Renters insurance will cover your personal belongings whether they are stolen inside or outside your home. You would be covered up to the limits of your policy, though certain objects will have caps to coverage. In this article we discuss more in-depth the nuances of theft coverage on your renters policy, as well as how to file a claim.
When Does Renters Insurance Cover Theft?
Your renters insurance will cover the vast majority of theft cases from your apartment or house. Theft protection also extends outside your home. If your bike is stolen from the outside, or your luggage is stolen while you're traveling, you would be able to file a claim with your company to be reimbursed.
A couple notable exceptions are for property stolen at a construction site, and your car. While objects in your car that are stolen would be covered, the car itself is expected to be insured under an auto insurance policy.
Another exception is if you live in a residence not listed on your renters policy - you're typically not covered in this case. If you are student however, and are living in temporary housing, your renters insurance will still cover you in that circumstance. You just have to return to the residence linked to the renters policy at some point during the year when your temporary housing expires.
If your roommate's stuff is stolen, and they are not on the policy, you cannot use your renters insurance to recoup their losses. Renters policies do not extend to everyone in the household automatically unless they are your spouse. Each roommate needs to take out their own plan or be joined together on the same plan. Most companies will allow you to add one non-relative, so their own belongings can be protected. If you live in an area prone to crime and burglary, we'd highly recommend all renters get a policy. If you choose to share your policy as well, we recommend you increase the limits of the policy.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cover You After a Theft?
You would be insured for the full limits of your policy for most ordinary objects, like your wardrobe. If for example your clothes were stolen out of your home you would be able to file a claim and be reimbursed for their full value. Renters policies will usually cap the amount you can be reimbursed for objects like electronics, jewelry and money. If a thief swiped your computer or cell phone, you would be typically covered up to a couple thousand dollars. The following table shows all the restrictions:
|Personal Items||Common Limits to Coverage|
|Fraudulent Credit Card Charges||$500|
If you feel the amount afforded to any of the above items is not adequate, we'd recommend you ask your renters insurance company about "scheduling" them. What that means is you pay a little bit extra to get more coverage to those objects. Most insurers will allow you to schedule jewelry, electronics, and musical instruments--though typically not credit cards or cash. The cost for scheduling is generally a few extra dollars per year, and can be well worth it if you have expensive equipment in your rental.
Lastly, if for whatever reason your property is stolen in a place you do business, there would be a limit to your coverage--typically around $1,500. For example if your office was broken into and your personal belongings were stolen, you could use your renters policy to reimburse you up to the $1,500.
How to File a Claim After a Theft
It is important to follow several steps when filing a theft claim to your renters insurance company in order to ensure a smooth process. The first thing to do after your things have been taken is to call the police. If you don't call the police after being robbed and obtain a police report, it could make your claim look suspicious.
Fraudulent insurance claims are incredibly costly to companies, so they will be extra vigilant in cases of theft due to the ease of filing those types of claims. Some renters insurance companies may not even accept your claim without the police report. Once you have a copy of the report, you can file your claim either online or over the phone to your company. We'd advise you have a list of everything that was taken as well as their value. You are not expected to have receipts for everything that was taken but their reported value should be close to what you remembered buying them for. Your company will then review the case and the police report. If everything seems legitimate, they will then issue you your recompense as it abides to the rules of your coverage.