Wise Choices - Oregon
Renter's insurance protects your property against damage or loss,
and insures you in case someone is injured while on your property.
It's offered by most companies that sell homeowner's insurance.
Why should I buy renter's insurance?
Your landlord's insurance doesn't cover your personal property
-- your clothes, furniture, stereo, computer, bicycle, jewelry,
or anything else. Renter's insurance does. Renter's insurance
also may pay for accidents that occur on your property or damage
to others' property. A renter's insurance policy insurance can
be an important -- and relatively inexpensive -- protection for
you and your family.
You can purchase different levels of coverage, but there may
be limits on the values of specific items covered. For example,
some policies limit the amount they will pay for computers, jewelry,
and other specific items. You may purchase additional coverage
("floaters") for items not covered in your basic policy.
You also may want to purchase separate coverage for losses due
to earthquake, flood, or other natural disasters.
How much insurance do I need?
- Estimate the value of your personal possessions. This is the
amount of insurance you need to replace the contents of your
home if everything is destroyed.
- Decide whether you need supplementary coverage, such as for
damages from flood or earthquake. The more coverage you buy,
the less you will have to pay out of your own pocket to replace
property that is destroyed or stolen.
What are deductibles?
A deductible is the amount you will pay out of your own pocket
before your insurance pays on a claim. This amount may be a percentage
of the value of the actual loss, a percentage of the value of
the insured property, or a specific dollar amount. For example,
if your policy has a $200 deductible and your claim is $1,000,
you will pay the first $200 and the insurance company will pay
the remaining $800.
What's the difference between actual cash value and replacement
You can insure your property in either of two ways -- the actual
cash value, or the replacement cost.
Actual cash value
This coverage considers the age and condition of the item at
the time of the damage or loss, and pays only what it is worth
to replace it with an item of similar condition -- used.
This pays you the cost to replace the covered item with a comparable
new item. Replacement value policies usually cost more, and may
What does it cost?
One year's coverage at the following levels:
* $20,000 replacement value for contents
* $100,000 personal liability
* $250 deductible
Company A $107
Company B $127
Company C $145
Other Common Questions
If I file a claim, will my policy be cancelled?
It's possible, but unlikely. If the loss was your fault, such
as a fire from smoking in bed, the insurance company might refuse
to renew your policy. If you weren't responsible for the loss
or damage, your insurance shouldn't be affected.
What happens if my property is stolen or damaged away
from my home?
With some restrictions, your property usually is covered wherever
you are. Restrictions may include a limit on the value of property
that will be covered, such as up to 10 percent of your total coverage.
I'm a student. Does my parents' policy cover me?
If you are under 26, attending college, and living in a dorm,
your parents' homeowner's or renter's policy may give you limited
coverage. You will not be covered on their policy if you live
in an apartment.
Can roommates or unmarried couples purchase renter's
Yes, but find out whether your policy needs to be updated if
you get a new roommate, or if all your roommates need to be named
under the policy. Some policies automatically extend coverage
to any resident of a policyholder's household who fits the definition
of a "domestic partner." Otherwise, consider
carrying separate coverage for each of the adult tenants.
What if something in my home that doesn't belong to me
Within the limits of your policy, usually any items that are
"in your possession" are covered by standard renter's
Is my bicycle covered? My car?
Your bike is covered, but not your auto. A separate insurance
policy is needed for vehicles such as cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles,
Be an informed consumer and shop around for the best
price. Make sure you are comparing similar policies between
companies, with the same deductibles and levels of coverage. When
getting quotes you should have ready:
- a basic description of your property.
- the distance from the nearest fire department and fire hydrant.
- a list of any security devices in your home.
- the coverages and limits you want.
Ask for discounts. Some insurers offer discounts
on renter's insurance if they are also your auto insurance company
or if you are a nonsmoker; don't be afraid to ask about these
and other discounts.
Choose the highest deductible you comfortably can afford.
The higher the deductible you choose, the lower your
Keep a list. Keep an accurate list of your possessions,
their purchase prices, model numbers,and serial numbers. Store
this list and photos or a video of your possessions in a safe-deposit
box or other secure site away from your home.
Reduce your chances of having to file a claim. Install
anti-theft and safety devices.
Read your policy. Read your policy carefully
and make sure you understand its terms. It is a contract between
you and your insurance company. Don't sign it unless you understand
what is and isn't covered, your responsibilities and rights, and
the limits of your coverage.
Ask questions. If you have questions about insurance,
call the Oregon Insurance Division at (503) 947-7984.
Remember that an insurance company's customer service track record
can be as important as its price. Oregon Insurance Consumer Advocacy
produces an annual index of Oregon insurance complaints. It ranks
companies based on the number of complaints closed by the Oregon
Wise Choices is an educational series from the Oregon
Department of Consumer & Business Services. It's intended
to inform Oregonians about their rights in insurance, investments
and banking, occupational safety and health, building codes, and
The information contained in Wise Choices is in the public domain,
and may be reprinted without permission.
To receive more information on DCBS programs to protect and educate consumers, please write to: DCBS Wise Choices, PO Box 14480, Salem, OR 97309-0405.
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