We all know that homeowners, in most cases, carry insurance policies protecting their property.  These policies insure their home or property, and often the contents of the home or property, in the event of damage or disaster.   What many renters don’t realize is that these policies, in most cases, do not cover any of the renter’s belongings. 

What does this mean for you as a renter?   If the property being rented is destroyed or damaged due to a fire, windstorm, or busted pipes, the landlord’s insurance will pay to repair the property, but will not pay to replace your couch, clothing, or computer.  Additionally, your lease likely states that the landlord is not responsible for damage to these items.   Unless you have a renter’s insurance policy, you are also going to be responsible for your own moving expenses in the event the home you are renting is damaged.  According to State Farm Insurance Agent David Vargas “Many renters don’t realize they aren’t protected until it’s too late.”

Vargas, whose State Farm office is located in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida, points out that the biggest component of renter’s insurance is what they call “Loss of Use”, “If the renter is displaced due to a loss, we pay up to 35% of the cost to relocate them and cover their relocation rent.   But, that is by no means the extent of their coverage”, says Vargas.  “Renters insurance can also cover property when it’s not even in a tenant’s home.  Say, for example, a laptop or expensive camera equipment is stolen while the renter is on vacation, it’s often considered insured property and in many cases is still protected by the insurance policy whether or not it’s inside the dwelling.” 

A good renter’s insurance policy can often be obtained for an average of $18.00 per month, a small price to pay to protect thousands of dollars in personal belongings.  Not all policies are created equal, however.  Before paying for a policy, a renter should always look at the fine print.   It’s important to ask your insurance professional what it covers, and make sure you understand the specifics of the policy.   It’s also important to take inventory of what you own.   A renter’s policy is likely going to cover the replacement cost of items, so determine how much it would cost to replace the items you own.   You may be surprised that it can be as high as $20,000 or more when you factor in the cost to replace your items with similar ones.  If you are a pet owner, check to make sure you are covered for liability in the event that the pet causes damage to property or people.  According to Vargas, “Our State Farm policies do not exclude any breed of dog.  Renters should always check to make sure this is the case before they pay for a policy.”

When Hurricane Irma made its way through Florida in 2017, many residents in the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay area, as well as throughout the state, were without power for several weeks.  Many families lost food in their fridge, which can be costly if you are living paycheck to paycheck and meal-planning.  Neighborhoods were rallying together to feed families.  These perishable contents in their fridge likely would have been covered under a renter’s insurance policy.  “Also, their policies may have paid for them to relocate to a property comparable to the one they were living in”, according to Vargas.  “In a state like Florida, especially during our active hurricane season, it’s even more important that renters talk to an insurance professional to make sure they are covered.”


Written by Bobby Poth is the Broker/Owner of Poth & Associates Real Estate and Packard Property Management Group in St. Petersburg, FL and can be reached at bpoth@pothandassociates.com.

David Vargas is a State Farm Insurance Agent and owner of David Vargas- State Farm Insurance in St. Petersburg, Fl and can be reached at david@davidinsured.com.