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Renter’s Insurance is a little like Contents Insurance. After all, while you may be renting the property, everything you bring along to furnish it is yours. That includes everything from your couch complete with your own personal groove (thanks to the time that you watched all the extended editions of Lord of the Rings in a row) to your most prized possession: the air fryer. With Renter’s Insurance, if something were to happen to your belongings, you could be covered for getting them repaired or replaced.
Your policy will list what kind of events you’re insured against. While every policy is different, there are some insured events that tend to pop up across a variety of policies, including:1
Keep in mind that to get covered for some of these events you might have to take out an additional policy. If you’re ever in doubt about what you’re insured for, double-check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or call the insurer. When disaster strikes, you don’t need the extra stress of discovering you’re not covered.
Some renters like to take a minimalist Marie Kondo approach to their belongings, while others prefer to be like a bowerbird, collecting everything and anything that catches their eye. Whichever renter you are, you’ll find that generally most of your belongings will be covered by your Renter’s Insurance. That includes:2
Again, to get the full story on what’s covered, it can be a good idea to check the fine print of your PDS or talk to your insurer.
When it comes to Renter’s Insurance, pretty much everything you brought to the house is considered insurable contents. There’s always exceptions to the rule, including your stash of Tim Tams hidden behind the rice cakes in the pantry. This also includes items that form part of your home or are stored outside of the home, like your car. You can add to this list things like pets, unset precious stones or gems, plants and trees that grow outside the home (even if you’re the one making them bloom) and motor vehicles, caravans and motorised watercrafts.3
But just because you can’t insure them under your Renter’s Insurance, it doesn’t mean they have to be left out in the cold. You may simply need a different type of insurance, like looking after your car, even when it’s parked in the driveway, with Car Insurance. And for valuable items you regularly take outside your home — think watches, jewellery or bikes — it might be worth adding Personal Effects Cover (also known as Portable Contents Insurance) to your Renter’s Insurance.
When it comes to the value of your items, this is where things can get tricky. Some policies will cover the new-for-old value of your belongings — if you had to go to the store and buy a brand new one. Other policies, though, will cover what the item was worth when it was insured and therefore how much you’ll need to replace it. So, while you might have paid a few grand for that TV initially, you might only get $1,000 for it through your insurance.
It’ll also depend on what suburb you live in and what kind of property you’re renting, as well as the level of any existing home security. Your chosen premium and excess can also affect what you pay.
With all of this in mind, it can mean that you need to do a fair bit of searching and comparing to find a Renter’s Insurance Policy that you’re happy with. Using our online comparison tool, you can see how different policies from a selection of insurers measure up in only a matter of minutes.*
If the worst does unfortunately happen, the steps for claiming typically won’t be that different, no matter who you’re insured with. First off, you’ll need to provide evidence of what happened, including what’s damaged or lost. This might also include a police report and proof of ownership, like receipts and invoices.
Your insurer will then take this information and start to process the claim. They may have some follow-up questions for you or need to send someone out to check on what has happened. Assuming your claim gets approved, you’ll either be reimbursed for the items or your insurer will organise for them to be repaired.
Then, hopefully, things can get back to normal for you.
So, imagine your worst-case scenario has come to pass and you need to replace everything. What would that figure be? This will be your sum insured number: the set amount to replace your lost or damaged belongings with equivalent alternatives. Remember, depending on your policy, you might be replacing your items based on their value when you bought them (new-for-old cover) or for how much they were worth when you insured them (replacement value cover).
To figure out your sum insured number, you’ll need to think hard about what you own and want to insure. It can help to break this step into three stages:
Now, if you feel like you haven’t got the time to dive deep into what you own and what it’s all worth, you can find online calculators to get a general estimate to work with.
If there’s something special that you really want insured, you can always look into Specified Contents cover. This means that they are specifically listed on your policy and can be insured to a higher amount. Some people choose to do this for more expensive possessions like jewellery, art, electronics and collectibles. It can mean higher premiums though.
Anyone who’s lived in a share house knows the gradual slide personal property takes to become communal, like when your butter goes from being yours to everyone’s or when the house just seems to ‘inherit’ a full-sized mannequin once the fashion student moves out. Thankfully, things can be a little more clear-cut with your Renter’s Insurance. You can choose to cover just your belongings on the policy. However, you may need to have cover for the whole house, rather than only your bedroom. But that could mean taking out a policy together.
There are some things to watch out for though whether you choose to buddy up on your Renter’s Insurance or not. For instance, your PDS may specify that a person has to be named on the tenancy agreement for the insurance to cover them and their contents. Additionally, there may be restrictions around how many housemates you can share with before an insurer won’t cover you.
Whether you’re about to move out for the first time or this isn’t your first rental rodeo, we can help you look after your valuables. With our easy online comparison tool, you can check out a selection of Renter’s Insurance Policies from a number of providers.* Alternatively, you can give our friendly team a call on 13 19 20.