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Guide to Renters Insurance for Seniors

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If you're an older adult renting a house or apartment, then it's a good idea to purchase your own renters insurance. Even if your landlord already has renters insurance for their property, it won't cover your personal belongings or personal liability.1

Accidents can happen when you're renting a property, so it's important to purchase renters insurance. It's not required, but we always recommend it. Renters insurance tends to be much more affordable than other types of insurance. Coverage averages around $15 to $30 per month for a standard policy, and there are often ways for seniors to save.

In this guide, we'll go over whether you should buy renters insurance, the types of coverage available, and whether you should consider adding additional coverage to keep you and your loved ones safe.

What Is Renters Insurance?

Person sitting on chair looking at renters insurance policy

Renters insurance protects your personal belongings and property from loss, damage, theft, or fire. It also covers liability in the event that someone gets injured in the place you're renting. Typical policies include three types of coverage: personal property coverage, loss of use, and personal liability. Companies may also offer additional coverage, such as earthquake damage coverage and identity theft coverage.

Did You Know: By 2025, people over the age of 60 will comprise 26 percent of renter households in the U.S.2

Do Seniors Need Renters Insurance?

We recommend getting renters insurance for added peace of mind and protection during emergency situations. There may be a time when your personal belongings become damaged from heavy rain, or a friend slips on your floor and gets injured.

We recommend renter's insurance for seniors in the following dwellings:

Assisted Living

If you're living in an assisted living facility, you may have access to 24/7 care and other amenities on campus. If a burglar entered your apartment and stole your prized possessions, however, renters insurance would come in handy. Or, say, a friend fell in your apartment unit. Having your own renters insurance policy provides liability coverage, and it may protect you from paying for expensive medical bills.3 Some assisted living facilities may carry standard coverage to protect their property and building, but you may want to get your own renters insurance as a proactive measure to protect yourself.

Senior Apartments

If you're renting a senior apartment, then you may have already been asked to choose a renters insurance policy upon signing your lease. Even if it's not required by your apartment complex, we recommend signing up for standard renters insurance — especially if you live alone. We also recommend adding more coverage if you have pets, frequent visitors, or high-end valuables. Another reason to consider renters insurance is if a unit next to yours experiences damage, such as fire or water, that impacts your unit as well.

Other Rented Properties

If you're renting another property, such as a house or condo, then you should consider renters insurance. Some landlords may require that tenants purchase renters insurance with a minimum of $100,000 of liability coverage, but the coverage amount is specific to your situation. Your landlord may already have renters insurance to cover damage to their building, but it won't cover your personal belongings or liability if someone comes to your home and experiences an accident.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

In general, renters insurance has three main types of coverage: personal property coverage, loss of use, and personal liability. Depending on your policy and provider, renters insurance may cover the below items outside or inside your rental property.

Personal Property Coverage

Personal property coverage will take care of the cost of repairs or replacement for personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, laptops, kitchenware, bedding, and other items that are damaged or stolen. Certain high-end valuables may not be covered under the policy and may require additional coverage. To determine how much personal property coverage you need, we recommend making a checklist of the valuable items in your dwelling.

Loss-of-Use Coverage

If your home is temporarily uninhabitable — due to a fire or accidental flooding from the apartment above you, for instance — then this part of the renters insurance policy may reimburse you for relocation costs and other personal expenses. It also may cover basic living expenses when you're away from your rental unit.

Personal Liability Insurance

Personal liability insurance can be used to cover damages to your property or the cost of medical expenses if your guest gets injured at your rental. Many policies offer a minimum of $100,000 of coverage for liability claims, but we recommend adding more coverage if you have pets or many guests coming in and out of your apartment.4

Did You Know: Items generally covered by renters insurance include damage to someone else's property, including medical expenses if a guest is injured at your home. Your renters insurance policy also will cover damage to furniture, clothing, and electronics. For high-end items, inquire about additional coverage.

