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Renters insurance

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Starting life in a new rental often means unpacking boxes, finding the nearest coffee shop, and making the space your own. Insurance might not top your to-do list, but it probably should.

Renters' insurance, also known as tenants' insurance or contents insurance for renters, protects all your treasured belongings if they’re damaged, destroyed or stolen.It's a smart way to put your mind at ease, letting you focus on settling in and making memories. So let’s see what it’s all about.

What is renters insurance? 

Renters insurance is a type of contents insurance policy designed for renters. It allows you to protect all sorts of personal items from electronics to furniture, clothing to jewellery and much more.

It will usually cover the cost to replace items that are lost or destroyed due to a variety of incidents including fire, burst water pipes and theft.

Compare renters insurance policy options

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Important information on terms, conditions and sub-limits.
  • Contents Insurance

    Main events covered
    • fire
      Fire
    • theft
      Theft
    • storm
      Storm
    • flood
      Flood
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
    Calendar icon
    Yes
    Underinsurance protection
    Underinsurance protection icon
    No
    New for old
    replacement
    Replacement icon
    Yes
  • Home Cover - Contents

    Main events covered
    • fire
      Fire
    • theft
      Theft
    • storm
      Storm
    • flood
      Flood
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
    Calendar icon
    Yes
    Underinsurance protection
    Underinsurance protection icon
    No
    New for old
    replacement
    Replacement icon
    Yes
    Details
  • Contents Insurance

    Main events covered
    • fire
      Fire
    • theft
      Theft
    • storm
      Storm
    • flood
      Flood
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
    Calendar icon
    No
    Underinsurance protection
    Underinsurance protection icon
    No
    New for old
    replacement
    Replacement icon
    Yes
    Details
  • Contents Insurance

    Main events covered
    • fire
      Fire
    • theft
      Theft
    • storm
      Storm
    • flood
      Flood
      Optional Extra
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
    Calendar icon
    Yes
    Underinsurance protection
    Underinsurance protection icon
    No
    New for old
    replacement
    Replacement icon
    Yes
    Details
  • Contents Insurance

    Main events covered
    • fire
      Fire
    • theft
      Theft
    • storm
      Storm
    • flood
      Flood
    Monthly payments
    cost extra
    Calendar icon
    Yes
    Underinsurance protection
    Underinsurance protection icon
    No
    New for old
    replacement
    Replacement icon
    Yes
    Details

Is renters insurance the same as contents insurance?

Renters insurance is essentially the same as contents insurance, just targeted at those who rent their homes. Home insurance companies often use the same policy documentation for both, with specific sections or caveats highlighted for renters.

These differences might include how costs for temporary accommodation are covered if you can't live in your rental due to damage. For example, if your lease excuses you from paying rent when the home is uninhabitable, the policy might only cover the extra cost you incur for temporary housing beyond your usual rent.

It's important to tell the insurance company you're a renter when asking for a quote, ensuring any renter-specific terms are clearly identified in your policy documentation.

What types of renters insurance are there?

Renters insurance starts with a straightforward cover for your belongings inside your home against incidents like theft or fire. It's the initial step in ensuring your items are protected. From there, you have the option to add extra coverage for different scenarios. 

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Basic contents coverage. This basic level of coverage looks after your belongings in the home, covering them against theft, fire and storm damage. It’s the starting point for any renters insurance policy.
  • High-value contents cover (optional extra). If you own items that are worth more, such as luxury watches or artwork, this extra cover ensures those items have the protection they need.
  • Portable contents cover (optional extra). For things you take outside the home, like your smartphone or laptop, this coverage makes sure they’re protected wherever you go.
  • Accidental damage cover (optional extra). Covers you for those moments when accidents happen, like spilling wine on the carpet or dropping your TV, giving you peace of mind.
Infographic with icons for high-value contents cover, portable contents cover and accidental damage cover - each labeled appropriately.

Selecting the right renters insurance policy is about understanding your needs and ensuring you have the right level of protection without paying for extras you might not use. Think about what your belongings are truly worth and how you live your life to choose the best coverage for you.

What types of items does renters insurance cover?

