Every state and municipality has landlord/tenant laws to deal with rental property issues and requirements. If you are a landlord in the state of New York, by law, you must maintain insurance on the property you rent out to tenants. This ensures that the rental building has insurance coverage in case of structural damage caused by a storm, fire, or other unexpected events.
Suppose you’re a tenant in a house. In that case, apartment or condominium in New York, your landlord's property insurance does not cover you or your visitors if you sustain injuries from catastrophic events at the property, nor does it cover damages to the furniture and other belongings in your home. You can (and should) purchase renters insurance that will reimburse you for loss or damage from such events.
It is important for renters to know and be aware of the landlord’s expectations about buying renters insurance before signing a lease.
What is renters insurance?
Also called tenant insurance, renters insurance protects a renter's liabilities if they are sued in connection with a fire, theft, explosions, wind, hail, mold, water damage, snow, an accident, or another event at the property, as well as their personal belongings. It also covers living expenses in case of a loss event if they have to live elsewhere for a while. Renters insurance does not insure damage and losses to the building or structure.
For example, if a fire in your apartment destroys your property valued at $20,000, your renters insurance company will reimburse you for that amount minus your deductible.
Benefits of renters insurance for tenants
As a tenant, renters insurance can give you peace of mind. It is affordable, and with an investment of as little as $10–$15 a month, tenants can protect themselves from loss if a damaging event occurs at the rental property. Renters insurance covers your personal belongings, additional living expenses, and liability if someone gets injured in your rental unit while you are a tenant. It also covers you if your belongings are stolen from the rental premises. With a policy that covers additional living expenses, if property damage forces a renter to move for a few days, they can rest easy knowing they won’t be without a home.
Renters insurance for tenants covers:
Additional living expenses: If the property becomes uninhabitable due to a storm or fire, renters insurance helps pay for another place to stay, like a hotel or another rental. Most policies also cover food and other costs of living elsewhere while the property is repaired.
Liability: This coverage pays for legal fees and settlement costs if a tenant is sued for injury or damage within the rental property. It may also cover the medical bills associated with that injury if the tenant is found at fault. Liability insurance also protects renters if there is a break-in and their personal property is damaged, or they attempt to make repairs and accidentally damage the rental property. Most renters insurance policies include $100,000 of liability coverage.
Personal possessions: Renters insurance will cover the cost to replace or repair the tenant’s belongings, such as furniture, sporting goods, jewelry, art, clothing, and electronics if they are damaged or stolen. Some policies cover a renter's belongings if they are in a car and their car is broken into or stolen.
Tenants need to consider the policy coverage limits when purchasing renters insurance. Such coverage is typically limited unless the tenant pays specifically for an unlimited policy. Complete an inventory of your possessions and estimate their worth to ensure you have enough insurance coverage.
What renters insurance doesn't cover for tenants
Tenants may assume that renters insurance covers everything, but most renters policies have personal property limits. For example, renters insurance does not cover significant weather events like landslides, earthquakes, floods, or sinkholes.
A renters policy does not cover pest infestations, including bed bugs. If you have a roommate, their belongings are not covered unless they are named as one of the insured on the policy. It’s also essential to have adequate coverage to cover costs in case you are sued.
Is renters insurance required in New York?
Both renters and landlords benefit from renters insurance because it protects both parties from disputes and legal claims in the future. The state of New York does not have a law that mandates renters insurance. However, landlords increasingly require such coverage in their lease agreements.
The average cost of renters insurance in New York
Most renters insurance policies cost between $100–$300 per year, which breaks down to $10-$30 monthly. Coverage amounts typically range between $30,000–$50,000. If you have high-dollar possessions or a lot of personal belongings, you’ll want to be sure your coverage is adequate. You may be able to add an insurance rider to your policy for a few dollars a month to cover certain high-value items.
Several factors could increase the cost of renters insurance. The first one is where in New York you live; the neighborhood’s risk and crime rate will affect the premium. Second, your premiums will be higher if you live in an area at high risk for severe weather, like tornadoes, hurricanes, or flooding. The total amount of coverage you purchase will also affect your premium.
Why a landlord in New York might require renters insurance
Renters insurance assures landlords that their tenant's property will be covered in the case of damage to the property or accidents. This can help foster better relationships between the two parties. Tenants will understand that a landlord is looking out for their best interest by ensuring their possessions are insured.
A landlord in New York may require renters insurance for many reasons. Most importantly, renters insurance helps landlords protect themselves and their tenants in the case of damage to their personal possessions or accidents. Insurance policies for the building do not cover these issues.
How should landlords notify tenants about getting renters insurance?
Landlords should disclose whether or not they require renters insurance as part of a New York rental application. If tenants are not informed when they apply, landlords should tell them before signing a lease. For current tenants, the landlord should communicate in writing any new requirements for renters insurance in advance of the tenant’s lease renewal. This allows the tenant time to find insurance coverage for their belongings.
Landlords in New York can make the rental insurance process easy for tenants with RentSpree. The RentSpree platform makes it possible to offer renters insurance to tenants and close the loop by verifying insurance for landlords.
Help tenants protect their belongings with renters insurance
RentSpree has partnered with Sure, a renters insurance provider, to offer a fast and efficient renters insurance process to share with tenants in New York. With one step, tenants can purchase coverage and submit proof of insurance so landlords can verify coverage. Tenants have 24/7 access to their RentSpree dashboard, showing their coverage limits and maximum convenience.
Landlords and tenants can avoid issues during the leasing process and have peace of mind by purchasing renters insurance through RentSpree. Purchasing through RentSpree is convenient for tenants, and easy to submit proof of insurance to a landlord.