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Matt and Bethany, Charleston SC

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Household content insurance is different from homeowner's insurance. Homeowner's insurance, also called hazard insurance or HOI, often includes household content insurance, but it's not the same thing. HOI covers your property, liability and personal possession.

As a renter, you don't need a homeowner's policy, because your landlord has one. It should cover all damages of the home. You do need household content insurance, however. Your landlord's policy won't cover your stuff, nor will cover your liability. Some experts say that household content insurance is important even if you don't have valuable items, because you need liability coverage.

If you know anything about legal fees, you know that they're very costly! That's why you need a policy that protects your liability. Otherwise, you're going to pay some outrageous costs. Your savings and future earnings will be in danger. In any case, you should get household content insurance as part of your renter's insurance.

How Much is Renter's Insurance?

There's a common myth that renters and house contents insurance is really expensive, but it's not at all. Actually, it's very affordable! You can often pay for household content insurance with your monthly pocket change. Insuring the content in your home is definitely worth it, considering the cost.

Also, as noted above, it's worth getting a renter's policy to cover the liability issues, in addition to the content. Even if the content in your household isn't valuable, liability is a concern. Your landlord's policy will cover the household itself, in the case of property damage, but not your content. It will also cover liability, but not yours!

Imagine if someone slips on the steps of your home and sues you. If your steps are icy because it's winter, you could be in big trouble. That's part of why you need a policy as a renter. Otherwise, you could pay millions for a little accident, even one that's not really your fault.

Homeowner's Policy

Household content insurance is different from homeowner's, or HOI. HOI is for the owner of the house. It often protects both the property and the content of the house, as well as the liability of the owner. However, it typically doesn't include any protection for renters. It may include protection from renters (if you sue, for example), but it's not going to help you.

HOI is typically much more expensive than a renter's policy. An owner needs to insure to the cost of replacement. If the house burns down, for example, the HOI will cover the owner. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense that insuring the household content is a lot cheaper than insuring the household itself!

There are several types of policies for residential situations. One is the HO-4, which is designed for renters. Another is the HO-6, which is for condo owners. Both of them cover approximately the same perils.

What Standard Policies Cover

Your standard household policy will cover you in the case of many natural disasters. It covers you in the incidence of fire or lighting. It also covers windstorm and hail damage. It doesn't cover flooding, though, so if you live in an area prone to floods you may need a special rider policy to protect you.

Household content insurance also covers you in the case of explosion, riots, mischief or theft. Believe it or not, it also covers damage caused by aircrafts and vehicle (though you should confirm that). Furthermore, this policy will protect you in the case of ice, sleet or snow, as well as freezing.

If the plumbing, air conditioning, fire sprinkler system or heating freezes, your policy will protect you. Also, if there's an overflow of water or steam from a household appliance, you'r covered. Note that earthquakes aren't on the list, either.

Again, if you live in a place prone to earthquakes, you should get a rider. You may also need one for hurricanes, if you live in a coastal region. You may need one for wind damage (that's not caused by an average windstorm). If the area your from is susceptible to unusual natural disasters, be sure to purchase additional coverage.

This policy will also cover you if you need a new home temporarily. If your house is unlivable due to damage, your insurer will pay for you to live elsewhere for a temporary period of time. This is an added benefit that could save you a lot of money in the case of an accident.

Household content insurance will be calculated based on where you live, the deductible you want and the insurer you choose. Feel free to use the free simple form above to help you find quotes for renter policies. You may be able to reduce the cost of your premium by choosing a higher deductible, and checking all protective devices.