Renters insurance is designed to cover a wide range of items within your rental home. Here's a look at the types of items typically covered:

  • Electronics. Items like laptops, smartphones, televisions, and gaming consoles are covered, keeping your tech gadgets safe.
  • Furniture. This includes beds, sofas, dining tables, and other significant pieces that make your space comfortable and livable.
  • Clothing and personal items. Your wardrobe and other personal belongings are protected, ensuring that both your daily and special occasion items are safeguarded.
  • Kitchen appliances and cookware. From your fridge to your favourite frying pan, renters insurance covers the essentials you need for preparing and enjoying meals.
  • Books, CDs and DVDs. For those who value their collection of physical media, these items are also included under most policies.
  • Appliances. Renters insurance can cover your home appliances, including situations where an appliance under a certain age (usually 7 years) experiences motor burnout, ensuring you're not left out of pocket for repairs or replacements.
  • Locks and keys. In the unfortunate event of a break-in or if your keys are stolen, renters insurance often includes coverage for the cost of replacing the locks and keys to your unit.
  • Food and medicine. In the event that your fridge or freezer breaks down due to an insured event, causing your food and medicine to spoil, many policies offer coverage to compensate for the loss.
  • Jewellery and valuable items. High-value items may have specific coverage limits, and securing additional protection for these possessions is often recommended.
  • Outdoor items. Some policies extend coverage to outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture or a grill, but it’s vital to confirm the details within your policy.
  • Bicycles and sporting equipment. Coverage for these items is typically included, but there may be conditions related to their storage and security. For instance, if a bicycle is stolen from an unlocked area, the policy might not provide coverage. It’s essential to adhere to any stipulated security measures to ensure your items are protected.

Diving into your policy's fine print, especially the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), can really help you get a handle on what's covered and how to make sure your stuff is protected just right.

What does renters insurance protect me from?

While specific coverages can differ among providers, here are the typical events that renters insurance usually protects you against:

Typically included as standard
Optional add-ons
Theft

Legal liability 

Flood (with conditions)

Vandalism

Storm surge

Accidental damage at home 

Fire

Lightning

Damage from pets

Storm

Impact

Loss or damage outside the home

Explosion

Escape of liquid

Sudden impact

Riot or public disturbance

Earthquake and tsunami

Malicious acts and vandalism

Damage caused by wild animals

Removal of debris

Water leakage

Motor burnout

It's important to be familiar with your renters insurance policy to understand its coverage fully. For instance, there's a 72-hour waiting period for predictable events like bushfires, floods and tsunamis. Lightning damage claims may require official confirmation or weather reports. 

There are also situations that aren’t covered at all, and we’ll go into those in the next section. But before we do, we need to reiterate that if you have any question about what’s covered and what’s not, refer to your policy PDS (which is generally found on the provider’s website) or get in contact with the insurer directly.

What’s not included in renter’s insurance?

There are instances where your insurer won't cover you. These are called exclusions and they are a normal part of every policy. After all, you wouldn't expect to be covered if you purposefully took a baseball bat to your vase. With that said, here are some common ones:

  • Intentional damage. Deliberately damaging your items is not covered.
  • Wear and tear. The everyday ageing and deterioration of items are excluded.
  • Illegal activities. Damage or loss arising from criminal activities, or loss due to confiscation by legal authorities, are typically not covered.
  • Pest damage. Issues caused by pests like insects or rodents are generally excluded.
  • Predictable events. Damage from tree roots or gradual earth movements, which can be anticipated and prevented, aren't covered.
  • Power surges. Unless directly caused by a covered event like a lightning strike, damage from power surges is typically excluded.
  • Water seepage and gradual leaks. Damage caused by water seeping through foundations, walls, or slow leaks that are not sudden or accidental (and therefore could have been prevented with maintenance) are typically not covered.
  • Business activities. If you're running a business from your rental, typical policies won't cover related losses without specific business coverage.
  • Hacking. Losses due to cyber-attacks or hacking are generally not covered under standard renters insurance.
  • Photos and electronic images. Many policies don't cover the loss of digital assets like photos or electronic documents.

This is just a partial list to give you some idea about the types of situations that aren’t covered. There are also other more niche situations that aren’t covered like damage from aircraft vibrations or damage due to war or revolution.

And since each insurer treats all of this a little differently, we can't repeat this enough, make sure you check your PDS.

How much does renter’s insurance cost?

