4 Things You Didn’t Know Were Covered by Renters Insurance Following Natural Disasters

woman standing in front of burned out house and holding her head with both hands.
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Officials in Florida are already calling Hurricane Ian the biggest natural disaster in the state’s long history of natural disasters after the storm killed at least 19 people and left millions without power. It regained strength early Friday as it barreled east toward the Atlantic, threatening to pummel parts of the South Carolina coast, CNN reported.

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For residents whose homes are damaged by hurricanes, the financial blow can be softened through insurance policies that cover natural disasters. This includes renters insurance, which covers many natural disasters but not all of them.

As the Nolo legal website noted, many tenants mistakenly assume that landlords or rental management companies are responsible for personal-property damage. This is usually the case when it comes to the building, but not damage to or loss of tenants’ belongings — unless this is explicitly outlined in your lease.

To cover personal belongings, you need to get a separate renters insurance policy to recoup losses caused by natural disasters. Most events are covered in standard renters insurance policies, including fire, rain, hail and wind storms. The exceptions are earthquakes and floods, according to Nolo. For these events, you might have to buy additional coverage.

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As Allstate noted on its website, when you buy a renters insurance policy you can typically choose whether you want replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage. Replacement cost coverage helps reimburse you for the amount it would cost to buy a similar item at current prices. Actual cash value coverage helps reimburse you for the depreciated value of an item before it was damaged. The type of coverage you choose helps determine how much your policy pays toward a covered claim.

Renters insurance might also help pay for other expenses that result from storm damage. Here are four things you might not have known were covered by renters insurance, according to Allstate:

Removal of Debris

If a storm damages items to the point that they become debris, you can file a claim to help pay for removing it.

Removal of Property

If you remove personal property from your rental home to protect it from an approaching storm and it still ends up damaged, renters insurance might help cover the repair or replacement of the items.

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Temporary Repairs

If your damaged belongings are at immediate risk of further covered damage, renters insurance can help pay for temporary repairs intended to prevent further harm.

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Interrupted Power

If your power goes out during a storm and food in your refrigerator and freezer spoils, renters insurance can help pay to replace it.

One thing you shouldn’t do is assume that something is covered in your renters insurance policy. Be sure to read the policy carefully or consult with your local insurance agent so you know exactly what is covered by storms and other natural disasters.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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