10 Surprising Things Your Renters Insurance Won’t Cover


What does renters insurance not cover? The goal of renters insurance is to protect your personal property from unexpected damage or loss in the event of fire, theft, or other disasters.

While you may think this type of insurance can prevent anything bad from happening to your belongings, it’s not quite that simple.

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In fact, there are 10 things your renters insurance won’t cover. Let’s take a look at each of them now!

What does renters insurance not cover?

  1. Most policies exclude damage caused by floods and earthquakes.
  2. If you have valuable items like jewelry or art, you may need to purchase a rider to insure them.
  3. Many policies have a cap on how much they will pay out for electronics, so if you have expensive items, they may not be fully covered.
  4. Renters insurance typically does not cover your belongings when you are traveling.
  5. If you have a pet, most policies will not cover any damage or injuries they may cause.
  6. If you cause damage to your rental unit, your renters insurance will not cover the repairs.
  7. And finally, most policies exclude coverage for business-related activities.

Below is further explanation of these points;

1) Theft

Most people assume that their renters insurance will cover them in the event of a theft, but this isn’t always the case. If the police determine that the theft was an inside job, or if there are no signs of forced entry, your insurance company may not reimburse you.

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Additionally, if you leave your home unoccupied for more than 30 days, your policy may not cover you.

And if your personal property is worth less than $2,500 and you don’t have coverage for all five categories of personal property items – personal possessions, loss of use (the amount it would cost to rent), living expenses (the cost to replace necessary items such as clothing and food while your home is uninhabitable), alternative living arrangements (what it would cost to stay at a hotel) and additional living expenses (costs associated with temporary housing while repairs are being made) – then the theft coverage on your renters insurance won’t be enough.

2) Fire Damage

Most people assume that their renters insurance will cover any damage caused by a fire. However, that’s not always the case.

If the fire is determined to be caused by your negligence, your insurance company may refuse to pay out. Additionally, if you live in a high-risk area for wildfires, your policy may exclude coverage for this type of damage.

You should also know that some policies will only provide coverage for fires within your home, while others include both your home and outside property.

If you rent an apartment or house with shared walls or floors, water damage from upstairs could easily seep through into your living space. In many cases like these, the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property falls on you.

When it comes to water leaks, some policies cover interior water damages only while others provide protection against water leaks regardless of location inside or outside the building.

3) Natural Disasters

Even if you don’t live in a high-risk area for natural disasters, your renters insurance likely won’t cover any damage caused by floods, earthquakes, or wildfires.

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So if you live in an area that’s prone to these kinds of events, it’s important to get additional coverage. For example, you might need flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

You may also want to look into getting earthquake and fire coverage with private insurers like The Hartford.

4) Vandalism and Malicious Mischief

Even if the police catch the person who keyed your car, your renters insurance policy won’t cover the damage. And, if your apartment is broken into and your TV is stolen, you’re out of luck unless you have a rider that specifically covers electronics.

Your renters insurance also doesn’t protect you from accidents that happen in your apartment like slipping on a rug and falling down the stairs or dropping an open bottle of cooking oil on the floor.

If there’s an accident with another tenant in your building or someone else living in their home, it’s not covered either.

5) Water Damage from Leaks (unless you have a specialty policy)

Water damage is one of the most common claims made by renters, but unfortunately, it’s also one of the things that standard renters insurance doesn’t cover.

If a pipe bursts or your washing machine overflows, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in repairs. That’s why it’s important to understand what your policy does and doesn’t cover.

6) Earthquake Damage (unless you have a specialty policy)

You might think your renters insurance would cover damage caused by an earthquake. But unless you have a separate policy, it likely won’t.

That’s because earthquakes are considered a high-risk event and most standard renters insurance policies exclude coverage for them. If you live in an area that’s prone to earthquakes, it’s worth considering a specialty policy.

It will cost more than basic renters insurance but at least the expense of rebuilding your home may be covered.

7) Car Collisions in Parking Lots (unless you have a specialty policy)

No one likes to think about their car being damaged. But it can happen anywhere, even in a parking lot. And if it does, your renters insurance won’t cover the damage.

That’s because most policies exclude car collisions, unless you have a specialty policy. So if you’re worried about your car being damaged in a parking lot, you may want to consider getting a separate insurance policy for it.

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8) Intentional Acts

No matter how well you take care of your rental, there’s only so much you can do to prevent normal wear and tear. And while your renters insurance policy will cover some types of damage, it likely won’t cover everything.

For example, most policies won’t cover:

  1. Wear and tear/old age
  2. Pests or vermin
  3. Mold or rot
  4. Water damage (unless it’s due to a covered event, like a burst pipe)
  5. Damage caused by pets

9) Wear and Tear/Old Age

We all know that eventually, everything succumbs to wear and tear or old age. And while your renters insurance will cover damages caused by most hazards, it generally won’t cover damage due to regular wear and tear or old age.

This includes things like damaged flooring, walls, or ceilings; broken windows; or a malfunctioning HVAC system. So if your apartment is starting to show its age, you may want to start saving for repairs.

But as long as you’re taking good care of your home and fixing any problems right away, this shouldn’t be an issue.

10) Anything Not Deemed an Accident by Law

Most people believe that their renters insurance will cover them for anything that goes wrong in their rental unit. But there are actually quite a few things that are not covered.

For example, if your toilet overflows and damages your neighbor’s unit, your renters insurance will not cover the damages. The same goes for any intentional damage you (or someone you invite into your unit) may cause.

And if you live in a high-risk area for floods or earthquakes, you’ll likely need to purchase a separate policy to be fully protected.


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