For a multitude of reasons, many Florida residents are renters - they don't own their own homes because they are young and just starting out, because they have suffered a financial setback in the current economy, or because they just don't want to deal with the obligations of home ownership. Just because you don’t own the house, condo or apartment you reside in doesn’t mean that you don’t have lots of important things to protect. If you are considering renters insurance for the first time in Florida, then there are some things you must know prior to talking with your insurance agent.
Lesson 1: Contents
Most Florida renters want to make sure to get insurance coverage for their belongings. Furniture, stereo equipment, computers, clothing, small appliances —all the personal property inside your apartment that is exposed to risks every day. The contents coverage in a typical Florida renters insurance policy covers all these items and more. But that is actually small list. Contents covers all you have inside the apartment, unless is it specifically excluded in the policy.
The renters policy typically does not cover appliances or furniture if they are owned and provided by the apartment owner (i.e., the fridge and stove if supplied; a furnished apartment). In Florida, contents coverage in a renters insurance policy is basically meant to provide you, the renter, protection for those items you own.
Lesson 2: Liability
While in your apartment (or other rented home), any number of events could happen to harm your landlord’s property. Floods, leaks, and normal wear and tear are all typically considered to be the landlord’s responsibility to cover financially. But what if you do something careless that exposes your landlord to damages they otherwise would not have endured?
For example, you leave the bathtub running and it overflows, destroying your floor—and your downstairs’ neighbor’s ceiling. The damages from such an event would be considered your mistake and you, consequently, would be legally responsible to pay for the damages that they cause. With renters insurance liability coverage, you may have options to help you pay your landlord back for these damages without paying out of your own pocket.
Lesson 3: Loss of Use
There are several events that can occur which are entirely outside your power—and when you reside in an rental home, there is even more chances for these uncontrollable events to occur. So if your apartment should turn out to be uninhabitable through no error of your own, for example, a hurricane that causes structural damage to the building (always a possibility in south Florida), then loss of use coverage will provide you with a reasonable amount of money to pay for your temporary lodging.
Lesson 4: Medical Payments
If someone is hurt in your apartment, through no fault or neglect of your landlord, then you could be found liable for paying his or her medical bills. Medical payments coverage in a renters policy will make these payments for you so that you do not have to pay out-of-pocket.
Lesson 5: Deductibles and Limits
When you purchase your Florida renters insurance policy, you will be asked to select a deductible and a limit for the coverages you choose.
Your deductible is the amount of money that you must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company will step in and make payments. Choosing a high deductible lessens the insurance company’s risk and will result in a lower insurance premium, but it will also mean that you have more financial liability when things go wrong.
Your limits are the maximum amounts that your renters insurance policy will pay for each kind of claim. If your limits are small, it will result in a less expensive policy since the insurance company will be guaranteeing smaller payments for insurable events, but it could also mean that you don’t get reimbursed as much as you should when things go wrong, or that you have more personal liability if your limits are lower than you are found to owe for medical payments or damage to the property.
The agents here at Wiglesworth-Rindom Insurance Agency in Delray Beach have many, many years of experience in helping renters determine exactly what renters coverage is right for them - taking into account all of the specifics about their homes, their personal property and their financial situations. After you've acquainted yourself with the basics about Florida renters insurance, give us a call to help you navigate the rest of the process.
Click here to submit a quote request for renters insurance or give us a call at 561-637-2424.