These are some of the most common questions that come up during the process.

How Long Does the Renters Insurance Claims Process Take?

It depends on the type of claim, the claim value, and what caused the damage or injury.

The insurance company can usually resolve simple, lower-value renters insurance claims within a business day. You file the claim online and upload supporting documentation, and the insurance company gets back to you with a settlement offer within hours.

More complicated claims can take days or weeks to resolve. You might need to provide more documentation, including receipts for expenses incurred days or weeks after the event. If the claim involves significant damage to your unit, you’ll likely need to wait for a claims adjuster to visit and write a report about what happened too.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Temporary Living Expenses?

Some renters insurance policies do cover additional living expenses if you’re forced to move out of your unit temporarily. Usually, the policy caps this coverage at a specific amount of money or number of days.

Check your policy for details about this type of coverage. If you don’t have it and think you need it, ask your insurance company or insurance agent to price it out for you. Temporary living expense coverage will increase your premium, but you’ll be glad you have it if you have to move out of a damaged apartment.

Will Filing a Renters Claim Affect My Insurance Rate?

Probably. How much is a more interesting question. 

Generally, liability, fire, and theft claims increase premiums more than medical claims. Don’t be surprised if your premium jumps by 20% or more after a fire or theft claim. Medical bill-only claims should still increase your premium, but by a more reasonable rate — typically under 20%, depending on your insurer. 

What Happens if the Insurance Company Denies My Claim?

It depends on why the insurance company denied your claim. 

Sometimes, there’s not much you can do about a denied claim. If your policy specifically excludes the type of incident or expense, your insurer has every right to deny the claim. Even if your policy covers the claim type under normal circumstances, a smaller claim might fail to hit your deductible.

That said, if your claim is truly legitimate and the insurance company denies it anyway, whether due to suspected fraud or a differing interpretation of your policy’s terms, you can appeal. It’s a time-consuming process that requires you to submit additional documentation, but it’ll pay off if the insurer reverses its decision.

If the company denies your appeal, you can hire an insurance attorney to press your case. They’re well-versed in insurance legalese and can craft arguments you wouldn’t even know to make. In the worst case, they can take your insurer to court.

Final Word

Filing a renters insurance claim could be easier than you think. The best renters insurance companies generally have online or app-based claims processes that let you submit and get approval for uncomplicated claims without ever meeting face-to-face with a claims adjuster.

Even if you have to welcome a claims adjuster into your apartment, it’s not the end of the world. If you’ve filed a police report, documented the damage or injuries, and kept good records of your expenses, your chances of getting a legitimate claim approved are quite good.

Sure, the process takes some time. But that’s a reasonable price to pay for avoiding a big hit to your bottom line.

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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Source: moneycrashers.com