Renters insurance is a great investment for several reasons. First and foremost, it is the single most important protection for you as a renter in any apartment or rental home. It protects you from liability lawsuits and insures your belongings in the event of a disaster affecting your unit. Renters insurance can also put you at the top of the list of eligible applicants in a highly competitive rental market.
Before you apply to a new rental home or apartment complex, take some time to research renters insurance policies in your area. In this guide, we’ll go over all the questions you should ask your insurance company and help you find the best deal for your needs.
Is Renters Insurance Required in Pennsylvania?
Renters insurance is not required by law in the state of Pennsylvania, nor is it required by any city or regional ordinances. However, renters insurance may still be required by individual landlords or specific apartment complexes.
Landlords are allowed to require renters insurance as part of their application process or as a pre-requisite to signing their lease. This not only protects them from unnecessary insurance claims on their end but can protect you from lawsuits and damage during your tenancy. If your landlord requires rental insurance, ask them about recommendations for providers in your area and what coverages they require for your lease.
Why Your Landlord Might Require Renters Insurance
Landlords don’t require renter’s insurance solely for their protection. There are many benefits that renters insurance provides to both of you, which is why it's never a bad idea to bind a policy prior to applying for a lease. A landlord might require insurance because:
- It can reduce their insurance premiums: Landlords are required to carry insurance for their properties, but this doesn’t cover everything. Typically only thier assets are covered, which means your personal property won’t be covered in the event of a fire, burglary, or another onsite incident. By requiring tenants to get their own policies, landlords can reduce the number of claims they file under their insurance while ensuring their tenants are protected.
- It protects you in the event of a forced relocation: If your unit is ever deemed uninhabitable (for instance, after a fire or flood), renter’s insurance will typically cover your short-term living expenses while you look for another apartment or move into an adjacent one at your complex.
- It helps them narrow down their candidate pool: Landlords may receive dozens or even hundreds of applications for a single rental unit in highly competitive rental markets. This can make it very difficult to choose the best tenant. Requiring renter’s insurance helps them immediately narrow down their applicant pool for easier selection of new tenants.
Even if your landlord doesn’t require renters insurance, these reasons are often enough for renters to purchase it of their own accord. Renters insurance protects you and your property and can help you secure the best apartment in your area. However, before choosing a policy, it's important to ask the right questions and research different options to find the best one.
Pennsylvania Renters Insurance FAQ
Before investing in a renters insurance policy, it’s essential to research your provider and see what their different options cover. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about renter’s insurance and what you should look for in individual policies:
What does renters insurance cover?
Renters insurance typically covers three things:
Personal property coverage: Replacing damaged property that resides within the rental unit
Personal liability coverage: Coverage that protects you from liability if someone is hurt on site or if property is stolen or damaged during your tenancy.
Loss of use coverage: Coverage for your living expenses, including temporary lodging if your unit is deemed uninhabitable
Some policies are all-encompassing, while others only cover certain damages listed under a “named perils” policy.
How much does it cost in Pennsylvania?
Renter’s insurance in Pennsylvania costs around $11 per month, which is less than the national average. However, your exact quote may change due to a variety of factors, including your previous rental history, the location, and condition of the unit, your pet ownership, military status, and others.
What doesn’t renters insurance cover?
Some policies limit coverage for natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding (not related to plumbing), or tornadoes. Pest damage is also typically not covered, whether from an issue with the rental unit or pets. High-ticket items such as jewelry and other valuables may also be limited, so you should take out separate insurance policies for these items.
What are “named perils?”
A “named perils” policy is a typically cheaper renter’s insurance policy that only covers damage from particular instances. While these policies are more affordable, they also limit what you can make claims on. Common named perils include:
- Fire and lightning
- Car collisions
- Smoke damage
- Theft and Vandalism
- Plumbing, electrical, or HVAC issues
Is my property covered even while I’m away?
Renters insurance will typically cover theft or damage even if you are not in the unit or even if the item itself was not in the unit at the time. For example, your computer may be covered even if it is stolen while taking it on vacation as opposed to leaving it at home.
Can my roommates and I share a policy?
Roommates are allowed to share the renters insurance policies, but this is not always advised. First and foremost, if you share renters insurance, you are effectively limiting the coverage you receive by doubling your home inventory. Sharing policies can also cause financial issues down the line if one of you decides to move out before the other. To get the greatest benefit from your insurance, it's recommended to insure your property separately.
Where can I get renters insurance?
Most major insurance companies will provide renters insurance at a low cost. However, choosing the best provider in your area can become overwhelming, especially if you have multiple car, life, pet, and other insurance providers. RentSpree makes it easy to get a renters insurance policy and verify it with the landlord or property manager.