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8 common questions from renters

07 April 2017

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 covers 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 will depend on what you want to insure. It’s a good idea to go through all of your belongings and work out how much they would be to replace - you might be surprised how much it all adds up! Here’s a handy calculator to help your work out how much stuff you actually have.

You could choose a higher excess, which will keep your premium down. Remember, you’ll only need to pay your excess if you make a claim.

I don’t own much stuff so why do I need insurance?

While you may not think you have much stuff to insure, it’s crazy sometimes how much a few things can add up, such as bedding with sheets, pillows, duvet and cover, blankets and of course the bed itself. Would you be able to afford replacing these things altogether if they were damaged or stolen?

Even if you are very careful accidents can and do happen, and you can’t always guard yourself against what your flatmates may accidentally damage in your home. 

Then there are the other things you’re covered for by insurance, such as the items that may be taken from your car, like your mobile, sports gear, laptop and sunglasses. If the house you’re renting is damaged and you can’t live there, AA Insurance contents insurance will cover the 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.

What is legal liability cover?

Legal liability cover protects you financially for accidental damage you cause to another person’s property. With AA Insurance contents insurance you’re covered – up to $2 million – even if you’ve taken out a lower value of cover to protect what you value most. 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 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, 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. This doesn’t include cover for you or your belongings, so you will need to take out your own insurance.

For full details, exclusions and limitations please see the Contents Insurance policy document. Application for cover is subject to underwriting acceptance. Limits, excesses, terms, conditions and exclusions apply to the insurance cover referred to. For full policy and benefit terms and conditions please go to aainsurance.co.nz/terms.html.

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