What is Renters Insurance?

New Jersey residents who lease an apartment, townhouse, condo, or single-family house are exposed to many of the same perils that homeowners face. Even though they don’t own the home they live in, tenants can still be the victim of a burglary, lose everything in a fire, or be named in a libel suit. Renters insurance helps protect renters from many of the potential risks they could face.

Renters policies are similar to homeowners insurance policies, but they’re designed with tenants’ specific insurance needs in mind. Because renters don’t own the buildings they live in, renters policies generally don’t provide dwelling coverage. They can include several other coverages that homeowners policies frequently provide, though.

Who May Benefit from Having a Renters Policy?

Most people who rent a place in New Jersey could benefit from having a renters policy. Regardless of whether a tenant is renting the most expensive penthouse in Atlantic CIty, NJ or a single room in a Toms River, NJ house, a burglary, fire, or other incident could be financially devastating. Renters insurance is one of the best ways for tenants to make sure they could recover from a covered incident.

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What Coverages Do Renters Policies Offer?

Most renters policies provide three primary coverages:

  • Personal Property Coverage, which is used to insure a policyholder’s personal possessions
  • Additional Living Expenses Coverage, which can help displaced tenants pay for lodging and other living expenses if their rental unit is uninhabitable due to a covered claim
  • Liability Coverage, which may pay for legal expenses and settlements associated with a liability lawsuit

While most renters policies include these three foundational coverages, the terms, conditions and exclusions of these coverages can differ from policy to policy. In order to fully understand the protections that a policy’s coverages offer, tenants must read the policy’s paperwork. 

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Do Students Attending College in New Jersey Need Renters Insurance?

There are several factors that influence whether college students who are attending one of New Jersey’s post-secondary institutions need a renters policy. Students who live on campus may have their belongings covered by their parents’ homeowners policy, but few homeowners policies extend coverage to students who move off-campus. If students can’t get coverage through their parent’s homeowners policy, they’re often wise to purchase a renters policy. Without one, the belongings they have at school may be unprotected.

Are Renters Policies Expensive?

Most renters policies are very affordable. Since renters policies don’t typically provide coverage for a building, insurers take on less risk when they underwrite renters policies than when they underwrite homeowners policies. As a result, they’re often able to offer renters lower rates than they can give homeowners. In many cases, renters policies cost just a few dollars a month (exact premiums vary).

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How Can Tenants Get a Renters Policy?

New Jersey tenants who want to find the best combination of coverage and price on renters insurance should contact an independent insurance agent who’s licensed in the state. Independent agents aren’t obligated to promote a particular insurer’s policies, so they can help renters objectively compare policies from multiple insurers. They’re able to show renters policies’ differences in coverages and premiums, so tenants can choose the one that perfectly balances protections and cost for them. Best of all, agents have resources and expertise that let them compare several policies in just a few minutes, making the insurance-shopping process quick and easy for tenants.

Meet Your Industry Specialist

Jim Hickey

Mr. Hickey is a Partner and the President of Personal Lines. He was the President of Links Insurance Services, which he started in 2001. Jim grew Links Insurance to 40 employees by the time it became a division of World Insurance Associates in 2019.

Jim Hickey has been a top commercial and personal lines producer for the past 15 years and has guided the company to 18 years of year-over-year growth.

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