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HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE VS. RENTERS INSURANCE: WHO NEEDS WHAT, AND WHY?

Updated: 6 days ago


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Though the names might make explanation self-evident for some, we know you’ve got questions! There is a clear difference between these two common types of coverage, along with some similarities, and we’re here to spell it out. Get ready to learn about what sets homeowners and renters insurance apart––we’ll get into coverage limits, requirements, and more. Here we go!

Homeowners Insurance Defined

Homeowners insurance is a form of property insurance designed to protect homeowners from common perils that they might experience and the losses that could result. A homeowners policy offers coverage for both the structure and contents of your home and any additional structures on your property.

Covered perils could be the aftereffects of a weather event or a fire, and included liability coverage also extends to accidents or injury that happens in your home or on your property. Coverage for medical bills for third parties injured on your property are also part of a homeowners policy. If you have particularly valuable items, heirlooms, or collectibles, you’ll want to consider adding on an extra bit of coverage for these priceless possessions.

Homeowners insurance will also provide for temporary housing in the event that your home is rendered unliveable while repairs are being made following a covered event. This is so important in the face of rising rates of natural disasters and extreme weather events. And if an item is stolen from your vehicle, that falls under yoru homeowners policy as well.

Homeowners insurance covers:

Dwelling: Your policy will pay to repair or rebuild your home after a covered loss.

Structures: A homeowners policy will pay to repair or rebuild structures on your property that are damaged or destroyed in a covered loss. These could include fences, sheds, or a detached garage.

Personal Property: Your policy pays to repair or replace personal belongings damaged as a result of a covered loss.

Personal Liability: Covers medical and/or legal bills resulting from another party’s personal injury or property damage while at your home or on your property when you are legally at fault.

Medical Payments: Homeowners coverage will pay minor medical bills if a guest is injured at your home or on your property, regardless of who is found to be at fault.

Loss of Use: A homeowners policy will pay for a hotel stay, restaurant dinners, transportation and more if you are unable to live in your home while repairs are being made following a covered loss.

Get to Know Renters Insurance

Much like a homeowners policy, a renters insurance policy is also a form of property insurance. But instead of covering a homeowner, it covers an individual who rents their dwelling, be it a home, apartment, or condominium.

Unlike a homeowners policy, the structure of your dwelling is not covered––this protection is focused almost entirely on your possessions. The owner of the building you live in is responsible for any structural damage posed by fire, wind, or other threats. But if an electrical malfunction zaps the laptop you rely on for work or school, or a broken pipe floods your basement recording studio, that could be on you. A landlord’s homeowners policy will not reimburse or replace your personal property.

But renters policies do––that’s what they’re built for! That’s good news, but the even better news is that because renters policies are limited in what they cover, they are correspondingly less expensive to carry. For that reason alone–the coverage you get for the price you pay–renters coverage is a high-value policy to carry and non-negotiable for any modern renter.

This is even more true when you realize that coverage extends to your vehicle. We so often live out of our cars, or leave valuable or important items inside of them. If items are stolen from your car, it’s reassuring for renters to know that their insurance coverage will kick in and save the day. Of course whether you’ll be offered actual cash value, replacement, or a going market rate depends entirely on the language of your policy. And remember too that any physical damage to your vehicle that results from a theft still falls under the coverage from your auto policy, not renters.

A renters policy will also provide some liability coverage in the event that someone is injured while in your home and legal bills result. Sometimes your landlord’s policy might come into play here, since they own the property and structures, but this isn’t always the case. Get with your trusted Zinc agent to be sure that you’re covered in every way as a renter, including those unusual collectibles you like to keep at arm’s length (we see you).

Renters insurance covers:

Personal Property: A renters policy will pay for repair or replacement of personal belongings damaged or destroyed as part of a covered loss.

Personal Liability: Renters insurance offers payment toward medical and legal bills if a guest is injured or their property is damaged while at your home and you’re legally responsible.

