May 7, 2019

What Risks Are Included in My Renters Insurance Policy’s Protections?

Renters insurance policies generally offer protection against a variety of potential risks. While the exact risks that a particular policy protects against are determined by that specific policy’s terms, conditions and exclusions, there are quite a few risks that most policies offered in Massachusetts protect against. Here are some of the more common ones.

What Risks Does My Massachusetts Renters Insurance Policy Include in Its Protections?

HO-4 is the Abbreviation for Standard Renters Insurance

In the insurance industry, homeowners insurance policies and similar policies are given various abbreviations. The abbreviations start with “HO” and end with a number, and policies that have the same abbreviation generally offer similar protections. For example, homeowners policies might be classified as HO-2, HO-3 or HO-5 policies depending on what coverages they have.

Renters insurance policies are frequently grouped with homeowners policies and assigned the abbreviation “HO-4.” Even more robust renters policies that have other abbreviations are still normally built on the HO-4 foundation.

HO-4 Renters Policies Protect Against Specific Risks

Allowing for some potential variation, most HO-4 renters policies give Massachusetts residents who lease similar protections. Specifically, there are 16 risks that these policies usually protect against. These can be categorized into more and less common risks.

Some of the more common ones that policies generally protect against are:

  • Lightening and fire
  • Smoke
  • Hail and wind
  • Malicious mischief and vandalism
  • Theft
  • The weight of snow, ice and sleet
  • Vehicle-caused damage

Some of the less common ones that policies tend to also protect against are:

  • Civil commotion and riots
  • Explosions
  • Aircraft-caused damage
  • Falling objects
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Certain electrical-current-caused damage
  • Certain HVAC and plumbing malfunctions

(The HVAC and plumbing malfunctions are broken out to bring this list of 14 risks up to 16 total risks.)

As named peril policies, renters policies normally only protect property from the risks that are listed in them. As mentioned, those tend to be the risks listed above.

Renters Policies Offer Non-Property Protections

In addition to the property protections that they afford, many renters policies offer two additional protections that aren’t for personal belongings.

Personal liability coverage may help pay legal fees, settlements and judgements associated with certain liability lawsuits that a resident could face. Usually, this coverage will help with covered costs regardless of a lawsuit’s final outcome.

Medical payments coverage may help pay some medical bills if an accident occurs in a policyholder’s residence and someone is injured. The accident usually must be minor, and coverage is often extended only to people who don’t live with the policyholder. This generally isn’t a substitute for health insurance.

Other coverages, such as loss of use coverage, are available through some renters policies but frequently not included in standard HO-4 policies. Loss of use coverage may help pay for alternative accommodations if a dwelling becomes uninhabitable following a covered disaster.

Renters Policies Don’t Offer Flood or Earthquake Protection

Notably absent from the above lists is coverage for floods or earthquakes. Most renters policies don’t offer either flood or earthquake coverage, and any residents who want this coverage usually have to purchase a stand-alone policy as a supplement.

Most insurance agents who are familiar with renters policies can help residents find a flood or earthquake policy if they’d like one.

Learn More from an Agent in Massachusetts

To learn more about the coverages that renters policies typically provide, contact the independent and experienced insurance agents at Scotti Insurance Agency. Our team has helped many leasing residents in Massachusetts better understand their renters insurance policies, and we’d be happy to review your current policy or an available one with you.

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