What Perils Does My Renters Insurance Cover?

Nov 1, 2017 8:18:41 PM

Renters insurance offers Massachusetts residents who lease houses, townhomes and apartments with affordable coverage for their from a variety of perils. Here’s a look at perils that many renters policies protect against.Renters Insurance Massachusetts

What Perils Are Covered by My Renters Insurance Policy?

Renters Insurance Policies Are HO-4 Policies

Homeowners, condo insurance policies and renters insurance policies generally follow standardized forms that determine the property coverages these policies provide. These forms are designated using “HO” and a number. For example, HO-2, HO-3, HO-5 and HO-8 are typically used for different types of homeowners policies, and condo policies are typically HO-6. Renters coverage is normally HO-4.

Since the HO-4 form (like the other forms) is fairly standardized, the protections afforded by renters policies offered in Massachusetts are pretty uniform. Exact protections occasionally differ slightly from one policy to the next as insurers change terms and conditions a little. For the most part, though, renters policies’ protections are determined by the HO-4 form.

Renters Insurance Massachusetts

The HO-4 Form is a Named Perils Form

The HO-4 form is a “named perils” form, which means it provides coverage for perils that are specifically listed in the form. If a peril isn’t listed in the form, then a renters policy likely won’t cover the risk. There are generally 16 perils listed in the HO-4 form.

Some of the more common risks that may be covered include:

  • Fire or lighting

  • Smoke

  • Windstorms or hail

  • Vandalism or malicious mischief

  • Theft

  • The weight of ice, sleet or snow

  • Damage caused by vehicles 

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The less common perils that a policy may protect against are:

  • Explosions

  • Riots or civil commotion

  • Damage caused by aircraft

  • Volcanic eruptions

  • Falling objects

  • Several accidental malfunctions of plumbing, heating and air conditioning and some other systems

  • Certain accidental damage caused by artificially generated electrical currents

(Only 14 items are listed here, because the accidental malfunction of plumbing, heating, air conditioning and other systems is broken out on HO-4 forms into several categories.)

Earthquakes and flood are notably absent from most HO-4 forms’ list of covered perils. As a result, these two perils typically aren’t covered by renters coverage. Residents who want protection from either of these perils typically have to either purchase an add-on protection or a separate insurance policy for that particular peril.Renters Insurance Massachusetts

Renters Policies Offer Other Protections

The above list of covered perils generally applies only to the property protections that renters policies offer. There are a couple other protections that HO-4 forms frequently include:

  • Medical Payments Coverage, which typically offers a little coverage for minor accidents that occur in a policyholder’s home to people who don’t live with the policyholder

  • Liability Coverage, which normally provides protection for certain legal situations where the policyholder is accused of causing harm or damage

Loss of Use Coverage, which can help pay for alternative accommodations if a residence is damaged in a covered incident, isn’t included on most standard HO-4 forms. Many insurance providers, however, include this as a standard or optional coverage in their policies. Thus, renters can usually get loss of use coverage without purchasing an additional policy.

Massachusetts Insurance Agents Can Explain Policies’ Protections

While the above is generally true, every policy has its own language that affects the protections it provides. To understand precisely what perils your renters insurance policy offers coverage for, contact an independent insurance agent in Massachusetts. They’ll be able to review your policy, explain its protections and answer any questions you have. If you need protection from perils that aren’t listed in your current policy, an independent agent will also be able to help you find alternative or supplemental renters coverage.

Edward J. Adamczyk

Written by Edward J. Adamczyk

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