Renter's vs Home Insurance:
What's the Difference?

home selling articles and tips


Whether you rent or own, it's important that you protect your assets. This is why there are insurance policies available for both renters and homeowners. Make sure you know the difference between the two so you make the right choice when shopping for insurance products.

Renter's Policies

As the name implies, renter's insurance is aimed at those who do not own the property where they live. These policies typically only cover the following:

  • Personal property: Your property is covered in the event of theft, fire, or other destruction.
  • Liability coverage: This protects you from being sued if someone is hurt due to your negligence or if there are certain types of damage to the property.
  • Living expenses: Many rental policies also cover a specific amount of living expenses in the event you must leave your rental due to unforeseen circumstances, such as fire or flood.

While the property owner may have an owner's policy, this only covers the building and not your personal belongings. A renter's policy is designed to help you. Keep in mind you may need to purchase additional coverage if you have valuable property, like expensive jewelry, on the premises.

Homeowner's Insurance

If you own a home, it is in your best interest to have insurance. In fact, most mortgages include the insurance premium with your mortgage payment to ensure that you keep your policy up to date. Homeowner's policies vary, but typically cover the following:

  • Property damage: This includes that caused by fire, hail, wind, ice and snow, and burst pipes. This covers the physical property.
  • Theft and vandalism: Both theft of personal property and vandalism of your property are covered. This may also include items you have stored offsite, such as in a storage unit or in your car.
  • Liability coverage: If you are sued due to an accident or negligence, such as a dog bite or trip and fall, this will cover you and help pay out any medical expenses.
  • Contents coverage: This is the insurance that covers your belongings. This is most similar to a renter's policy, but it is part of your overall homeowner's coverage. You work with an agent to set the limits.
  • Living expenses: If you must leave your home during repairs, your insurance will cover a certain amount of your living expenses per day until you can move back in.

Not everything is covered by a basic homeowner's policy. You may need to purchase additional coverage, such as flood or earthquake coverage if you live in a zone that is prone to these events.

Contact an insurance agency like Great Northern Insurance to see what types of coverage are necessary for your living arrangements. Don't make the mistake of going uninsured, because you never know when you may need it. It’s important to be insured whether you own your property or not.