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The Complete California Renters Insurance Guide

The Complete California Renters Insurance Guide

Are you currently one of the millions of California residents renting a house, apartment, condominium or other type of live-in dwelling?  Are you under the impression that the landlords insurance policy on the building is enough to protect you personally in the event of theft, fire, water or smoke damage or even some type of serious weather event?  If so, this brief article is meant for you.  Here we will discuss just how protected you and your belongings are should one of these events occur, and how a California Renters Insurance policy can bring you some peace of mind.

How Protected Are You as a Renter?

If you’re a renter residing in California, by law the building owner is required to maintain insurance on the dwelling he or she rents, but how does that protect you?  Basically it doesn’t.  All this means is that the house or apartment you rent—the building itself—is insured by the owner, and should something happen to this structure as the result of fire, water damage, etc, the building owner is entitled to file a claim.  However, if this same fire or water damage should ruin your sofa, clothes or other personal items, you are not protected against the loss of these items unless you buy a California Renters Insurance policy.  Moreover, if someone becomes injured while on the premises you rent, you could potentially be held liable for any medical and hospital expenses.

What is California Renters Insurance?

California Renters insurance is a type of policy offered by most major California insurers.  These policy types provide competitive protection for your valued assets as well as liability protection in the event someone becomes injured at your place of residence.  Basic California Renters insurance will provide protection for your assets against all of the following:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Water Damage
  • Smoke Damage
  • Explosion
  • Wind
  • Hail

If you have items in the house with a particularly high replacement value, things like jewelry, heirlooms and antiques, a basic renters insurance policy may not be enough to cover the real value of these items.  In these cases, you should check with your insurance carrier about any possible exclusion to your policy and the additional insurance coverage offered for these items.

California Renters Insurance:  Replacement Cost versus Actual Cash Value

California Renters Insurance policies come in two types, but if your goal is to replace damaged or stolen items you’d be wise to seek out a policy offering replacement cost rather than actual cash value.  An actual cash value policy, or ACV, will only pay what the item was worth when it became damaged or stolen.  For instance, a television that was purchased 10 years ago will be worth a lot less today, and with an ACV policy you would only receive compensation for the current value of the television—an amount not near enough to replace the television at todays costs.

California Renters Insurance:  Options and Add-Ons

Basic California Renters Insurance will only protect your personal assets, however, there are certain options you can add to your policy to become fully protected.  These include:

  • Personal Liability Insurance.  Personal liability insurance is extremely important; especially if you frequently entertain or have people not living with you visit your house or apartment.  This type of insurance will protect you against the high cost of medical bills or hospital payments should someone become injured while at your residence and decide to sue you for damages.
  • Antique Insurance.  If you have valuable antiques or family heirlooms, these items may not be protected in a standard California Renters Insurance policy.  There is, however, the option of having these items individually assessed and included as a rider to your existing basic policy.
  • Jewelry Insurance.  Particularly valuable pieces of jewelry may not be covered under a basic renters insurance policy.  Be sure to check with your insurance agent about items not protected against the above-named types of losses.

California Renters Insurance Policy:  Things to Remember

Before signing on the dotted line, take the time to do a complete inventory of all your personal belongings, taking photos of things like furniture, jewelry and expensive electronic items.  Calculate the replacement costs for these items and double check with your insurance agent to make certain you are fully protected against any type of loss.

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