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As a renter, should I insure my stuff?

Insurance 101

Understand what protection contents insurance offers renters.

When you move into your own place, contents insurance might not be at the top of your to-do list. Heck, it might not be on it at all.

Maybe that’s because you’re pretty sure your landlord has insurance, so why do you need it? Or maybe you’re not sure if it’s worth the hassle to insure everything you own in the first place.

Contents insurance is the misunderstood sibling of the insurance family, so to help you understand it better, let’s dig a little deeper into what it is and what it protects you against.

Why do I need contents insurance?

You’re probably not wrong - most landlords do have an insurance policy. But it’s not contents insurance – it’s the kind that only covers damage to the building and its fixtures. (And you should probably check that they have that cover before you sign your lease, but that’s a topic for another day.)

This leaves your belongings, like your TV, your couch, clothes etc vulnerable. So, to protect your things in the case of fire, water damage and theft, you need to take out your own insurance policy ‒ contents insurance ‒ unless you have the cash handy to replace all your things.

Vulnerabilities like water damage, fire and theft aren’t the only things you need cover for. There’s also liability coverage for damage that may be done to other people or their things in and around your property. What this means is that if something happens in your home that harms someone else, they could sue you for any medical bills, legal fees and damages. Contents insurance would cover all of these possible costs.

We know it’s not exactly an entertaining thing to think about or do, but having a plan in place if things turn upside down, will have your future self thanking you.

What does a contents policy cover?

It covers all the things you own

Everything that fills your cupboards, the couch you’re sitting on, and the TV in front of you, belongs to you. None of them is indestructible. They are vulnerable to theft, power surges, water damage, fire, vandalism and other unforeseen events – which is what contents insurance was specifically designed to protect you against.

Granted, some of the things you own, you take with you wherever you go — like your cell phone or laptop. Contents insurance covers those too, although some insurers require you to specify these portable items if you want them to be covered when they’re not physically in your home. At Naked, we require you to specify items that are worth more than R5,000.

It covers damage to others

This part of the cover (known as liability cover) pays for any bodily injury or property damage caused by negligence. This could be in the form of medical charges: your dog could take a chomp at the delivery guy on your property and he has to get a shot or stitches.

Or it could be in the form of legal fees and property damages: you or your domestic worker could leave the tap running, which ends up flooding not only your apartment but also your downstairs neighbour’s apartment. They could sue you for the costs of repairing the damage caused to their property and belongings.

Liability cover will also cover costs in the case that your landlord sues you for negligence and causing damage to the property you rent (like you flooding the apartment and ruining the wooden floors that now need to be replaced).

It offers 24/7 home emergency assistance

Life always throws us a few lemons we aren’t prepared for. Contents insurance will help in cases like this. For example, you might need emergency assistance in the form of a security guard late at night because a branch fell onto and broke your glass sliding door. Or you might need to replace lost keys or change the locks on all your doors.

Contents insurance isn’t a fun thing to think about, of course. But it sure does provide some peace of mind knowing that there’s a safety net in place for any rainy days. If anything is unclear, pop us a message at help@naked.insure

You can also read some of our other blogs, which might answer any other ‘insurancey’ questions you may have:

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