Loss of Use: Renters policy will pay for a hotel stay, food, transportation and more if you cannot stay in your home or apartment while repairs are made following a covered loss.




Homeowners Insurance

Renters Insurance

Who needs this coverage?

homeowners

renters

What is covered?

Dwelling, other structures, personal property, liability, medical payments, and loss of use

Personal property, liability, and loss of use



What isn’t covered?

​Items of high value and collectibles, artwork, identity theft protection, earthquake or flood damage


​Dwelling, structures, medical payments, special items of high value and collectibles, earthquake or flood damage

Average cost per year?

Is it required?

​Yes, if you have a mortgage

​Depends on the landlord

How often must it be paid?

Premiums can generally be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually

Premiums can generally be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually

Is there a deductible?

Yes - amount depends on the policy

Yes - amount depends on the policy


What Are Covered Perils and Losses?

Though homeowners and renters insurance are different in some ways, this is one more similarity that they share: the list of covered perils. Both types of coverage will generally cover damage resulting from:

  • Fire, lightning, and smoke

  • Theft, vandalism, and riots

  • Windstorm and hail

  • Heavy snow, ice, and sleet

  • Falling objects

  • Appliances that heat steam and/or water

  • Overflow or leakage of water and/or steam

  • Frozen plumbing, heating, or air conditioning lines

  • Short circuits caused by electrical appliances

  • Explosions

  • Damage by third-party aircraft or vehicles

  • Volcanic eruption

Both homeowners and renters insurance will typically exclude covering damages resulting from:

  • Flooding

  • Earthquakes

  • Normal use/wear and tear

  • Negligence

  • Improper or inadequate maintenance

  • Mold or fungus

  • Pests or rodents

If you live in an area prone to flooding or earthquakes–two majorly destructive forces that aren’t typically covered by homeowners or renters insurance– there are additional steps to take to be sure that your home is protected against common threats. You can often either add on a special coverage to your policy, or you could potentially purchase a standalone earthquake or flood insurance policy. Chat up your Zinc agent to learn more and for tips to stay protected from every angle.

Are Renters and Homeowners Insurance Required?

Legally, no, neither are required by law. However, a lending organization that is financing your home purchase will generally require a homeowners policy because they hold a financial stake in your home until the loan is paid off. Various lenders will require different levels of coverage, often corresponding to the value of your home. Renter’s insurance isn’t required by law either, though a landlord may require it as part of a lease. Since their insurance coverage doesn’t extend to you, it just makes sense to take advantage of the protection that renters insurance provides.

What Determines The Price of Home And Renters Insurance?

In general, your insurance company will take a combination of factors into account when settling on the price of your renters or homeowners premium. These are the main data points they’re looking at:

  • Whether you live in or near to a natural disaster risk zone

  • The crime rate in and around where you live

  • Your personal credit score

  • Your insurance claim history

  • The deductible amount you’ve chosen

  • Total value of your personal property

  • Available and applicable discounts

On that last point, you could be happily surprised by all the available discounts that a savvy agent can find for you. These can range from simple additions, like installing deadbolt locks or an intruder alarm, to discounts for bundling policies along with loyalty rewards and a price cut for paying your premium in full.

Your trusted Zinc agent can talk you through all the potential discounts and help you to choose the best deductible to fit your circumstance. Because while it can be nice to have a lower monthly premium to pay, when it comes time to claim, that high deductible could be more trouble than it’s worth.

Every year, it’s a good idea to get with your insurance agency and review coverage options to be sure you’re totally covered, but not over-insured. You want to pay for the coverage you need now, not what you needed last year, when your risks were higher or when you lived in an area with a higher crime rate. And no matter the time of year or how long it’s been since you reviewed your policy with a Zinc agent, if you experience a major life event–birth, death, marriage, divorce, or a major medical or employment shift, to name a few–it’s time to give us a call to thoroughly assess your insurance coverage.

No matter your insurance needs, we’ve got you covered. Reach out to Zinc today and nail down protection.



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This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.

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