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Thanks for making it easy to find the cheapest renters insurance. Knowing our stuff is always protected gives me peace of mind.

Matt and Bethany, Charleston SC

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Whether you are renting a place to live or own your home, getting home contents insurance is a smart move. Home contents insurance is just that; it covers all possessions inside the home – not the building itself. It is also known as renter’s insurance but homeowners often find that they need it as well. A policy can be much easier to purchase than other kinds of insurance usually are, and relatively inexpensive. Well worth the peace of mind it can give you!

Homeowner’s insurance policies do cover personal possessions, but there are usually some qualifications or amount limits. Valuables or other items that would be expensive to replace might not be fully covered under your current policy. Family heirlooms that are only valued by you might not be covered at all because their value is more sentimental than material. And the average person who has lived in their home for several years has probably accumulated much more than is covered by their regular insurance. An annual review of your belongings and their replacement value is recommended. A home contents insurance policy can cover the difference between the insured value and the real value, and be tailored to your price range.

For a renter, home contents insurance should be considered a necessity; as a matter of fact, some landlords are now requiring that you have it before you can sign a lease. It is a rare landlord that is willing to insure both the structure and the contents of his property. The landlord is only concerned with the building. Many renters are not aware that their belongings are not covered by the landlord’s insurance. Usually it’s too late when they discover that one incident of theft, fire, or water damage has deprived them of everything they own. Without insurance the renter will have to pay to replace everything themselves. Most people can’t afford to do that.

A good home contents insurance policy will also cover items that you take away from your home, such as jewelry you are wearing, the bicycle you are riding, or even a cell phone or laptop. Some policies are even starting to cover expensive landscaping.

Add on renter’s liability insurance to cover the possibility that someone visiting you may get injured. The landlord’s insurance does not cover that, the renter is liable. A complete renter’s insurance policy can protect you against being sued for medical bills. It is also possible to get a relocation option in case your residence becomes unlivable because of damage, or you have to stay elsewhere during repairs.

So how much home contents insurance do you need? To know that, you have to know what your possessions are worth and how much it would cost to replace them. Remember that doesn’t just mean the jewelry and the TV, it includes carpet, appliances, furniture, paintings on the walls, clothes, literally everything but the walls and floors. You should also list anything in the garage, a shed, or the car. Many thieves make a career of just hitting neighborhoods periodically and breaking into all the cars, or stealing lawnmowers and tools out of the garage.

An inventory can be done a couple of ways. List templates are available in Microsoft Office Word. Many financial and insurance websites also have a downloadable inventory list for those who like to have hardcopy. This is the kind of record to keep in a safe deposit box if you have one, or online lists can also be kept offsite. A template from a company in your region is most likely to be modeled on what local regulations require. A photographic or video record of all the contents of your home is also usable and accepted by insurance companies as evidence of ownership and value. If you choose this method, take the time to get close-ups of all the really valuable items.

While you are in the process of listing all your belongings, you can also add a little insurance yourself. Police departments have long been recommending that you obtain a cheap engraving tool and put some kind of identifying mark on mass-produced items like TV sets, stereos and computers. This increases the chance of having your stolen items returned.

Once you know just how much insurance you need, it’s time to start looking for quotes. Online is a great place to look. Websites such as offer you the chance to get a number of free renters insurance rate quotes tailored specifically to your needs. Then you can do a comparison. The cheapest is not always the best. Weigh the cost versus the benefits of each policy before you choose. If you are going to purchase a home contents insurance policy, make sure that it will really cover your loss if something happens. Losing all you own is bad enough, not being able to replace everything is even worse. Home contents insurance can help reduce the trauma.