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Compare renters insurance options

Renters insurance may be a no-brainer to protect your belongings from adverse events. Compare renters insurance coverage to find an insurance policy that may suit you.

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What is renters insurance?

When it comes to protecting your belongings, insurance is not just reserved for homeowners in Australia. 

Renter’s insurance typically refers to a type of insurance that protects your belongings and offers you coverage for personal items such as furniture and valuables. 

There are different types of rental insurance:

  • Renters insurance
  • Renters contents insurance

There is a slight difference between these two policy types. Rental contents insurance may exclusively focus on protecting the renter's personal belongings inside the property. Whereas renters insurance may be more comprehensive, protecting you in the event of accidental property damage, or covering your expenses if your rented property becomes uninhabitable.

You pay a premium to the insurance provider, which may protect your belongings in the event that adverse scenarios (outlined in your policy) may occur. If your belongings are stolen or your home is vandalised, renters contents insurance can provide compensation to replace or repair the affected items.

Unlike home insurance which can be recommended with your home loan application, rental home insurance is an optional policy. The extent of coverage for your possessions will vary depending on your chosen insurance provider and policy type.

What does renters insurance cover?

Most policies generally include the following categories for renters insurance:

  • Furniture - Furniture items like couches, chairs, tables and cabinets.
  • Electronics - TVs, laptops, gaming consoles and sound systems.
  • Appliances - Essential household appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, ovens, and more.
  • Clothing and personal items -Clothing, shoes, handbags, and more.
  • Jewellery - Valuable jewellery items, including rings, necklaces, and bracelets, can be covered under your policy, though there might be limits on coverage for high-value items.
  • Art and collectibles -Artwork, antiques, and collectibles are often covered, although specialised or exceptionally valuable items might require additional coverage.

Generally speaking, nearly all items within your home may qualify for coverage. Some policies even go the extra mile by including protection for food spoilage in cases where power outages are caused by weather-related incidents. Some policies may also include belongings such as sports equipment or books and media. 

Will the insurer replace or provide payment for items?

When you file a claim on your renters insurance, your insurance company typically replaces the item with the same item or something similar. If the insurer approves your claim but cannot find a suitable replacement, it may instead:

  1. Offer you a cash payment for that item
  2. Offer you a gift card to cover that item
  3. Offer you money to replace or fix the item yourself

The insurer may also request that it has the item fixed by specialists and professionals in repair services.

What events are covered by renters insurance?

The specific events that could trigger your renters insurance coverage will always vary between insurers. However, the typical list may include:

Certain renter's insurance plans might offer the option to include extra features for your belongings. These add-ons usually come with an extra charge and can encompass events like:

  • Protection against floods (will depend on geographical factors)
  • Coverage for motor burnout situations (where equipment malfunctions due to a blown fuse)
  • Protection for valuables you take outside of your home (cameras, laptops etc.)

It’s also worth noting that if a worst-case scenario did occur and you can't stay in your home, renters insurance may help pay for a temporary place to stay while your place gets fixed. 

Prior to applying, it's essential to confirm the exact inclusions of the policy you're interested in. Some policies may automatically cover specific items or situations, while others might require additional charges.

Are items outside of your home covered by renters insurance?

You may have valuable items that you frequently take outside your home that become damaged, lost or stolen.

For added protection of valuable possessions, like cameras, music equipment, laptops, and engagement rings, many insurers offer portable contents insurance (also known as personal effects cover) as an optional addition to your contents insurance policy.

How much does renters insurance cost?

There is no hard and fast rule to how much renters insurance may cost you, as it depends on key factors like:

  • Coverage type and limits
  • Your location
  • Value of insured items
  • History of claims
  • Personal information, such as your age
  • Type of residence
  • Security measures in the home

Is renters insurance worth the cost in Australia?

Between your health insurance and car insurance, squeezing in an additional insurance premium into your budget as a renter may seem like a tall order. 

Renters insurance can cost at least a couple hundred dollars each year, depending on the state or territory you live in, the value of your belongings and your personal information. This may not be affordable for every renter.

However, there are significant benefits to holding rental insurance that may be worth considering.

Protect your belongings

Whether you're living in an apartment, townhouse, or house, your belongings can be at risk from events such as theft, fire, vandalism, or natural disasters. Frequently replacing belongings may cost you more in the long run compared to paying an insurance premium.

With renter's insurance, you may receive compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing your items in case they are damaged or lost due to covered events. If you live in an area that is more prone to these adverse events, it may be worth considering comparing policies. 

Peace of mind and financial security

Renter's insurance offers more than just coverage; it provides peace of mind and financial security to tenants across Australia. 

By investing in a renters insurance policy, you're taking proactive steps to protect your hard-earned assets and your future. Unfortunate events can happen any time and at any stage of life, whether you're starting your career, living with roommates, or simply enjoying the freedom of renting. Knowing your belongings are insured may make a significant difference in your well being. 

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Peter Terlato before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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