Renting is an increasingly common choice for individuals and families in Pennsylvania, accounting for nearly one-third of all Pennsylvanian households. That trend is even more apparent in urban centers like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. At the same time, many individuals or families who rent their homes do not have renters insurance.

While the percentage of those who have renters insurance has gone up in recent years from 42% in 2018 to 57% in 2020, renters insurance is something that every person who rents their home should have.

Whether you are in the process of moving or are already renting, there is no time like the present to get set up with renters insurance! Having renters insurance will give you peace of mind that your belongings are accounted for should anything to them, in addition to several other surprising benefits.

What is Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance functions similarly to homeowners insurance in that professionals have designed it to protect individuals or families living in an apartment or house. The main difference between the two is that renters insurance applies to individuals or families who rent rather than own their homes. Moreover, renters insurance does not apply to the home structure, as homeowners insurance does, but rather to the home contents, which includes your possessions and belongings.

Depending on your specific policy package, renters insurance typically covers the following:

1. Personal Property

If your possessions or personal property are stolen or damaged due to theft, fire or a natural disaster, renters insurance will cover the cost to repair or replace those items up to a certain limit. Such items could include clothing, electronics, furniture, books, musical instruments, fine art, jewelry or antiques.

Coverage of stolen or damaged personal property in such circumstances is typically a standard component of renters insurance. With that being said, renters insurance does not cover damage to personal property due to a flood, as flood insurance covers such damage.

2. Liability Coverage

If you are found legally responsible for a guest’s injury at your home or damage to someone else’s property, most renters insurance packages will cover the cost of your guest’s medical fees, legal proceedings or the cost to repair the property damage up to a predetermined amount.

3. Additional Living Expenses

If your house or apartment is damaged to the point that it is uninhabitable, renters insurance should cover the cost of some of your relocation expenses, such as hotel bills, travel costs and moving expenses, until your house or apartment is sufficiently repaired or you’ve made other living arrangements.

Some well-known insurance companies that offer renters insurance in Pennsylvania include Nationwide, Allstate, Erie Insurance, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Ross Insurance and others.

Is Renters Insurance Required in PA?

Renters insurance is not legally required in Pennsylvania. However, private rental companies can legally require tenants to acquire renters insurance as a prerequisite of renting a home in their community. While this may seem like an inconvenience at first, having renters insurance can prevent major headaches if someone breaks into your home or if a fire, burst pipe or something else causes damages your home. As such, it is in your best interest to have renters insurance if you rent your home!

Besides being in your best interest, there are several other reasons why a landlord or rental company may require tenants to have renters insurance. The following are three possible reasons why your landlord may require renters insurance:

1. Reduces Tenant Relocation Costs

Under Pennsylvania state law, landlords are required to reimburse tenants who are displaced from their homes due to fire, natural disasters or other events that require tenants to relocate. However, if the landlord’s tenants have renters insurance, it can significantly reduce the expenses of helping their tenants relocate.

2. Protects landlords in Case of Property Damage

In the case that a tenant’s house or apartment is damaged due to fire, natural disasters, or other causes outside of the tenant’s control, without renters insurance, the tenant could potentially file a claim against the landlord to recover their losses. However, if the tenant has renters insurance, they are unlikely to come after the landlord for such reimbursement, which can give the landlord peace of mind that the tenant’s belongings are insured in case of loss or damage.

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3. Allows Landlords to Offer Pet-Friendly Homes

Pet owners account for a huge demographic in Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States. 70% of American households have a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and their National Pet Owners Survey. In PA, an estimated 60.2% of Pennsylvanian households own pets. When tenants renters insurance, which typically covers pet damage to property under liability coverage, landlords can open up their community to the pet owner demographic without having to worry about the costs of potential pet damage to their property.

What Are the Benefits of Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance helps out tenants and landlords, alike. While we’ve covered the main benefits for landlords and tenants having renters insurance, there are many more benefits to discuss as they pertain to the actual tenants! The following are seven benefits of renters insurance for tenants:

1. Protects Your Belongings and Helps With Relocation Expenses

Many renters are unaware that landlords are not legally responsible for their belongings if they are damaged or stolen. As such, renters insurance should be a mainstay of any renter’s budget. If someone steals your belongings or a fire or natural disaster damages your home, having renters insurance will help recoup your losses and cover relocation expenses, such as travel fees, moving expenses or hotel bills.

2. Protects Your Belongings Away From Home

With renters insurance, your belongings are covered wherever they are. If someone steals your laptop at a coffee shop, airport or from your car, you can file a claim to your renters insurance provider for reimbursement. Some policies may also reimburse you if you lose a bag or suitcase while traveling.

