Hollay Ghadery Last Updated On: September 7, 2023

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Do You Need HO4 Renters Insurance? Read This to Find Out

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Renters, listen up: if you haven’t yet thought about renters insurance, you should. After all, it offers significant financial protection for you, because without it, you’re on the hook for the costs of replacing your belongings should anything happen.

And when a whopping 35% of housing units in the U.S. are occupied by renters, it’s time to clear up any doubts around HO4 renters insurance. 

Let’s dig into it. 

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What Is HO4 Insurance?

HO4 insurance is renters insurance, a policy you take out if you’re renting an apartment or home and want protection. HO4 insurance is similar to homeowners insurance, but it’s for renters. After all, things can still go wrong if you’re renting (knock on wood!) and you deserve protection, even if you don’t own a home.  HO4 insurance gives three buckets of coverage:
  • Personal Property: Your belongings are protected from damage and theft. If a covered peril happens, your belongings (like clothing, jewelry, electronics, furniture, etc.) will be replaced or compensated. 
    • Keep in mind, your policy has coverage limits for your personal property. An average policy caps out at $30,000 for your belongings. This means you’ll be covered to that amount and no more. 
  • Liability: Believe it or not, you’re responsible for what happens inside your rental unit. If someone is injured inside your rental unit, you could be found liable and sued. You could also be responsible for their medical bills. Liability helps cover these costs. You could also be found responsible for damage to others’ property when visiting your rental unit. 
  • Additional Living Expenses: No, this doesn’t cover any living costs that go over your budget. But it does help pay for you to stay somewhere else if your rental unit is damaged and needs to be repaired. You get lodging, food, transport and more while the repairs are being done.
HO4 insurance only covers you within your apartment or home that you’re renting. Your landlord likely has insurance on the actual building and for any shared spaces, but it doesn’t extend to inside your rental unit, unfortunately. 

What Does HO 4 Insurance Cover?

Spilling a can of paint all over the floor and furniture isn’t covered, we’re sad to report. But the good news is that HO4 insurance is fairly robust in its coverage. It comes with 16 covered perils, meaning that if these events occur and damage your belongings, they will be replaced up to your coverage limits.

These perils include:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Hail or windstorm
  • Explosion
  • Riot
  • Damage from aircraft and vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling object
  • Weight of snow, ice or sleet
  • Overflow of water or steam
  • Sudden breakage of a hot water heater, etc.
  • Frozen pipes
  • Electrical currents

If one of these events happens and damages your belongings, you would submit a claim to your insurance provider. You will likely need to pay a deductible before a claim is paid out. It’s best to submit a claim as soon as possible and document as much proof as you can, to increase the likelihood of your claim being approved. 

HO4 Insurance Exclusions

Remember that can of paint? Well, there’s even more exclusions to your coverage. These are the same exclusions that most homeowners insurance policies have too, so you’re in good company.

You won’t be covered for the following perils:

  • Flood
  • Earthquake
  • War
  • Nuclear accident
  • Mudslide
  • Sinkhole

We reckon you’ll have bigger problems if a mudslide hits your apartment, rather than worrying about your t-shirts and pots and pans. 

However, you can beef up your policy with endorsements, or riders, that give you added coverage. This might be flood insurance if you live in an area that’s prone to them, or scheduled personal property if you have a particularly valuable item. 

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How Much Does HO4 Renters Insurance Cost?

Many people forego renters insurance because they think they can’t afford it. But the truth is that renters insurance is one of the most affordable policy types out there. Your individual premium will depend on a number of factors (more on that next), but these figures might surprise you:

  • The average renter’s insurance annual premium was $173 as of 2020. 
  • Compare that to the average annual home insurance premium, which was $1,311 in 2020. 

For renters, that works out to less than $15 per month. What you pay will depend on a few factors, such as your zip code, the size of your policy, your claim history, your deductible, and more. 

But you don’t have to guess. Go ahead and get access to fast, free quotes by clicking here

Do I Need HO 4 Insurance Coverage?

Homeowner’s insurance can be required if you have a mortgage, and HO4 renters insurance can also be required by landlords (more on that here) in almost every state. Whether or not your landlord requires it or not is another story, but be prepared to encounter this requirement to rent an apartment or home.

But look at the positives: even if you’re required to have HO4 insurance, it’s affordable and offers you great protection. Should a fire happen or someone breaks in, starting over is tough. You deserve the peace of mind that your belongings will be replaced and you’ll have alternate living arrangements if you need it. 

Plus, renters insurance even covers your belongings in your vehicle or in your hotel room while traveling. And if you have roommates, you still need your own renters insurance. Find out more here

Even if you’re not required to have renters insurance, it’s always a smart idea. Still have doubts? You might be falling for an old myth about renters insurance. Click here to see them debunked. 

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How to Get HO4 Renters Insurance

Once you’ve decided to make the decision to protect yourself, getting the coverage is the easy part. Your first step is to compare multiple quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal; renters insurance is affordable compared to other insurance policies, but it still pays to put in some time to make sure you’re getting the best quote possible. 

While getting quotes, you’re going to need to decide how much coverage you want. It’s a good idea to do an inventory of all your belongings and what it would cost to replace them to decide on the minimum amount of coverage you need. From there, you can choose to add any riders, choose your deductible, and then you’re in business. 

You can get access to free quotes fast here or contact your insurance agent. Once you’ve chosen the policy for you, all that’s left is to sign on the dotted line and pay your first premium. Usually coverage starts once your first premium is paid, so you can be covered within hours or days. 

Lock It In: HO4 Renters Insurance Is a Good Idea

To recap, HO4 renters insurance protects your belongings (in both your apartment and vehicle), your liability, and living expenses if your unit is being repaired. It’s one of the most affordable policies out there and it’s easy to get. 

Some landlords may require renters insurance, but even if they don’t, it’s a wise idea for renters everywhere. Your stuff matters, and you deserve protection. Your landlord might have insurance for the building, but it doesn’t extend to your unit and your personal property. 

You don’t have to overthink it. Get access to free quotes fast here and you’ll be on the way to affordable coverage for your belongings. It can be that easy.

We’ve got you covered.

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Hollay Ghadery Hollay Ghadery is a writer and editor who is passionate about financial literacy as a means to personal fulfillment. Hollay has over 18 years of experience creating content about a range of topics related to personal finance, including insurance, investing, banking, and credit cards. When Hollay isn't writing, she's spending time with her four children, two dogs, and three goats.

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