Does Renters Insurance Cover Theft?

Written by April Weismann on 09/10/2021 10:30 AM in Personal Insurance.

Renters insurance is primarily purchased to protect belongings, and theft is a significant risk, but is it covered? Here’s a look at how a New Hampshire renter’s policy may respond to a theft claim.

NH Renters Insurance

Is Theft Covered by Renters Insurance in New Hampshire?

Theft Falls Under Personal Property Coverage

When you live in an apartment, you fill it with the things you like and are important to you, like furniture, a laptop, clothes, cookware, and more.  As you spent your hard-earned money on such things, you want to ensure they are protected, but is theft covered on NH renters insurance?

The good news is yes.  Renters insurance covers insureds for a variety of events that could cause financial hardship, including theft.  But be aware, the policy does have limitations for specific items you may own. 

Other often-covered events include damage from fire, smoke, vandalism, lightning, and windstorms.  Coverage for your belongings, aka personal property, falls under Personal Property Coverage in the policy.

How much coverage do I have for Personal Property Coverage on a Renters Policy?

The primary limit on how much coverage you will have on renter's insurance is set by you, typically at a minimum of $15,000 but up to whatever you need.

To determine how much you need, think about all you own, and that is in your apartment.  Next, think about furniture, clothing, appliances, decorations, computer, phones, etc.  Anything you would take with you in a move should be considered.  Then, think about how much it would cost if you had to replace all your things.  This is the replacement cost.  For example, maybe you have a hand-me-down couch from your parents, but how much would it cost if you had to replace the couch?  That is what you want to consider when determining how much coverage you need.

At HPM Insurance, we have seen the personal property limit of renters insurance written for $15,000 and $250,000.  The coverage limit should be whatever makes sense for you, but keep in mind that the insurance company will question coverage in a claim if the whole picture does not make sense.

It is strongly advised that you create a home inventory for your belongings.  After all, how will you prove you owned something if it is stolen or destroyed in a fire?  Would you even be able to recall all that you own?

Does My NH Renters Insurance Have Any Limits for Stolen Items?

In the event of a burglary (or other covered events), your personal property limit has a general limit for items like clothes and furniture and item-specific limits for things highly susceptible to theft.

The general limit normally states the maximum amount a policy would pay if all of your belongings were stolen. This limit is whatever is listed on the policy under personal property, and it covers the vast majority of your items.

There are specific limits indicated in the policy for items susceptible to theft, like cash, jewelry, guns, and silver, but it is not much. 

For cash (including gold coins, silver coins, bullion, banknotes, securities, etc.), coverage is meager if stolen from your home.  It is strongly advised that you do not keep such items in your apartment.  There may be additional coverage available on your policy, so speak with your agent about the specifics of your policy.

For jewelry, coverage is also limited; however, there is a way to ensure you have the coverage you need, and that is with a jewelry schedule.  

Guns, silver and goldware, coins, and other collections can also be specifically listed and insured, so speak with an insurance professional on how to protect these items if stolen.

Personal Property Coverage Offers Two Levels of Protection

How much you’ll be reimbursed for any covered belongings that are stolen depends on what type of personal property coverage your renter's policy affords. For example, the coverage might provide replacement cost or actual cash value protection.

Replacement cost coverage generally insures belongings for the amount that it would cost to replace them. Even if you’ve had an electronic device for some time, this level of coverage will likely pay for a new comparable electronic. This is the higher level of the two protections.

Actual cash value generally insures belongings for how much they’re currently worth.  As a result, the depreciated value is usually much less than it would cost to replace them. 

Although actual cash value may cost less, it is not much and often wise to consider the more robust replacement cost protection. If you ever have a covered theft claim, replacing belongings could cost much more than what the items are actually worth.

Coverage May Be Localized or Worldwide

Some personal property coverage offers “worldwide coverage,” which is unrelated to replacement cost and actual cash value.

Worldwide coverage typically means that belongings are covered most anywhere in the world. There are a few common exclusions for places like war zones. Anywhere that you’d want to go, your belongings will likely be covered. This can be especially important if you frequently travel and are concerned about burglaries.  

When worldwide coverage isn’t included, belongings may only be fully covered when they’re in your apartment or house. Limited coverage might be offered outside of the residence. This can even include when belongings are in your car at a shopping center.

Am I Covered for an Item I Lost on a NH Renter's Policy?

The short answer is no unless the item is scheduled, as that can expand the coverage to almost anything that could happen to it, including misplacement.

To file a claim for theft on a tenant's policy,  you will most likely need to provide a police report to the insurance company.  This is regardless of whether the burglary took place at your apartment or elsewhere.  In addition, a local police report is often required to verify the event.

Talk With a New Hampshire Agent About Renters Policies

For help finding renters insurance that suits your needs, contact the New Hampshire insurance agents at HPM Insurance. Our independent agents can compare policies from multiple insurance companies, making it easy to offer you the best policy for your situation.

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