Providing Proof of Renters Insurance
When applying for a new apartment, prospective tenants need to provide landlords with certain documentation to be considered as a tenant, such as their ID, rental history, and credit report. Once a tenant is approved for an apartment, they only need to submit a security deposit before getting their keys and moving. However, some landlords require tenants to obtain renters insurance, as well. Although renters insurance isn’t required by state or federal law, property owners have the right to make a renters insurance policy a requirement.
Renters insurance is fairly easy to obtain, however, not all renters know how to provide proof of purchase. In this blog, we’ll cover why a landlord may require renters insurance, how to obtain renters insurance, and how to provide proof of renters insurance. We'll also briefly go over what renters insurance covers and how much you can expect to pay for a policy.
Why do some landlords require renters insurance?
Most property owners have both a landlord insurance policy and homeowners insurance policy to protect themselves and their investment property. While these insurance policies cover the property owner in emergencies, they don't cover the tenant.
In the event of a fire, for example, a landlord insurance policy would cover physical damages sustained to the property, as well as liability coverage for the landlord. However, a tenant’s personal belongings wouldn't be covered. Anything damaged in the fire, such as furniture, clothes, and electronics, would have to be replaced at the tenant's expense. It’s also important to note that a landlord's liability coverage does not extend to you as their tenant. If a guest were to hurt themselves in your apartment and sue you, your landlord’s insurance policy wouldn’t be of any use to you.
As a result, obtaining your own renters insurance is a good idea, even if your landlord doesn’t require it. Most renters insurance policies provide up to $30,000 of coverage; however, how much coverage you'll need will depend on the total dollar value of your belongings.
What does renters insurance cover?
Protection varies from one policy to another, but generally, renters insurance coverage includes the following:
- Personal property coverage: The loss of furniture, clothing, shoes, electronics, and any other personal items housed within a tenant’s room or unit are covered. Items that are stolen or damaged outside of your apartment are also covered to some extent.
- Personal liability coverage: This refers to the medical and legal costs associated with an injury-related lawsuit brought against the tenant. This covers accidents that take place within your home, such as a guest's injury, as well as some incidents that take place outside of your home, such as dog bites.
- Loss of use: This entails the extra living expenses incurred as a result of being displaced from your primary home. If your rental unit became unhabitable for a period of time, renters insurance would cover the cost of hotel rooms and restaurant meals while you wait for repairs.
How can I provide proof of renters insurance?
When property managers ask for proof of renters insurance, they’ll usually have an idea of how they want this proof presented. If they don’t explicitly state what they'll accept as proof of renters insurance, make sure to ask them. It may take your renter's insurance company some time to come up with the appropriate documentation, or they may not be able to present the kind of proof required by your landlord at all.
It's always best to ask your landlord if they recommend a specific renters insurance company based on their experience. Not only will this ensure you're able to produce the proof your landlord is looking for, but it'll also allow you to purchase renters insurance from a reputable company.
We’ve compiled a list of ways in which you can prove to your landlord that you’ve obtained renters insurance. How you present confirmation of your policy will ultimately depend on what kind of information your landlord requests and how much of your policy information you’d like to share. Take a closer look at each method below.
Adding your landlord to your policy as an additional interested party
Property owners sometimes request to be added to your renter's insurance policy as an additional interested party or party of interest. This allows them to be notified if the policy changes or is canceled. A property manager may prefer this method if they suspect their tenants will cancel the policy shortly after they've purchased renters insurance.
Adding your landlord to your renter's insurance policy doesn’t necessarily add them to your policy coverage. They can’t make any changes or payments, nor do they benefit from your coverage. They’re simply observers of your policy. In most cases, you can add your landlord to your policy by submitting a form online or calling your insurance company.
Provide a copy of your declaration page
Every renter's insurance policy comes with a declaration page. Your renter's insurance declaration will have your name, address, and other information relevant to your policy, such as the policy’s coverage amount and status of enrollment. Essentially, it's an invoice for your renter's insurance policy. You can request a copy of your declaration page from your insurance company and hand it to your landlord for confirmation.
Present a copy of your insurance policy
While the declarations page is sufficient proof for many property owners, some landlords will want to see the actual renters insurance policy. You can provide your landlord with either a physical or digital copy of your policy. If you're debating between which to provide, opt for a digital copy so that you have a digital receipt. Physical copies can easily get misplaced, especially if you’re renting with a big property management company.
It’s important to note, however, that not all renters insurance companies provide downloadable copies of your renters insurance. Some insurance companies only provide physical copies of insurance policies. If your insurance provider doesn't offer digital proof, you’d need to scan a your policy and create a PDF, which you can send to your landlord via email.
Share your policy number and the name of your insurance company
Not all property owners require extensive documentation of your renter's insurance policy. Some are content with just your policy number and the name of your insurance company. This is probably one of the easiest ways to provide proof and will require minimal effort on your part.
Ask your insurance agent to contact your landlord directly
Lastly, you can ask the insurance agent who sold you your policy to give your landlord a call. The agent can provide verbal confirmation of your renter's insurance policy and answer any questions your landlord may have about the policy.
The bottom line on providing proof of renter’s insurance
While renters insurance isn’t legally required in any state, the benefits it provides tenants make a policy worth considering. If an accident were to damage a tenant’s belongings extensively or cause a tenant to face a lawsuit, they may end up missing a rent payment or two. Property owners want to avoid late rent payments at all costs, so they may require a renters insurance policy as a precaution.
Renters insurance provides coverage for personal property, liability, and loss of use, providing tenants and landlords peace of mind. How much renters insurance you'll need will depend on the value of your belongings, how much liability coverage you'd like to have, and whether you'd like to include pet coverage. Providing proof of renters insurance is fairly simple. However, the kind of proof you can provide depends on what your landlord requests.
Policyholders can add their landlord as an interested party, provide a copy of their declarations page, present a physical or digital copy of their policy, share their policy number and insurance company name, or have their insurance agent directly communicate with their landlord to confirm the policy. Check in with your property management company before purchasing a policy to ensure you're both on the same page about what constitutes valid proof of policy.