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Renters insurance explained

So, you’ve just moved into a rental property and you’re considering taking out renters insurance. But where do you even start? While renters insurance is a smart and sensible way to financially protect your belongings, it’s not something you immediately think about when moving into rental accommodation. Here, we share common questions about renters insurance – from what it will and won’t cover to whether or not you actually need it. 

What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance, also known as rental property insurance, is a form of financial protection for you and your belongings in the event of any damage, loss, theft or other unforeseen event that’s predefined in your policy. 

This type of insurance can cover the cost of repairs or replacements for your rental home’s contents, as well as any costs incurred if someone is injured while visiting your home. Some premium levels of cover include optional personal valuables cover, so you can insure things like jewellery or electronics if you take them outside of your home for a limited time.

 

Do I need renters insurance?

One of the biggest misconceptions about renters insurance among renters or young people moving out of home  is that they don’t have enough valuables to warrant taking it out. But, when you start to estimate the value of your personal belongings – keeping in mind any personal electronics you own, such as your computer and TV, as well as your furniture, clothes, and white goods – it doesn’t take much for the total to add up. If you value your belongings, renters insurance can protect you against the financial burden of replacing or repairing them if they’re stolen or accidentally damaged, depending on the level of cover.

 

What does renters insurance cover? 

What’s covered by your renters insurance will depend on whether the items you’re asking to be compensated for are considered to be part of your home’s contents, and whether the event was deemed to be insurable under your level of coverage.

Cover levels for rental property insurance range from basic to premium and can compensate for damage to a home caused by storms, lightning, floods, fires, explosions or earthquakes, as well as for theft, malicious acts and riots, and accidental loss or damage, among other things.

Most renters insurance policies have limits on how much you can claim for big-ticket items like jewellery, art and cameras. If you own any of these higher-value items, it could be worth looking into single-item insurance or personal valuables cover which will give you more control over how much certain items are insured for.

 

What isn’t covered by renters insurance?

Renters insurance policies provide cover for various predefined, common, events – for example fires, floods, storms, and burglaries. But not every unforeseen event will be included in your policy or level of cover. Anything that isn’t clearly stated in the policy product disclosure statement (PDS) won’t be covered by insurance. 

Pets, items stored outside your home like your car or a motorcycle, plants and groceries aren’t typically covered by renters insurance and most insurers won’t approve a claim for theft or burglaries where there were no signs of forced entry, either, so make sure you lock up before you leave the property.

While reading your policy’s PDS wouldn’t be considered a light read, it’s worthwhile. 

 

How does renters insurance differ from landlord insurance? 

Landlord insurance is a type of insurance designed specifically for the rental property owner. It’s designed to cover their investment and usually insures against damages to the property, along with any permanent fixtures the landlord has added, or appliances or whitegoods supplied as part of your tenancy. Landlord insurance does not cover your belongings or any other items you   bring into the home.

In general, landlords aren’t usually liable for anything that happens to you, your visitors or your belongings while you’re living in their property – it’s up to you to ensure you’re covered.

 

How do I calculate the value of my belongings? 

One way to go about costing your belongings is to go from room to room, jotting down the big-ticket items and noting down the estimated cost for each. For a total valuation, use a contents calculator like this one.

 

What if I live in a shared house? 

Unfortunately, renters insurance can’t be taken out for individual rooms in a share house . If you live with flatmates and are considering taking it out, it’s worth checking to see whether they’d consider it for the entire household. Then, depending on whether or not they want to chip in, you can add or leave their belongings off the valuable items list. 

Though renters insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it can give you peace of mind in preparing for the unexpected and provide financial protection for your precious possessions.

 

Need Insurance?

Want to find out more about renters insurance? Browse our different levels of cover here.

Do you need renters insurance in a shared house?

If it’s time to find a place of your own, you need to know what type of insurance to get. After all, your personal belongings are both valuable and precious to you. Renters insurance can give you peace of mind and get you back on your feet if something you own is stolen or damaged.

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Important information

The information contained in this article is general information only and is not specific to any product.  

It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs to these factors before acting on it.

Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to any insurance product. Please read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Terms and Conditions or Product Disclosure Statement, before deciding.

Cover is subject to your application for insurance being accepted.

Product Disclosure Statements (PDS)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 619KB) (applicable to policies issued or renewed on or after 5 April 2021)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 382KB) (applicable to policies issued or renewed in the period between 1 July 2019 and 4 April 2021)

Product Disclosure Statements (PDS)

Landlord Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 585KB) (applicable to policies issued or renewed on or after 5 April 2021)

Landlord Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 426KB) (applicable to policies issued or renewed in the period between 1 July 2019 and 4 April 2021)

This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Read the relevant PDS(s) to see if this insurance is right for you.

View the Retail and Business Banking Financial Services Guide, Credit Guide and Privacy Statement. (PDF 169KB)

Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Westpac General Insurance Limited ABN 99 003 719 319 (except workers compensation cover where applicable).  St.George  – a Division of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 (the Bank) distributes the insurance, but does not guarantee the insurance.