The Importance of Renters Insurance for Massachusetts Renters

Renting an apartment or a home can allow the convenience of not having to spend time or money maintaining the property. While you may not be responsible for maintenance of the property itself, your personal possessions inside need to be protected. If you rent in Massachusetts, renters’ insurance is an affordable investment that comes with many benefits in addition to safeguarding your belongings.   

Many people choose the option of renting to be close to their jobs, while saving up to buy their first home and for numerous other reasons. According to Census ACS data, 37.84% of Massachusetts households are renters. (1)  

Renters Insurance is an important coverage that protects the property as well as the liability of the individual unit owners.  

Doesn’t My Landlord’s Policy Protect Me?  

Even though renters represent a third of the population, many have not purchased renters insurance. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, “while 95% of homeowners have homeowners’ insurance, only 41% of renters have renters’ insurance.”(2)  

The low percentage of renters carrying renters’ insurance may be because many mistakenly think that their landlord’s insurance policy protects their individual unit. However, a landlord’s insurance policy covers the apartment building itself as well as the grounds. It DOES NOT cover your personal possessions inside your unit, nor does it protect your personal liability.  

Many landlords and building owners now require their tenants to purchase their own insurance policies.  

The Benefits of Renters Insurance 

Protection for Your Property- Whether you rent an apartment in a large complex, a townhome or a single-family home, your home contains your personal belongings such as clothing, electronics, and furniture.  Often people underestimate the value of their belongings. However, the items inside your apartment can easily be worth thousands of dollars and those items need to be protected by a renters insurance policy.   

Most renters’ insurance policies protect your belongings from common causes of loss such as theft, vandalism, lightning, fire, windstorm, hail, and frozen pipes. If your gas range malfunctions and ignites a kitchen fire, renters’ insurance can help replace any destroyed possessions. It may even provide coverage for a hotel stay, meals and other related expenses if you are unable to live in your apartment while repairs are made.  Similarly, if your home is broken into, renters’ insurance helps to replace your stolen items.  

Each policy has its own set of exclusions and limits, so be sure to check the terms of your individual policy. For instance, some policies may limit coverage on collections of items such as jewelry or wine.  

Protects Your Liability- Your landlord’s liability coverage on the building does not protect the individual unit owner’s (tenants) liability. While standard renters’ insurance policies include liability coverage that travels with you for off premises liability coverage.  

If someone is injured in your home-a friend, the next-door neighbor, or a food delivery person, they could bring a lawsuit against you. Your renter’s insurance policy pays “those sums you become legally obligated to pay due to a covered loss up to the policy limit.” (3) The liability coverage on your renters’ insurance also covers you if you or another person covered by your policy accidentally injures someone.  

Property Protection While Traveling- Renters insurance protects your belongings while in your unit and provides coverage from loss (due to theft or other covered losses, subject to policy limits) for your items while in your car or anywhere you travel.  

Therefore, if someone breaks into your car and steals your laptop and cell phone; your renter’s  insurance may provide coverage. 

Additional Living Expenses-If you experience a covered loss such as a fire that renders your residence uninhabitable, the Loss of Use Coverage in your renters’ policy may cover “additional living expenses.” These may include the cost to stay at a hotel or rent a home temporarily, expenses for meals, laundry and other related expenses while repairs are being made. For example, if your rent is usually $1600 per month and you must stay in a hotel that costs $1800 per month, the additional living expense coverage on your renters’ insurance would provide the difference.  Your Account Manager can inform you if and how long your individual policy will cover additional living expenses and what the limits are.  

Renters Insurance in Massachusetts is Affordable-Several factors influence the cost of your insurance, including how much coverage you need to cover the value of your possessions, where your home is located, and the amount of your deductible. However, you might be surprised to find out how affordable renters’ insurance is. While each person’s coverage needs differ, the average renter’s policy has an annual premium just under $200 (4).

There are many discounts and credits you may qualify for that your Account Manager can help you take advantage of to reduce your insurance costs. For instance, combining your auto and renters’ insurance with the same insurance company could save you an additional 20% on your auto insurance. If your apartment has smoke detectors, burglar alarms or other security devices, you could be eligible for additional premium discounts.  

Couple at Apartment Renters Insurance in Quincy

How Much Renter’s Insurance Do I Need?  

Everyone’s insurance needs are unique. The amount of coverage needed for your circumstances depends upon the quantity and value of your possessions.  

Begin by making a comprehensive list of your belongings. Include the purchase price and any model number or serial numbers. It is helpful to go room by room taking pictures of each item to supplement your list. “Then, estimate the value of your personal possessions, using receipts if you have them. This is the amount of insurance you will need to replace the contents of your home if everything were destroyed.” (5) Our skilled Account Managers partner with you to help determine the proper levels of renter’s insurance for your needs. 

What if I have Roommates?  

If you share an apartment or rent a home with other people who are not your spouse, each tenant should purchase their own renter’s insurance policy. Maintaining separate policies ensures each person’s belongings are protected, along with their liability.  

Replacement Cost Coverage vs Actual Cash Value 

It’s important to know what your policy covers. Some renter’s insurance policies provide actual cash value (ACV) which reimburses you for the cost of your property at the time of the claim, minus your deductible. This type of coverage accounts for depreciation, so if your 5-year-old laptop is stolen from your apartment, you’d be reimbursed for the depreciated value of the laptop.  

Some policies provide for Replacement Cost Coverage (RCC), which reimburses you for the same 5-year-old laptop at current market prices. RCC costs more to purchase but is more accurate compensation for your property.  

Customized Renters Insurance in Massachusetts 

For over 55 years McSweeney & Ricci has helped thousands of individuals and families throughout Massachusetts with personalized renter’s insurance. If you are renting a home or an apartment, renter’s insurance can provide peace of mind that your personal belongings and liability are protected in the event of a loss.  

Allow the experienced professionals at McSweeney & Ricci to develop an insurance program for your individual needs and budget.  In addition to renter’s insurance in Massachusetts, we offer car, boat, umbrella, home, and business insurance. For a complimentary review of your insurance or a free quote for renter’s insurance complete the quote request form on our website or contact one of our Personal Lines Account Managers by calling (844) 501-1359.

Sources:  
  1. Residential Rent Statistics for Massachusetts | Department of Numbers (deptofnumbers.com) 
  2. Only 41 Percent Of Renters Carry Renters Insurance (rentalhousingjournal.com) 
  3. https://blog.cinfin.com/2022/02/01/renters-insurance-tenants/?utm_source=Acoustic&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=&utm_content=202209%20-%20PLD%20Newsletter%20-%20Agent%20(1)&spMailingID=8676684&spUserID=Mjk0Mjk1MDc5MzE4S0&spJobID=1580243301&spReportId=MTU4MDI0MzMwMQS2 
  4. Facts + Statistics: Renters insurance | III 
  5. Renters Insurance | Mass.gov 

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