Wondering how much renter's insurance might set you back? The truth is, it varies from person to person. A bunch of factors come into play that insurance companies look at to figure out your premium. Here's a quick rundown:

Infographic showing the major things that affect renter's insurance including your location, security measures, level of cover, optional extras, claims history and your excess.
  • Your location. Where you live can influence your rates. Higher-risk areas might see higher premiums.
  • Security measures. Got a security system? This could lower your costs.
  • Coverage level. More coverage usually means a higher premium.
  • Optional extras. Adding extra coverage for specific items can bump up the price.
  • Claim history. If you've filed claims in the past, insurers might see you as a higher risk, which could increase your rates.
  • The excess you choose. Opting for a higher deductible—the amount you pay out of pocket for a claim before your insurance kicks in—can lower your premium, but means higher out-of-pocket costs if you file a claim.

But don't let the thought of premiums get you down. There are tricks to potentially lower your costs, like opting for an annual payment over monthly or snagging a discount by buying your policy online. It's always a smart move to shop around and compare what different providers offer—you might just find a sweet deal.

Interested in finding affordable protection that doesn't skimp on coverage? Check out our guide over at the cheap home insurance hub for all the insider tips and tricks.

How to make a renter's insurance claim

When something goes wrong and you need to make a claim on your renters insurance, the process can be smoother than you think. Here’s a guide:

  1. Contact the police (if applicable). In cases of theft or vandalism, your first order of business is to contact the police to ensure your safety and secure that all-important report number as solid evidence for your claim.
  2. Contact your insurance provider. Next, get in touch with your insurance provider. The sooner you report what happened, the quicker they can swing into action.
  3. Gather your info and round up some evidence. Start by jotting down when and how the incident unfolded, and list what got damaged or nicked. Pictures of any damage go a long way, as do any police reports. Don’t forget to dig out those receipts or any proof of ownership and value.
  4. Fill in the claim form. Your insurer will provide a claim form, either online or in paper format. Fill this out with all the required details. Accuracy and honesty are crucial here to ensure a smooth claim process.
  5. Wait for the assessment. This is where your insurer checks out the damage or goes over your claim details, possibly asking for more info.
  6. Get reimbursed. Finally, the resolution. Depending on your policy, you might get your items repaired, replaced, or receive a cash payout.

Don't forget, each claim is its own beast, so the exact steps might vary a bit depending on your situation and policy details. Keeping a line open with your insurer and having all your ducks in a row documentation-wise will help speed things along.

Frequently asked questions about renters insurance

Are there limits on how much I can claim for my belongings?

Your policy caps how much you can claim for each item, typically between $1,000 and $3,000. For pricier possessions, you might want to look into high-value item cover, which offers higher limits to fully protect your more valuable items against loss or damage.

Can I get renters insurance if I live in a sharehouse?

Getting coverage in a sharehouse can be complicated due to shared ownership of items and increased risk. It's possible to get a policy covering only your belongings, but discuss with roommates about possibly getting a shared policy for broader protection. Be mindful of the risk of damage or theft by roommates, as some policies may not cover this without specific inclusions.

How does excess factor into my claims?

The excess is what you pay towards a claim before your insurance kicks in. Excess amounts can vary widely, often from $100 to $500 or more. Opting for a higher excess might lower your premium, but it's important to choose an amount you're comfortable with in case you need to claim.

Replacement value vs. market value: what's the difference?

When it comes to compensation, insurers usually offer two types: replacement value (the cost to replace your item with a new one) and market value (what your item is worth at the time of loss or damage). Replacement value tends to be higher, ensuring you can get a brand-new equivalent, whereas market value reflects depreciation. But that also means a replacement value policy will tend to be more expensive.

Do I need to list every single item in my policy?

You don't need to list every last item you own, since your general belongings can be covered under a blanket amount that aligns with your policy's standard limits. However, for high-value items like jewellery, you're typically required to list them individually to ensure full coverage. Often, these items will also need a high-value item add-on for your policy, which may come at an additional fee.

Brad Buzzard
Brad Buzzard
RG146
Senior Money Writer

* Terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits may apply to any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. These terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits could affect the level of benefits and cover available under any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. Please refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and the Target Market Determination on the provider's website for further information before making any decisions about an insurance product.

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