Additional Coverage

You may want to consider adding more coverage if your assets and valuables are worth more than the standard coverage amount. If you'd like to add optional coverage to your existing renters insurance policy, then consider the following extra coverages:

  • Earthquake damage coverage: This covers damages at your rental place following an earthquake.
  • Water backup coverage: Some renters insurance policies don't cover all types of water damage, such as flooding and water damage from a sewage backup. If you accidentally leave the faucet on, for example, standard renters insurance would cover it. It's important to check with your provider or add additional coverage if needed.
  • Valuable items insurance: If you have high-end jewelry, for example, then standard renters insurance may not cut it. You may want to increase your coverage or purchase a personal property floater policy, which can increase or extend coverage amounts for certain high-end items.
  • Identity theft coverage: Identity theft is not covered by standard renters insurance policies. This coverage would cover costs associated with a stolen identity.
  • Pet liability insurance: If you're a pet owner in a senior living community, then you may pay a monthly pet deposit and have the standard renters insurance that covers both injuries and property damage. If damages exceed the limit of your liability coverage, however, you risk paying out of pocket. Some renters insurance policies may not cover certain dog breeds, so you may want to buy pet liability insurance to protect yourself from lawsuits.

Did You Know: Some providers, such as Travelers Insurance, offer additional coverage known as valuable items insurance, which provides protection for high-end items such as jewelry, musical instruments, and computers.

What Isn't Covered By Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance does not provide coverage for the following unexpected situations:

  • Natural disasters such as flooding
  • Infestation caused by bed bugs, pests, or termites
  • Your roommate's belongings
  • Property damage
  • Your vehicle
  • Certain high-end valuables

Did You Know: It's a good idea to be proactive and plan for unexpected events such as an earthquake, flood, or landslide. Read how to make your home safer.

How Much Does Renters Insurance for Seniors Cost?

On average, renters insurance for seniors costs between $15 and $30 per month, or $179 per year depending on deductibles and your location. The average annual premium for a senior renting a unit in California could be $175, for example, while a senior living in Idaho may pay around $148 a year.5

Getting the Best Deal on Renters Insurance for Seniors

Pink piggy bank with green bills, renters insurance policy, and potted flowers

Below are a few tips for finding discounts and getting the best deal on your renters insurance.

  1. Compare providers: It's important to do your research and compare quotes and policies when shopping for renters insurance. You'll want to find out whether the provider offers additional coverage and what the deductible and annual average premium may be. Is it more affordable than other providers?
  2. Bundle coverage: Most insurance providers will offer a discount and significant savings for bundling your insurance. Consider bundling your auto and renters insurance, for example.
  3. Veteran and military discounts: If you're an active or former member of the military, then you may receive discounts of up to 15 percent on your insurance premiums. Inquire about veterans' discounts with each provider.
  4. Age-related discounts: Some providers may offer senior discounts. If you're an AARP member, for example, The Hartford offers special renters insurance discounts to help lower your premiums.
  5. Home safety equipment: If the place you're renting is located in a gated community outfitted with security systems, safety equipment, smoke detectors, and fire alarms, then there's a good chance your provider will discount your renters insurance.
  6. Location: Providers will sometimes factor in your location to determine the cost of renters insurance.

Did You Know: Seniors can take advantage of discounts on all kinds of things, from groceries and movies to auto and renters insurance. Visit our list of senior discounts to learn more.

Tips for Choosing the Best Renters Insurance Plan for Your Needs

When shopping for renters insurance, make sure to look at all your options and choose the best policy for your budget, lifestyle, and needs. Start by estimating the cost of your items, and determine whether it's worth adding additional coverage.

If you live in a flood zone, for example, then we recommend buying a separate flood insurance policy, since floods are not typically covered by renters insurance. To decide how much coverage you need, estimate the value of your personal items and reach out to a renters insurance specialist for a quote. There are many providers that offer affordable renters insurance policies for seniors who live alone or have company often and want extra protections.

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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