Renters: Are You Insured Against Winter Damage?

As winter weather rolls in, renters should reevaluate their contents insurance policies to ensure they have coverage for fire damage to personal property. Residential fires are more common in winter months than any other time of year, according to the US Fire Administration. Residential fires can destroy the structure of a home and also all of the items inside, which stresses the importance of owning comprehensive policy.

The colder winter months add to the danger of fire because of the increase in cooking and heating fires. With high energy costs, renters will use other means of heating their homes that are cheaper choices over the public utilities. Though these are good options to keep costs down, they do pose the threat of fire that are preventable. These items include fireplaces, space heaters, wood stoves and other less expensive options. To avoid these types of fires, safety precautions should always be taken.

Fires completely destroy structures and the contents inside. If the personal items of the renter are not destroyed by flames and smoke, they likely will be by the water damage to put out the fire.

Storm Damage InsuranceSome tenants may believe that their personal belongings in the rental property are insured by their landlord's policy; however, this is typically not true. The landlord would have to have an additional section added to their standard policy, which would have to be specifically requested and would be an added expense to their policy. Renters must have a tenant contents insurance to pay for the financial damages that occur from a fire.

Typically contents insurance policies cover 16 types of perils, which usually include the following:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Damage caused by vehicles, smoke, vandalism or malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice or snow or sleet

Contents insurance policies also insure against the costs of specific water damage, plumbing damage, and electrical current damage. A standard policy can be bought for the average of $10 to $20 a month.

Don’t neglect insuring your valuables, even if you’re only renting your home.  Risks year-round, but especially in winter like snow and ice and increased risk of fire, can put you in a position to lose everything you own.  Consider protecting yourself with content insurance policies designed for renters.