8 common questions from renters
Whether you’re moving into your first flat, or been renting for years, sometimes it’s hard to know where to find the answers to the simplest questions about insurance. So, we’ve asked our team of experts to help answer the most common queries we get from renters.
Is renters insurance different from AA Insurance’s contents insurance?
Short answer, no. While there are some policies on the market that are aimed at renters, these are essentially the same as a contents insurance policy, like that offered by AA Insurance. So while they are called a different name, both renters and contents insurance cover your items from being stolen or damaged in the same way, with the same types of benefits, excesses and exclusions (allowing for basic differences between insurers).
How much cover do I need?
The amount of cover you need will depend on what you own. People often think of items that may be taken from the car, like a mobile phone, sports gear, laptop or sunglasses, but can forget some of the more everyday items like cutlery, bedding and towels. It’s a good idea to go through all of your belongings and work out how much it would cost to replace everything - you might be surprised how much it all adds up!
An easy way to work out how much to insure your contents for is to walk through every room in the house where you live, including the garage, and list everything you own, then the estimated replacement cost. Here’s a handy calculator to help you work out how much stuff you have, we've even listed the average costs of regular household items to help get you started.
I don’t own much stuff so why do I need insurance?
While you may not think you have much to insure, it's crazy how quickly a few things can add up, especially if you have to replace more than one item. If you had to, would you be able to afford to replace everything you own at once?
Then there are the other things you’re covered for by insurance, such as temporary accommodation. If the house you’re renting is damaged and you need to find somewhere else to stay, AA Insurance will cover an increase in rent above what you usually pay, for up to four weeks. It’ll also cover the cost of temporarily storing your things during this time, or putting your domestic pets into care.
Contents insurance does more than just protect your belongings. With AA Insurance, your legal liability is covered up to $2 million, but the amount of cover can differ between insurers, so it pays to check.
What is legal liability cover?
Simply put, if you damage someone else’s property, even accidentally, then you could be liable to cover the costs. This will happen whether or not the owner of the property has their own insurance. For example, if you accidentally break a vase in a store, the store owner’s insurer will cover the broken vase, but will then look to recover the money from you because you dropped it.
If you’re not insured then you could have to pay for any damage you cause out of your own pocket, cent-by-cent. Imagine what that kind of debt could do to your credit rating, or what you could have spent that money on? The cost of paying for that damage could well outweigh the cost of taking out insurance.
Does my contents insurance cover my flatmates too?
No. Your AA Insurance contents policy only covers your belongings, not your flatmates’. The same goes for legal liability cover, which only covers the policyholder and not your flatmates. With this in mind, it could be worthwhile for all those who are renting to take out their own contents insurance, to help each flatmate protect their individual property, as well as themselves from potential debt.
Are my belongings covered when I’m away from home?
Yes. AA Insurance contents insurance covers your belongings while they’re both in and around your own home, or if those belongings are temporarily removed from your home, such as when they’re in your car or when you’re out and about.
It’s important to remember that if you take your belongings away with you on a trip outside of New Zealand, you’ll need to arrange appropriate travel insurance.
Are my belongings covered when I’ve moved out of the family home?
If you’re living temporarily away from your family home in tertiary accommodation or at a boarding school then you’ll be covered under your parents’ AA Insurance contents policy. The most we would pay is $5,000 per child, per event.
However if you’ve moved into your own home or are flatting, then you’ll need your own contents insurance.
Also, it’s worth knowing that once you’ve permanently moved out of the family home, the items you may have left behind, or at someone else’s house, generally won’t be covered under their insurance, or your contents insurance at your new place.
Am I covered under my landlord’s insurance?
Usually, no. Your landlord will have their own insurance for the rental property as well as for whatever contents they have in that rental. However, this doesn’t include cover for you or your belongings, so you will need to take out your own insurance.
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