Utah ranks among the safest places to live in the U.S., but thanks to recent upticks in package theft and other crimes, it has moved into the top 11% of areas with high property crime rates. While residents in the Beehive state feel good about their safety, there remains a higher threat of theft than in most other parts of the country.
Renters insurance can help tenants in Utah protect themselves and their property against incidents of loss or damage due to vandalism, fire, water damage, and theft, most of which are out of your control.
What is renters insurance?
Renters insurance covers personal property in case of damage and protects renters from legal liability if they are responsible for a guest’s injuries or property damage. Tenants with renters insurance can also be reimbursed for some of the cost of alternative living arrangements if their rental unit becomes inhabitable.
What does renters insurance cover for tenants?
Renters insurance laws in Utah enforce 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.
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 electronics, clothing, and furniture. Renters insurance covers damage or loss from fire, plumbing leaks, theft, vandalism, electrical issues, or storms.
Additional living expenses – If the property is damaged and becomes uninhabitable, renters insurance helps pay for costs to live somewhere else temporarily; this includes food and hotel bills until the unit is repaired.
Tenants can add optional coverages to their basic renters insurance policy:
Sewage or drain backup – this option covers property damage caused by a water backup from a drain, sewer, or sump pump.
Identity fraud – covers the costs to restore a tenant’s credit and identity.
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 blizzards, avalanches, and floods. Standard renters insurance does not typically cover such occurrences.
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. To make sure you can recover losses after a damaging event, 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 jewelry, art, antiques, or photographs.
What renters insurance doesn’t cover for tenants in Utah
Renters insurance does not cover the building where you live, nor does it cover your belongings in the case of a catastrophe. Utah can have extreme weather all year, but the risk is particularly high in the winter and spring when blizzards, avalanches, floods, or other severe weather events are more likely to occur.
Renters insurance does not cover your personal belongings if they are damaged because of normal wear and tear. And your renters insurance policy does not cover a roommate’s belongings would not be unless the roommate is listed on your policy.
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.
Renters insurance does not cover structural damage caused by a pet or pest infestation (including bed bugs).
What happens if you don’t have renters insurance?
Suppose you do not have a renters insurance policy. 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. You could also suffer a significant monetary loss if vandalism, theft, fire, or other damaging event occurs and you are forced to purchase replacements. In that case, you’ll be fully responsible for any legal fees and damages if you are successfully sued for accidentally injuring someone or damaging their property.
Is renters insurance required in Utah?
Utah renters are not required by law to purchase renters insurance. However, most apartment property managers and landlords 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 ask 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. The property crime rate in the Beehive State increased from 21.7 incidents per 1,000 people in 2021 to 24.6 in 2022.
Average cost of renters insurance in Utah
Utah renters insurance policies have affordable annual premiums, typically ranging from $168–$360 or $14–$30 monthly. This monthly premium is for approximately $20,000 worth of personal property and alternative living coverage after a $500 deductible. Legal liability protection usually has coverage limits of $100,000.
Why a landlord in Utah might require renters insurance
While a landlord’s rental dwelling policy covers the building itself, it does not cover a tenant's belongings. Renters insurance gives landlords peace of mind because they know their tenants are protected from potential damages or losses due to theft, fire, 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 landlords should notify tenants about getting renters insurance
When a potential tenant asks about fees and costs associated with renting the unit, such as the security deposit, monthly rent, and other fees, the landlord or property manager should inform them of the renters insurance requirement and cost.
When current tenants renew their lease, their updated rental agreement should include a clause about the requirement to purchase rental insurance. Landlords 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.
By being upfront with potential and current tenants looking to renew, the landlord shows that they are looking out for the tenants and their belongings.
Tips for landlords in Utah
For many tenants, renters insurance is a new topic and requirement. Landlords in Utah can encourage tenants to consider renters insurance and ensure adequate coverage. You can also remind tenants to:
Consider additional coverage – Depending on the value of your tenant's belongings, you may want to suggest additional protection, such as flood, blizzard, avalanche, or other catastrophe coverage.
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.
Renters insurance is a wise investment for tenants in Utah as it provides financial protection from unexpected events such as theft, vandalism, fire, and other disasters. Plus, renters insurance provides peace of mind for tenants, as they know any losses will be covered up to the policy limits in the case of an emergency or disaster.
RentSpree helps tenants get 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 Utah. 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 Utah renters insurance through RentSpree today.