Guest Blog Alert! Can My Landlord Force Me to Get Renter's Insurance?

landlord.jpg

This week, our blog post comes to you from Mr. Jeffrey Gitlen, a Content Associate with LendEDU.com. LendEDU.com is a leading provider of online financial services with regard to things like student loans, credit health, and financial literacy, and we're super excited that Mr. Gitlen has agreed to share his expertise. 

If you rent instead of owning your own home, there are many good reasons for having renters insurance. Even still, many renters choose not to get insured. Is it entirely up to you whether you get a renters insurance policy? Here’s a look at how renters insurance works and whether you can be forced to get it.

What Is Renters Insurance?

Homeowners have insurance to protect their house, assets, and belongings – it will usually kick in for things like theft, fire, or injuries on their premises.

For just a few dollars a month, you’ll be protected from a lot of the things that can go wrong in your apartment. That’s why it’s important to have renters insurance. First and foremost, it can save you from financial ruin. Further, you won’t have to replace all your belongings by using your savings because other than a deductible, you’ll be covered. That’s essential when you consider the typical person has more than $20,000 in belongings.

You’ll want three main categories covered with your insurance – personal property, liability, and additional coverage for more valuable items, like jewelry and machinery such as snowmobiles.

Do You Have To Purchase Renters Insurance?

Unlike car insurance which is mandatory, renters insurance isn’t required by law. Nonetheless, it’s still a good idea for you to have.

Even though it’s not a requirement by law, your landlord still might require that you have renters insurance as a condition of your lease.

Can a Landlord Force You to Purchase Renters Insurance?

When it comes to the terms they draft up for their tenants, landlords get to call the shots. So that’s why landlords can require you to purchase renters insurance even when the law doesn’t. Renting a property from them is a privilege, not a right, and they want to make sure they are fully protected from damage to the building that might be caused by you and wouldn’t fall under their insurance policy.

For instance, if you’re a fan of the old-school water beds and said bed leaked all over your apartment, causing damage to the flooring or carpeting, your landlord would want to know they are protected. A simple security deposit likely wouldn’t be enough to cover the damage, so they would want you to have insurance so that damages are covered.

Your landlord can put the renters insurance clause into your lease agreement and when you sign it, you’re agreeing to get renters insurance. They may request to see proof of insurance as well, and they may even set dollar amounts that you’re required to carry in liability and damages.

What to Do if You Don’t Want to Purchase Renters Insurance, But It is In Your Lease

If you don’t want to buy renters insurance but your landlord requires it in the lease, you only have a couple of options.

You can ask the landlord to reconsider. Perhaps you can ask if a bigger security deposit would change their mind about the requirement. Or, if you have enough in savings, they might take that into consideration. But since they’re doing it for their own protection, it might be a hard sell to get them to drop that requirement.

If the landlord refuses to drop it and you’re dead set against purchasing it, your only other option is to look elsewhere for a lease. But keep in mind, you might be losing money in the long run by not getting it. It only costs a few dollars a month and the lease you find for a different apartment might be more expensive than the one you currently have. Or you might have to drive further every day for work at a different apartment location so you could be losing money to cover gas costs.

Final Thoughts

Being forced to purchase renters insurance may not make you happy, but it could be a good thing for you in the long run. It could end up saving you from financial ruin and, at the very least, it will give you peace of mind that you’ll be covered if something unfortunate were to happen.

So instead of fighting with the landlord about that clause in your lease, try to see the silver lining in it, and make sure you compare your options to ensure you find the best renters insurance for your needs.