This is a common question that renters have, especially people who rent single-family homes.
To explore this concept, let’s use a made-up scenario: a volcanic eruption. If you’re lucky enough to live in Hawaii, you know this can be a real threat! If a volcano erupts near your house or apartment, you only need to worry about the property that you own. This means that any structural damage to the home itself is covered by your landlord’s homeowners policy. You’re only responsible for the personal property that you own (which renters insurance covers). In fact, this is the major difference between HO4 insurance and most other types of property insurance, including HO6, HO3, and HO5.
Landlord’s insurance, or their own homeowners’ insurance, will generally cover structural damage that needs repair. Their separate policy will cover things your renters policy will not when it pertains to structural damage.
A Surprising Perk
Many people don’t realize that an HO4 policy covers more than just stuff. Many policies also cover living expenses in case your rental is temporarily uninhabitable. This is called “loss of use.” For example, let’s consider the scenario of a blizzard. If a major winter storm comes through town, the weight of ice or snow can cause serious structural damage—and even collapse. If damage from the storm renders your home uninhabitable, renters insurance coverage might include the costs of temporarily living somewhere else, like a hotel. Remember that this type of coverage isn’t typically included in basic renters insurance policies, so check with your own insurance company to ensure you’re prepared. (Psst…if you’re a homeowner reading this, Insurify can help you compare quotes from multiple home insurance companies to make this step easier.)
Keeping an up-to-date home inventory list can help you keep track of expenses if your personal belongings are damaged. The right renters policy will cover both personal property coverage and additional living expenses. Other coverage options will include protections for medical expenses and other liabilities.