Have you ever had something snatched from you? Say, your phone, laptop, or even a piece of jewelry? Unfortunately, at some point, nearly everyone will go through that very unfortunate situation.  

In 2017 alone, there were 7,694,086 property theft cases (according to Statista)  – that’s as many instances as there are people in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, combined!

So other than wearing your backpack on your chest, or investing in some super heavy locks and installing an alarm system, how can you help soften the blow?

Turns out, if your stuff is stolen inside or outside your home, renters insurance can help reimburse! Your renters insurance policy can help alleviate some serious anxiety when it comes to theft – it protects your phone on the subway and your laptop at the coffee shop.

But what does renters insurance actually cover you for?

Renters insurance 101

Most people don’t know this, but if you’re renting your home, renters insurance coverage can help protect you and your stuff. While your landlord is responsible for any damage to your walls or the structure of your home (within reason), they aren’t responsible for you or your personal items.  

Renters insurance typically includes three types of coverage: Personal property, personal liability, and additional living expenses (‘loss of use in insurance-speak). What do all of these mean?

  • Personal property coverage – helps pay to replace your belongings if they’re stolen or damaged by a covered risk, such as theft, fire, windstorm, etc (‘named peril,’ in insurance-speak
  • Liability coverage – protects you if a guest is injured in your home, or if you accidentally damage someone else’s property
  • Loss of use – helps pay for things like your hotel bills or storage costs if your home becomes unlivable, due to things like fire or windstorm

Note: If your claim is approved, your insurance company will reimburse you, minus your deductible. Let’s say your $750 iPhone was stolen and your deductible was $250. Your insurer would pay you $500.

When does renters insurance cover theft?

Your renters insurance will cover most of your stuff for theft both inside and outside your home, including electronic items, furniture, clothing, and jewelry – as long as you’ve purchased enough coverage for ‘em!

What does ‘enough coverage’ mean? For each coverage type discussed above (personal property, personal liability, loss of use, etc.), your insurer will indicate your coverage limit– how much they can pay you if something happens.

So if you choose to get $30,000 of personal property coverage (aka, coverage for your stuff), your insurance company can pay you up to $30,000 for your stolen stuff. But if you choose only $10,000 worth of personal property coverage, and more than that is stolen, your renters insurance company can only pay up to $10,000 (minus your deductible, of course). If you’d like some help figuring out how much your stuff is worth, check out this quick guide. 

A couple of notes here: First off, if you have valuable items worth more than $1,500, such as jewelry, bikes, fine arts, etc, they aren’t covered in full under your base renters insurance policy. But don’t worry – you can get the best coverage for them with Extra Coverage.  

Also, take note that there are a couple of instances when theft isn’t covered by renters insurance. If you lend your friend your headphones, and they’re stolen in their possession, your renters insurance policy won’t cover you – because your item was in the possession of a third party.

If your insurer decides you were responsible for the theft due to negligence, like leaving the keys in your front door or leaving your bicycle unlocked — they might decide not to approve your claim.  

What if stuff was stolen outside of a home?

One of the best things about renters insurance is that you’re also covered for theft outside of your home. That means you’re protected if your laptop gets stolen from the local coffee shop, or if someone pickpockets your phone on the subway.

And what’s the radius of that coverage? Your personal belongings are even covered from theft while you’re abroad!

So let’s say you’re on a business trip, and return to your hotel with your laptop nowhere to be found. Or, your phone was swiped while dancing at a music festival — your renters insurance policy could have you covered. In short, there are a lot of common situations renters insurance covers you for.

Does renters insurance cover bike or car theft?

Renters insurance does cover bike theft — Hallelujah! Whether your bike was stolen from your apartment or snatched outside the local gym, you’re covered. Just be aware that if you damage or lose it, coverage limits apply, so if your bike costs more than $1,000, you’ll want to invest in some Extra Coverage.  

Btw, take note that renters insurance doesn’t cover car theft. Cars are insured separately by your auto insurance. However, renters insurance does cover you if your personal items, like a laptop or sports equipment, were stolen out of your car.

Renters insurance coverage perks - Lemonade Blog

How to reduce the chance of theft

It’s great to have insurance when something is stolen, but let’s be honest—we’d really rather it not happen at all. Here are some ways to reduce the likelihood of theft:

1. Lock it up

When you move into your new apartment, invest in some new locks! Your landlord might even agree to buy these for you. That way, you won’t have any creepy unplanned visits from old tenants or be vulnerable to burglary. Also, make sure to never write any part of your address on your keys (or anywhere else).

2. Keep your eyes open

If anyone asks to enter your home, always double and triple check. A ‘maintenance worker’ might want to enter under the guise of fixing something in the property — or they might claim your landlord sent them.

We’re more likely to be lax about security when it’s someone else’s property, but it’s good sense to never let anyone into your home unless you’ve been told first by your landlord, or if they have an official badge that checks out.

Also, get to know your neighbors, and who comes in and out of the building regularly. If there are any unfamiliar faces lurking around, you might want to inform the authorities.

3. Get digitally secure

It may feel like it’s just you and your friends Instagramming, but be aware, cyberspace can be a dark place. Keep track of what sort of information you post online, and ensure your home address or phone number aren’t publicly available. Criminals can use clues like phone numbers or home addresses to fraud authorities and potentially break into homes.

4. Stay safe!

Let’s be honest, life ain’t a piece of cake. We encounter all sorts of obstacles along the way—and theft is, unfortunately, one of ‘em.

Getting renters insurance is just good sense and covers you for more incidences than just theft. No matter how much your belongings are worth, when s**t hits the fan, you’ll be glad you had renters insurance.

Have more questions about renters insurance? Check out our guide to the most common renters insurance questions, answered (in plain English!).

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