Renters insurance is a must-have for tenants in Alabama. When you rent a home or apartment, you must protect your home and belongings; where your landlord's building insurance ends, your renters insurance helps fill the gap. Renters insurance covers unexpected events, such as vandalism, theft, water backup damage, certain natural disasters, and more.
What is renters insurance?
Renters insurance, also called tenant insurance, is a type of insurance that protects tenants from financial losses related to their rental property. Renters insurance covers losses due to storms and other disasters and provides liability protection for injuries sustained on the premises. It can also provide coverage for personal possessions and additional living expenses if the tenant must relocate temporarily due to damage to the rental unit.
What renters insurance covers for tenants in Alabama
Renters insurance typically covers legal liability, personal property, and additional living expenses for tenants in the event of covered losses. Renters insurance policies can vary, so tenants in Alabama need to review their policies carefully and understand what is and isn’t covered.
- Personal possessions: This covers the cost to repair or replace the renter’s belongings, such as clothing, furniture, and electronics, if they are stolen or damaged (within policy limits). Renters insurance covers unexpected events like fire, plumbing, vandalism, theft, electrical issues, and storms.
- Personal liability: This covers court costs if a tenant is sued for accidentally damaging the rental property or if a lawsuit results from a guest being injured and accumulating medical bills. You’re also protected if a guest sues you because their personal property was damaged while visiting. In these situations, renters insurance helps pay legal fees and settlements up to a predetermined limit chosen by the renter.
- Additional living expenses: If the property is damaged and becomes uninhabitable, renters insurance helps pay for the costs incurred on food, hotel bills, and other items while the tenant relocates during the time it takes to complete the repairs.
What additional coverage and protection options are available with renters insurance for tenants in Alabama?
Tenants can add additional coverage to their policy, depending on their needs and the policy options offered by their insurance company.
Optional coverage for other insurable situations includes:
- Replacement costs: This covers personal property damaged by a covered catastrophe; this is useful in an area with extreme weather events, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tropical storms, and floods, which are not often covered by renters insurance
- Sewage or drain backup: This protects tenants from property damage due to a water backup from a sump pump, drain, or sewer
- Identity fraud: This covers the cost of recovering and restoring a tenant's identity
What renters insurance doesn’t cover for tenants in Alabama
Renters insurance does not typically cover losses or damage from certain events or circumstances.
Standard exclusions in renters insurance policies include:
- Damage or loss caused by certain natural disasters: Renters insurance policies may not cover damage or loss caused by certain natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms, or floods. You may need to purchase a separate policy or endorsement to cover these types of losses.
- Damage or loss to the rental property: Renters insurance policies typically only cover damage to your personal belongings, not the rental property itself. If the rental unit is destroyed or damaged, it is the landlord's responsibility to repair or replace it.
- Damage or loss caused by normal wear and tear: If your personal belongings are destroyed or damaged because of normal wear and tear, which is the deterioration of an item over time, your renters insurance policy will not cover the loss.
Is renters insurance required in Alabama?
Alabama renters are not required by law to purchase renters insurance. However, it's sometimes required by landlords or apartment building property managers as a condition in their lease agreements. If you are a tenant in Alabama and are unsure whether you must have renters insurance, check with your property management company or landlord or review your rental agreement. Check out the Alabama landlord/tenant law to see who is responsible for what during the tenancy.
Alabama ranks 11th in the U.S. for burglary, so even if it is not legally required, it is still a good idea to consider purchasing renters insurance to protect yourself and your belongings from potential losses.
What happens without renters insurance?
Without renters insurance, you will not have coverage if your personal belongings are stolen, damaged, or destroyed. You will pay for the replacements or repairs out of pocket. You will be responsible for any legal fees and damages if you are sued for accidentally injuring someone or damaging their property. If you must move out of your rental unit due to a covered loss, you will have to pay for your expenses and temporary housing. With renters insurance being so affordable in Alabama, it’s worth having coverage for these events.
Average cost of renters insurance in Alabama
Renters insurance in Alabama costs between $18 and $47 per month, with an average of $32 monthly. That adds up to about $216 to $564 per year. This is more than the national average of $159 per year but far cheaper than repairing or replacing your items in the event of a loss.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, in 2020, there were 40,587 reported property crimes per every 100,000 people in Alabama. Renters insurance can help you protect your belongings from property crimes.
Why a landlord in Alabama might require renters insurance
Landlords and property managers in Alabama might require renters insurance to protect their property. Renters insurance gives landlords peace of mind knowing that their tenants are protected from potential damages or losses due to fire, theft, vandalism, and other disasters. Renters insurance also provides liability coverage if a tenant is found responsible for an accident on the rental property. In addition, it can help cover any costs associated with relocation until repairs are complete following a disaster.
How should Alabama landlords notify tenants about getting renters insurance?
Landlords should inform prospective tenants that renters insurance is required when they apply for a rental unit in Alabama. In addition, landlords should include contact information for their preferred insurer in case tenants have questions about the process.
Landlords should notify current tenants through written communication, such as an email or letter. This communication should explain the importance of renters insurance, outline the available coverage, and provide information on obtaining a policy and any available discounts.
Tenants are ultimately responsible for obtaining and maintaining adequate coverage, and landlords should remind them about this when communicating about renters insurance.
Tips for landlords: How to help tenants make good decisions about protecting their belongings with renters insurance
For many tenants, renters insurance is a new experience. Landlords can help their tenants make the right decisions about coverage by talking to them about the three issues below.
Encourage your tenants to:
- Consider additional coverage: Depending on the value of your tenant's belongings, you may want to suggest additional protection, such as flood, hurricane, tropical storm, or earthquake coverage.
- Check their coverage limits: Ask your tenant to ensure their policy’s coverage limits are enough to cover their belongings. If not, they should consider increasing the limits so they don't have to worry about paying out of pocket if something happens. Alabama has a higher crime rate than the U.S. average, so tenants need to protect themselves from loss with renters insurance.
- Keep records: Ask your tenants to keep updated records of all items they own and their estimated value. This will make filing a claim much easier if they experience a covered loss event.
By following these tips and requiring renters insurance, landlords in Alabama can rest easy knowing their tenants' belongings are protected.
Renters insurance in Alabama is a wise investment for tenants as it provides financial protection from unexpected events such as vandalism, theft, fire, and other disasters. It also covers personal property and liability, which can be invaluable if an accident occurs on the rental property. Plus, renters insurance provides peace of mind for tenants, as they know any losses will be covered in an emergency or disaster.
How RentSpree helps facilitate renters insurance coverage
RentSpree has partnered with Sure, a rental insurance provider, to bring landlords and tenants a streamlined process for buying renters insurance. Tenants can easily purchase coverage through the RentSpree platform and provide proof of insurance to the landlord in one step. Landlords can quickly ask tenants to purchase renters insurance during the application process and receive digital proof of insurance after purchase. The easy-to-use tenant dashboard provides updated coverage information and renewal reminders. Get renters insurance through RentSpree today.