When you live near other families and individuals, you may face extra challenges to the safety of your home and belongings. There is a higher threat of vandalism, fire, water damage, and theft, most of which are out of your control. When you’ve invested in items for your home and other personal belongings, it’s wise to shield yourself from potential loss. According to this Louisiana Department of Insurance consumer update, renters insurance while renting in Louisiana can help. When looking for renters insurance, tenants should ask about the coverage they need for their belongings, replacement value coverage, living expense coverage, personal liability coverage, deductibles, and – just as important—what is not covered.
What is renters insurance?
When the apartment or house you rent is damaged by fire, smoke, vandalism, wind, hail, or water, your landlord’s insurance only covers the building and the landlord’s property. The landlord’s policy does not cover or protect tenants’ belongings.
Renters insurance covers your personal property in case of damage caused by extreme weather, fire, or flooding and losses from theft or vandalism. It also protects you from legal liability if you are responsible for damage to a guest’s personal property or if the guest suffers an injury. Renters insurance also reimburses some of the cost of alternative living arrangements if your rental unit becomes inhabitable.
What does renters insurance cover for tenants?
Renters insurance in Louisiana provides coverage and protection for tenants if they incur:
Personal liability—A renters insurance policy that includes liability coverage will pay for repairs if a tenant accidentally damages the rental property. It helps pay legal fees and settlements if the tenants are found at fault. It also covers a guest’s medical bills if someone visiting is injured or their personal property is damaged and the renter is successfully sued.
Additional living expenses—If the property is damaged and becomes uninhabitable, renters insurance helps pay for hotel bills or another place to stay, food, and costs to purchase clothing or hygiene items while living elsewhere until the unit is repaired.
Damage to or loss of personal possessions—Renters insurance covers the cost (after deductibles are met) to repair or replace a tenant’s stolen or damaged belongings, such as furniture, electronics, clothing, housewares, linens, books, and jewelry. Renters insurance also covers damage or loss from fire, smoke, vandalism, wind, hail, water damage, and storms.
Other coverages tenants may want to consider purchasing:
Replacement costs—this coverage insures personal property so you can replace it if damaged or destroyed by a catastrophe. It is helpful if you live in an area at risk of extreme weather events, like hurricanes and floods. Standard renters insurance does not typically cover such occurrences.
Tenants can add optional coverages to their basic renters insurance policy to reimburse expenses related to:
Identity fraud—to restore a tenant’s credit and identity.
Sewage or drain backup—to cover property damage caused by a water backup from a drain, sewer, or sump pump.
As a tenant, remember that your landlord’s property insurance only covers losses and damage to the building, structural issues, or problems with the building itself. The landlord’s policy does not cover you or your belongings. Take a thorough inventory of your property to be sure you have the right coverage to replace or repair your belongings. Be sure to account for the value of rare or hard-to-replace items like antiques, rare books, art, photographs, or other high-dollar items.
What renters insurance doesn’t cover for tenants in Louisiana
Renters insurance does not cover the building where you live, nor does it cover your belongings in the case of a catastrophic flood, hurricane, high winds, hail, or another severe weather event.
Renters insurance does not cover your personal belongings if they are destroyed or damaged because of normal wear and tear. And your renters insurance policy does not cover a roommate’s belongings unless the roommate is listed on your policy.
If the structure gets damaged by a pet or pest infestation (including bed bugs), renters insurance does not cover such damage.
If you have numerous belongings or high-dollar items, check your coverage limits to be sure your policy provides enough protection in case of loss.
What happens if you don’t have renters insurance?
Suppose you do not have a renters insurance policy. In that case, you could suffer a significant monetary loss if vandalism, theft, fire, or other damaging event occurs and you are forced to purchase replacements.
As a tenant, if one of your guests suffers an injury or property to their property, you are fully responsible for any legal fees and damages if you are successfully sued. And if you need to move out of your rental unit due to a covered loss, you will incur expenses for temporary housing and to purchase personal items you need until you can get back into your unit.
Is renters insurance required in Louisiana?
Louisiana renters are not required by law to purchase renters insurance. However, most landlords or apartment building property managers require proof of renters insurance as a condition of the lease agreement. If you’re unsure whether you must have renters insurance, look closely at your rental agreement and check with your property management company or landlord.
Even without a specific legal requirement, it is still a good idea to consider purchasing renters insurance to protect yourself and your belongings from potential losses.
Average cost of renters insurance in Louisiana
Louisiana renters insurance policies have affordable annual premiums, typically ranging from $100–$360 or $8–30 monthly. Standard policies usually provide coverage for approximately $20,000 worth of personal property and alternative living expenses, and up to $100,000 of liability protection, after a $500 deductible.
Why a landlord in Louisiana might require renters insurance
Renters insurance gives Louisiana landlords peace of mind because they know their tenants are protected from potential damages or losses due to fire, theft, vandalism, and other disasters. It also provides liability coverage if a tenant is found responsible for an accident on the rental property. Such insurance also helps cover costs associated with a tenant’s relocation until repairs are complete following a disaster.
How landlords should notify tenants about getting renters insurance
When current tenants renew their lease, their updated rental agreement should include a clause about the requirement to purchase rental insurance. A landlord can send a letter or email ahead of renewal to inform the tenant that they will need to purchase a renters insurance policy when they renew.
Landlords should be upfront with potential new tenants and inform them about the rental insurance requirement during the application process. When tenants ask about the costs associated with renting the unit, such as the security deposit, monthly rent, and any other fees, the landlord or property manager should inform them about typical costs for the required renters insurance.
Such transparency shows tenants that the landlord is looking out for them and their belongings. Landlords benefit from the assurance that their tenants’ belongings are covered in the case of an insurable event.
Tips for landlords in Louisiana
For many tenants, renters insurance is a new topic and requirement. Landlords can encourage tenants to consider renters insurance and ensure adequate coverage. You can also remind tenants to:
Check their coverage limits—Ask your tenant to ensure their policy’s coverage limits are enough to cover their belongings. If not, they can increase the limits so they won’t pay entirely out of pocket if a damaging event occurs.
Keep records—Suggest that your tenants 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.
Consider additional coverage—Depending on the value of your tenant's belongings, you may want to suggest additional protection, such as flood, hurricane, hail, high winds, or other catastrophe coverage.
Renters insurance is a wise investment for tenants in Louisiana as it provides financial protection from unexpected events such as vandalism, theft, fire, flood, high winds, hail, and other disasters.
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 in Louisiana. Tenants can easily purchase coverage through the RentSpree platform and provide proof of insurance to the landlord in one step. Landlords can readily ask tenants to purchase renters insurance as part of the application process and receive digital proof of insurance after purchase. RentSpree’s easy-to-use tenant dashboard provides updated coverage information and renewal reminders. Get Louisiana renters insurance through RentSpree today.