Should you file a claim with your renters insurance company? Our guide to renters insurance claims will give you all the info you need.Get a Lemonade Renters Quote
The two primary protections a renters insurance policy provides are coverage for a renter's liability and personal property. The liability portion of renters insurance coverage protects you if you’re found responsible for bodily injury or property damage suffered by another person or their property. The personal property segment of a renters insurance policy protects your possessions — like clothing and furniture — if they’re damaged or destroyed from a covered loss occurring at your rental property.
If you’re familiar with filing insurance claims — whether for auto or homeowners insurance — you might be familiar with the considerations to keep in mind before completing a claims form. Use the below guide to determine if filing a renters claim makes sense for your situation and to learn how to maximize your payout and replace your damaged items.
Suffering losses to your personal possessions — through no fault of your own — is mentally and emotionally taxing, especially after events like natural disasters. If you were displaced from your rental property after it became inhabitable, leading to you finding accommodations elsewhere, make sure to save all of your receipts.
You should also immediately notify your landlord or property management company. You are not responsible for any structural damage for your rental; those damages should be covered by your landlord.
You'll need to first figure out if filing a renters insurance claim will be worth it, as opposed to simply paying out-of-pocket without involving your renters insurance company.
Consider how much your deductible is, and if it makes financial sense to have your renters insurance step in. Insurance is generally most useful for catastrophic or large losses for your property, but taking an inventory of your losses will help you determine whether it’s worth filing a claim.
For example, if you sustain $2,000 worth of property losses in your rental and your deductible is $500, it would make sense to file a claim as that amount more than meets your deductible. But if you sustained just $200 worth of losses, you’d be losing money by going ahead with a claim without meeting your deductible.
This has to do with the way renters insurance companies handle clients deemed to be “risky.” Spacing out your claims as much as possible is the best way to avoid being dropped from your insurer when you need them most. Try to avoid filing more than one claim every five to 10 years. Otherwise, you could have trouble finding an insurance company willing to cover you, and coverage can be much more expensive if you have a recent history of claims.
Verifying that an event qualifies under your coverage by checking the details of your policy will save you from the disappointment of later finding out your loss is actually excluded. Remember that not every event is covered. Learn more about what’s covered by renters insurance.
Not everything in insurance is cut and dry, however. If you read your renters policy and you're still unsure whether an event is covered or not, give them a call to ask before filing a claim. Be clear to them that you're not calling to file a claim — you simply have questions about your policy. Some companies can misinterpret your intentions when you have questions about whether a loss is covered, even if you don't intend on making a claim.
Before you call up your renters insurance company to file your claim, keep these tips in mind to ensure your payout is fair.
You want to be as honest as you can when you’re providing your side of the story to your insurance provider. Claims adjusters could dispute your claim if they think you could have done something to prevent the loss, or if it’s revealed that your negligence played a role in your claim. Don’t lie or be argumentative with your claims adjuster; stay polite and avoid blaming yourself or others about what happened.
Don’t expect your insurer or claims adjuster to do the legwork for you; wherever possible, insurance companies will always seek to save money and lessen your payout. By keeping a detailed inventory of your losses, ideally with brand names, any special features, model numbers and more, you are more likely to recuperate what you’ve lost — minus any depreciation as personal property is usually paid out on an actual cash value basis. Replacement cost coverage doesn't deduct for depreciation and can be added to your policy as an endorsement for additional premium.
Make sure to include the small stuff, too — even if they’re not worth much. If you’re having trouble meeting your deductible, these smaller items can add up.
The four most common reasons claims for renters insurance can be denied are detailed below.
While personal property coverage and personal liability protection are important parts of your renters insurance policy, not every loss is worth filing a claim over. Taking extra care to understand your renters policy will ensure you won't lose money in the long run or endure elevated rates for years.
Making a detailed home inventory of your personal possessions within the first month of holding your renters insurance policy will come in handy, but this can also be done right before filing your claim to calculate your losses. Documentation plays an important role in the renters insurance claims process, providing evidence to back up your claim. In any case, you should be honest, truthful and factual when speaking to your claims adjuster or renters insurance company so your claim will be settled in a timely fashion.