Are you missing stuff? How to Handle a Renter’s Insurance Claim


This article is brought to you by GradGuard. We protect students and their families from the financial risks of college life, like paying tuition fees or replacing a stolen backpack when your school can’t. When the unexpected happens, GradGuard’s tuition insurance and renters insurance can help get you back on track.

No one can expect to end up with important personal possessions, whether it’s the laptop they depend on for school work or other household electronics. However, you can help prepare for this unfortunate situation by taking out a rental insurance policy.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are missing some of your personal property, renters insurance can help you in a big way. Keep reading to learn more about renters insurance and how to handle a renters insurance claim.

What is tenant insurance?

Tenant’s insurance, also often referred to as tenant’s insurance, is recommended for people who rent out their home rather than own it. In most situations, it is strongly recommended that any tenant take out a rental insurance policy to ensure that their belongings are covered in the event of burglary, fire or an unforeseen disaster.

Your personal property is covered by your policy in two ways: actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost value. If you choose to have ACV in your policy, your insurance company will cover the replacement cost of your item less depreciation based on its age and other facts. Replacement cost will cover the exact cost needed to replace the missing item, but usually comes with a higher monthly premium.

If your laptop or other valuables (bicycle, cell phone) are stolen, your school or landlord is not responsible for replacing them. If you have tenant insurance, you will be able to file a tenant insurance claim to help replace your missing property.

apply for tenant insurance

Photo: Pexels

Take inventory

Purchasing a tenant’s insurance policy isn’t the only preventative step you can take to protect yourself. Once you purchase a renters insurance policy, be sure to take inventory of your personal belongings.

A home inventory is exactly what it sounds like – a list, photos, or video of everything in your living space. Browse your property and take stock of your assets with video or photos. Make sure you get the full capture – walls, interior of cabinets and drawers, etc.

Once you have the videos and photos, try making a list/spreadsheet of all your assets. This way, you can easily take a look at your stuff rather than sifting through videos or photos in no time.

Be sure to upload the photos, videos, and list to a place you can access from each device. Relying on your phone or laptop might not be the best idea, especially if said item is the missing property you are going to file a claim for.

Consider scanning receipts for expensive items like TVs or laptops for safekeeping. Taking pictures of the serial number and model number of electronic devices is also helpful so that you can easily identify the exact model you had.

Taking a proper inventory of your possessions will make it easier to file a renters insurance claim when the time comes.

How to Handle a Renter’s Insurance Claim

Insurance companies generally impose a time limit of 48 to 72 hours after the damage or loss occurs for customers to file a renter’s insurance claim. When you sit down to file your renter’s insurance claim, be prepared to provide your policy number, details of the loss (when it happened, what was lost) and your contact information.

Gather relevant information about your missing property, home inventory, receipts, serial numbers, etc. to file your complaint.

When filing a renter’s insurance claim, tell the renter’s insurance company exactly what you lost and how much it was worth. You can submit photos and videos of the items to show what condition they were in, which is especially helpful if you have ACV coverage.

Once filed, you will likely be dealing with someone who is known as an adjuster, who assesses the damages and the claim to determine how much you are eligible to receive in reimbursement, if any. The claims adjuster will ensure that your claim is valid and covered by your tenant’s insurance policy.

The adjuster will authorize a claim. In some cases, they may find your claim fraudulent, deny you reimbursement, and possibly be sued for insurance fraud. Lying about your lost items (whether they’re lost or you’re claiming a newer model) can be considered insurance fraud. Be sure to be honest about the loss of personal property.

The more detailed you are about lost items, the more likely you are to get a bigger refund when filing a renter’s insurance claim. Otherwise, your insurance company may simply reimburse you for the bare minimum for the item by finding a cheaper or lower quality model than the one you had, as you cannot share any specific features or functionality that might give you better results.

However, providing more details to describe the item, such as where you purchased it, actual cost, specific features if offered, device brand, may help you get a refund more precise. For things like a laptop or desktop computer that you’ve made expensive modifications to, being as detailed as possible can help tremendously.

Filing a renter’s insurance claim may be the last thing on your mind in the event you find yourself with missing personal property, but it could save your life in an unfortunate situation.

It’s no secret that college is very expensive. Make sure your investment in higher education is protected with GradGuard. Our affordable tuition insurance and renters insurance the plans are specially designed for students. Customizable plans make it easy to protect your tuition, room and board, laptop, bike, and more.


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