When does renters insurance cover theft for your personal items | Roost
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Does renters insurance cover theft?

Yes, renters insurance covers you in case of theft.  In fact, theft coverage is one of the really cool parts of most renters insurance policies.  Your stuff is covered at home, in your car, while you’re away on vacation, and more!

And while we always hope for the best in others, it’s good to know your stuff is protected when people aren’t acting their best. 

When is theft covered by renters insurance?

Renters insurance covers theft in most cases, including when your apartment is broken into or your vehicle.  If you have experienced a theft you will need to file a police report and file a claim with your renters insurance company.  

Here are some examples of when theft is covered:

  • Your stuff was stolen out of your car
  • Your apartment is broken into
  • Your stuff was stolen from a storage unit
  • Your stuff was stolen while you were on vacation
  • Your friend’s stuff was stolen from your apartment (unless they have their own coverage)

To understand all the instances you are covered in cases of theft you should look under the named perils (aka ‘crappy things that happen in life’) section of your renters insurance policy.

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When is theft not covered by renters insurance?

There are some instances where theft will not be covered by your renters insurance policy.  These include:

  • Theft of animals
  • Theft committed by the insured (that’s you, but we know you wouldn’t do that!)
  • If something was stolen on the premises that someone else is renting (if you are subletting an apartment, for example)
  • Theft from a place that you rent that is under construction

As always, read your renters insurance policy to find out other times that theft is not covered under your particular policy.

Does renters insurance cover theft of cash?

It depends on your policy, but if it is covered, there’s generally a pretty low limit in terms of how much they’ll pay you back. This is because if there wasn’t a limit, some people might try to claim that there was a lot more cash in their apartment, purse or backpack than there actually was. Cash is hard to track!

Does renters insurance cover theft outside my apartment?

Yes, in most cases your renters insurance will protect you if your stuff is stolen away from home.  For example, if your things are stolen from your vehicle while not parked at home or from a hotel room while away on vacation you should be covered.

How much of my theft claim will my renters insurance cover?

To answer this question you need to know whether your coverage is for replacement cost coverage or the actual cash value of the items stolen. Replacement coverage will cover you for the full amount that it will cost you to go out and buy a replacement of whatever was stolen. 

The actual cash value of the items stolen means you will be reimbursed for how much the items were valued when stolen.  Your five-year-old 25” RCA TV, for example, may not be worth much (dang it!) and you will still be out of pocket to replace it with a brand new TV.

Another important thing to remember: You will also have to pay your deductible.  If you file a claim for stolen property for $1500 and you have a $1000 deductible you will receive $500 from your renters insurance company (double dang it!).

Most policies will also have limits on how much they will reimburse you for any one type of category in the event of theft.  For example:

  • Electronic equipment such as TVs etc. $2500
  • Bicycles $1500
  • Laptops/computer-related items $2500
  • Tools $1500
  • Firearms/ammunition $2500

How to file a renters insurance claim for theft?

The first thing you should do before filing your renters insurance claim for theft is to report it to the police.  Once you’ve done that, and have a police report number, contact your renters insurance company to file your claim.  Read more here about how to file a renters insurance claim.

How do I file a police report?

To file a police report call the non-emergency police number for your county or city.  Tell them what happened.  They will probably ask you a lot of questions regarding what happened.  Make sure you get the following information before hanging up the phone:

  • A copy of the police report
  • Name of the officer taking the information
  • Precinct
  • Incident number
Roost Tip! We know it’s a stressful situation, but try to remember to take photographs of everything relevant to the burglary and document everything while it is fresh in your head.

Finally, always make sure to notify your landlord right away if there was a break-in to your apartment.  They may also need to file an insurance claim for damages that were done to the apartment due to the break-in.  They will probably also want to notify other tenants about the theft for their safety.

Who does my renters insurance policy cover?

It’s always smart to double-check your policy or chat with an agent if you’re confused, but in general, renters insurance policies tend to cover losses by anyone who is related to you by blood, adoption, or marriage.

A good rule of thumb is that if they’re part of your more immediate family, they’re covered. But that third cousin? She should probably get her own policy. 

When is my landlord at fault for theft?

In most cases, your landlord will not be found at fault for the theft of your property.  However, if they did not provide basic security, such as windows and doors that lock properly, they could be found negligent.

If you put in a repair order for a problem window or door, an outdoor light that needs fixing, or a security system that isn’t working and your landlord fails to fix it they could also be responsible for the break-in because they failed to maintain items that could have prevented a burglary.

Am I responsible for the costs of damage done to my apartment during a break-in?

No, if your apartment was damaged in the course of a break-in you are not responsible for paying for that (phew!).  For instance, if the door frame was damaged during entry your landlord’s insurance would be responsible for that.

Does renters insurance cover theft from my car when it isn’t parked at home?

Yes, renters insurance covers you from theft from your vehicle even when it isn’t parked at home (woot! woot!).  But remember, it doesn’t cover you if your car is stolen.  You need to have comprehensive car insurance coverage to be protected against this.

How can I protect myself against a burglary?

There are lots of things you can do to protect yourself from a burglary — from making sure your windows and doors are secure to getting to know your neighbors better.  Read our article, 5 Ways to make your apartment more secure, for making your home safer.

Roost Tip! Take a look around your apartment property for things like outdoor lights that need to be fixed or overgrown shrubbery that should be cut back and submit it to your landlord to be repaired.

Security items to look for in apartment building that you may be considering moving into:

  • Deadbolts installed on all exit doors to apartments
  • Adequate outdoor lighting
  • Locked exterior doors or gated communities
  • Landscaping that is kept up

Renters insurance FAQs

1.    My landlord offers renters insurance, should I take it?

If you are hoping to save money on renters insurance a landlord offered renters insurance policy may be a good choice.  Just make sure you understand what it does and doesn’t cover.  Read more here to learn more.

2.    Does my roommate need renters insurance too? 

Yes, your roommate needs their own renters insurance unless they are specifically named as an insured party on your policy.  Family members and spouses may be automatically covered so ask your renters insurance company if you aren’t sure. 

3.    How can I save money on my renters insurance premium?

There are a lot of ways to save on your renters insurance premium.  You can bundle your policy with your auto insurance or raise your deductible.  Read our article, How to get renters insurance discounts.

4.    Can my landlord make me get renters insurance?

Yes!  Your landlord can require at your lease signing that you have renters insurance before moving into your apartment.  Read more here about the whys and hows.

5.    Do all renters insurance policies cover theft?

As long as you have personal property coverage included in your policy you should be covered for theft.  If you only have liability coverage, however, you probably aren’t covered.  It’s always a good idea to read your renters insurance policy if you are certain about whether you are covered for theft.

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A quick note! Our goal is to gather and share info that’s up-to-date and helps you make great decisions as a renter. That said, the information you get directly from a provider could be a little different. Make sure to review their terms and conditions directly; and, if you see anything here that needs to be updated, please let us know! Advertising disclosure
Last Updated: March 4th, 2022