Cheat Sheet: What Renters Insurance Doesn't Cover

Confusion over renters insurance policy should not be a liability – we’re here to help!

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade

Let’s face it: your belongings are important to you. If a house fire destroyed your favorite watch or a burglar snatched your cherished iPad, it would be a devastating blow. If you want to protect your things and your peace of mind, renters insurance is an excellent solution.

If your insurance policy confuses you, you’re not alone: 37% of millennials don’t have renters insurance because they don’t know how it works.

We’re here to put an end to the confusion. To clear things up, renters insurance covers stolen or damaged property (but accidental damage or breakage is not covered). Renters insurance also provides personal liability coverage, which protects you if you’re responsible for an accident or damage to another person or their property.

But what isn’t covered by your basic renters insurance policy, you ask? Wonder no more.

We’re here to answer your most common questions about what renters insurance doesn’t cover.

1. Does renters insurance cover natural disasters?

2. Does renters insurance cover car theft?

3. Does renters insurance cover undocumented items?

4. Does renters insurance cover my roommate’s stuff?

5. Does renters insurance cover damage by pests?

6. Does renters insurance cover property damage?

1. Does renters insurance cover natural disasters?  

Natural Disaster - renters insurance coverage

If you live in a place where flooding, sinkholes, or earthquakes are common, beware! Renters insurance typically does not cover items damaged by these types of natural disasters. Before you start to pack your bags, don’t fear – you can purchase an additional flood insurance policy that covers that possibility.

Pro Tip: if a volcanic eruption, wildfire, or tornado destroys your things, you’re most likely covered.

2. Does renters insurance cover car theft?

Cars and renters insurance coverage

If someone steals stuff from inside your car (which we hope never happens!), renters insurance has your back. However, we must warn you that renters insurance doesn’t cover damage to your car itself. In fact, it doesn’t cover any ‘motor vehicles’ – that’s insurance speak for electric bikes or scooters, too.

Here’s an example: if someone snatches your laptop inside your car, you’re covered. But if someone steals your car itself, renters insurance doesn’t cover you – that’s what auto insurance is for.

3. Does renters insurance cover undocumented items?

undocumented items and renters insurance coverage

If you can’t prove you own your items or prove the value of them, you may be out of luck. When you file an insurance claim, you’re often asked to provide a receipt. 

Here are two tips to help you avoid this scenario: Keep receipts of everything so you know how much your stuff is worth, and take pictures of your items and documents on your phone just to be safe. You’ll thank yourself one day!

4. Does renters insurance cover my roommate’s stuff?

roommate's stuff and renters insurance coverage

If your roommate’s things are damaged, lost, or stolen, your insured-self unfortunately can’t come to the rescue. It may be wise to recommend to your roommate that he or she invests in their own policy (and reads this article in case they are confused)! Renters insurance doesn’t cover roommates, or their stuff.

However, if your roommate happens to be related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption, you’re in the clear.

5. Does renters insurance cover damage by pests?

renters insurance and pests - coverage

As if rodents, pests, and bugs aren’t irritating enough, renters insurance does not cover any damage done by these creatures. And for some more pesty news, the cost of an exterminator will not be covered either.

So, consider these creepers a liability (if you don’t already), and invest in some preventive measures to avoid an infestation.

6. Does renters insurance cover property damage?

physical damages to a building and renters insurance coverage

Renters insurance covers your stuff, but it doesn’t cover the physical building that holds your stuff. That’s the job of your landlord’s insurance. So, if your building has roof leaks, your landlord owes you a dry roof over your head. We suggest that you check with your landlord to make sure they have the right coverage for your building.

Hopefully, this cheat sheet has cleared things up about what is not covered by renters insurance. And, fortunately, the average cost of renters insurance is pretty low, starting at $5/month. Don’t let your hesitation become a liability.

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Please Note: These definitions don’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade. They are intended for educational purposes only - they’re not meant to be used in lieu of professional legal or financial advice. We’ll do our best to keep them updated, but they may not always reflect current industry developments. Feel free to use the terms with attribution (friends don’t let friends plagiarize!)
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