3. Provides Coverage for Dog Bites

If your dog backs up its bark with its bite and injures another dog, animal or person, renters insurance will cover the medical fees, veterinarian fees or legal fees up to a predetermined limit through liability coverage. This coverage applies whether the incident occurs at home, at the dog park or at a backyard barbecue. Renters insurance will also have your back if your dog or other pet damages someone else’s property.

With that being said, if you own a dog whose breed is considered high-risk, you may not have coverage or you may have to pay a higher rate for coverage. Some insurance policies do not list these conditions outright, so you will want to find out what the coverage details for dog bites are with your insurance provider if you are a dog owner.

4.  Helps Cover Medical Fees for an Injured Guest

Nothing throws a wrench into your plans to be the perfect host or hostess like a guest experiencing an injury at your home. While renters insurance cannot prevent injuries to your guests, it can help with any medical expenses your guest requires should an injury occur at your home.

5. Coverage Applies When You Are Away From Home

Renters insurance will also cover you if you inadvertently damage someone’s property or injure another person when you are away from home, whether you are at Little Amps Coffee Shop, taking a day trip to Fort Hunter State Park or vacationing in France.

6. Includes Options for Identity Theft Coverage

Many renters insurance policies offer Add-On packages to cover you in case of identity theft, which includes legal fees and reimbursement for the time and effort you put into reclaiming your identity. This coverage also applies to forged checks or unauthorized usage of your credit or debit card.

7. Covers Legal Fees if Someone Files a Lawsuit Against You

If you are held legally responsible for property damage or an injury to another person, whether the incident occurs at your home, the supermarket, or halfway around the world, renters insurance will provide coverage for both the legal fees and any compensation required from you to the person or organization filing the lawsuit.

As you can see, renters insurance covers far more than the belongings inside your home! So if you are the minimalist type and are not too concerned about your possessions, renters insurance can still be of benefit to you.

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in PA?

Renters insurance is much less expensive than you might expect! The price range for renters insurance in Pennsylvania is $15 to $30 per month, with most insurance companies offering rates at the lower end of this range. With that being said, the cost of renters insurance varies according to several factors, which include:

  • The location and history of your house or apartment
  • Your financial and claims history
  • The amount or extent of your coverage
  • How much you pay up-front for a deductible
  • Whether your policy is for actual cash value or replacement value
  • The total value of your belongings
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To help you bring down costs, some insurance companies will allow you to bundle renters insurance with other types of insurance, such as auto insurance or life insurance, at a discounted price. Additionally, if your house or apartment contains various safety features, such as deadbolts, fire extinguishers, sprinklers or smoke detectors, your insurer will take these into account and possibly provide you with a lower rate.

Other Considerations

  • If you live with a roommate who has a renters insurance policy, you will want to make sure that your name is also on the policy or you will not be covered. Some insurance companies may allow the policyholder to add another name to their policy ad hoc, otherwise, you will need to apply for your own renters insurance policy.
  • As you consider applying for renters insurance, take stock of the total value of your belongings. The number may surprise you! It can also help you determine the best rates across different insurance companies for what you need to be covered.
  • One thing to keep an eye on when you are evaluating different insurance companies is if they cover the actual cash value, including depreciation, or the replacement cost of your items. For example, if someone steals your 2015 Macbook Pro, will they cover the cost of getting a new Macbook Pro (replacement cost) or the current value of the laptop you purchased six years ago (actual cash value)? Insurance companies that cover the replacement cost may have higher premiums but might be worth it in the long scheme.
  • Floods are particularly common in Pennsylvania. However, floods are the only natural disaster that is not covered under renters insurance if they cause damage to your house, apartment or belongings. As such, we recommend that you consider applying for flood insurance in addition to renters insurance so all of your bases are covered, especially if you are renting in Pennsylvania.
  • Depending on the amount of your deductible, some claims may not be worth pursuing. Any claim for items damaged or stolen needs to be above the amount of your deductible, which typically ranges from $500 to $1000, or it is unlikely to be accepted.
  • There are some property items that may not be covered by standard renters insurance policies, such as jewelry, fine art or antiques. At the same time, some insurance providers may offer protection for such items through an Add-On package, such as Nationwide’s Valuables Plus package.
  • If you are looking for rental homes, a good thing to consider regarding renters insurance is the overall safety rating of the rental community. You are more likely to get a good rate if the rental community has a good safety rating in terms of the area of the rental community and the structure of the house or apartment.

Contact Us at Triple Crown Corporation

If you are considering renting in the Harrisburg area, our Triple Crown Corporation team members would love to be of assistance as you search for the ideal place to call home.

Whether you would like more information about renters insurance or have questions about Harrisburg in general, please feel free to contact us or browse our blog for tips on getting familiar with the Harrisburg area! We can also direct you to the best renters insurance companies in the area.

Triple Crown Corporation is proud to offer first-class rental communities in Harrisburg and beyond! We welcome you to browse our lovely array of apartments, townhomes and other rental communities to see if there is a good fit for you.

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