Renters Insurance

How to Give Proof of Renters Insurance

How to Give Proof of Renters Insurance

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When you rent a new home, your landlord may require proof that you've purchased a renters insurance policy. In most cases, this simply means either sending over a copy of your policy or requesting that your insurer add your landlord as an interested party to your policy. Renters insurance isn't required by state or federal law, but landlords have the right to make it a condition of your lease.

Even if your landlord doesn't require you to purchase a policy, having tenants insurance is often a good investment — especially since renters insurance costs on average only about $187 per year.

What is proof of renters insurance?

Proof of renters insurance can refer to any way that you show your landlord that you've bought a policy. There's no uniform benchmark for proof, however. Instead, it's up to your landlord's discretion. While there are a number of methods for proving that you're insured, you should speak to your landlord or consult your lease to be sure of your obligations.

It's common for landlords to require you add them as an interested party when you purchase renters insurance. As an interested party, you landlord is alerted if your policy lapses or terminates unexpectedly. This is an effective method of proof because it prevents you from canceling your policy after you've fulfilled your lease's requirements.

Ways to prove you have renters insurance

There are a number of ways to prove to your landlord that you've bought renters insurance. Your lease may specify a certain method, but if it doesn't you can:

  • Send a copy of your policy's declarations page: Your renters insurance policy's declarations page outlines the details of your coverage. This document contains your name, provider and policy number, and how much coverage you bought — including any additional endorsements. You may find a digital version of this information as long as your insurer has an online presence, or you can request a physical copy from your insurance company. If your lease doesn't specify a method of delivery, you could email a copy of your declarations page to your landlord or send it through the mail. You could also deliver it in person.
  • Request that your insurance representative notify your landlord: After you purchase renters insurance, you could ask your insurance representative to notify your landlord that you've bought coverage. Your representative might mail a copy of your declarations page to your property's owner or send proof of purchase under the company's letterhead.
  • Upload a digital file: It's not uncommon, especially when living in a unit rented out by a large firm, that tenants will have to engage with their building's owners through property management software. These programs allow landlords to collect rent, schedule maintenance and, among other things, communicate any requirements regarding renters insurance. If your landlord uses a form of property management software and stipulates coverage, you may be able to supply proof of your renters insurance by uploading a digital copy of your declarations page directly into the program.
  • Give a verbal confirmation: With some landlords, a verbal confirmation from you might be enough proof that you've purchased renters insurance. If your building's owner considers this type of proof sufficient, you shouldn't lie to avoid buying coverage. In the event that you suffer a loss and it's discovered that you never actually fulfilled the requirements of your lease, your landlord could have grounds to pursue eviction.

How much renters insurance do landlords require?

Your lease will tell you how much renters insurance to buy if your landlord requires you to carry coverage. Unless your obligation is stated in your lease, it's not legal for your landlord to require you to buy insurance. Typically, landlords only ask you to carry personal liability insurance, the kind of coverage that pays for injuries others suffer in your apartment. Because your landlord only owns the building you live in, they often won't be concerned about whether your own stuff is covered.

For the most part, the amount of renters insurance your landlord can compel you to buy depends on their own discretion. However, in some states, like Oregon, there are laws that cap the amount of coverage you can be required by your landlord to purchase. Additionally, Oklahoma is the only state that prohibits tenants from being obligated to buy coverage.

In some states, like Virginia, it's also possible for landlords to purchase renters insurance on behalf of their tenants and include the price of a policy in the rent. Before you purchase your own policy, make sure this isn't the case for you — otherwise you'd be paying twice for the same coverage. If there's no provision in your lease that makes buying renters insurance mandatory, your landlord can't legally hold you responsible if you choose to remain uninsured.

How long does it take to get renters insurance?

If your lease requires you to get renters insurance, it doesn't take very long to get coverage. Unlike other forms of insurance, there are no waiting periods or enrollments for purchasing renters insurance. You can also buy coverage online or in person. Since even most insurance companies that are known for having local brick-and-mortar locations also maintain an online presence, you could reasonably buy tenants insurance and provide digital proof of purchase in less than half an hour.

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