Renter’s Insurance Boston, Framingham, Worcester and Beyond

By: Mary Steeb, CISR, CPIW

Mary loves to explain insurance in terms that her customers can understand so that they can make informed decisions about their coverage.

MA renters insuranceGot renter’s insurance, Boston tenants? What about you folks in Framingham, Worcester, or the Massachusetts suburbs? While 95% of homeowners have home insurance, more than half of today’s young renters (56%) don’t have renter’s insurance, opening the door to serious potential losses. If you rent in Massachusetts, here’s what you need to know about protecting your home and belongings:

What is renter’s insurance?

Renter’s insurance can help you replace items that are damaged, stolen, or misplaced. Renter’s policies cover loss events like fires, lightning storms, windstorms, hail, smoke damage, water leakage/overflow, frozen pipes, theft, vandalism, and more. Renter’s insurance may even help you replace items lost while you’re on vacation!

Who needs renter’s insurance?

Pretty much anyone who rents their living space can benefit from renter’s insurance. It doesn’t matter whether or not you own designer handbags, shoes, jewelry, or a kitchen appliance from Williams & Sonoma. That said, if you do own expensive items, start saving your receipts and make a home inventory now. You should also plan to ask your MA insurance agency about Actual Cash Value coverage versus Replacement Cost coverage. Some items significantly depreciate in value over time; if you don’t opt for Replacement Cost coverage, you’ll only be reimbursed for the item’s current worth.

Do I need renter’s insurance if I don’t own fancy things?

Yes. Again, “cheap” stuff is expensive to replace when taken all together. Did you know, for example, the average American woman owns 30 outfits? Even 30 outfits from Target adds up to $1,500. Throw in your sneakers, your TV, your sofa, your laptop—and now you’re out at least a month’s paycheck. Unless, of course, you were smart enough to buy renter’s insurance.

Does renter’s insurance cover pets?

Yes! Because although they may be cute, your pets are also MAJOR liabilities. In 2017, the cost of the average dog bite claim was more than $37,000. Do you have that much set aside in your “just in case” fund? If not, renter’s insurance is probably a good idea. Here’s a good outline of what is and isn’t covered when you buy renters insurance with a dog.

Does renter’s insurance cover temporary housing?

It will if you ask for “Loss of Use” coverage, a.k.a. Additional Living Expenses, which is probably a good idea. One of the biggest expenses renters incur after a fire or a hurricane is paying for temporary housing. Where would you live for a week (or a month) while your building was getting repaired? Could you stand camping in someone’s guest room for that long? Adhering to someone else’s dishwasher loading requirements? *Shudder.* Wouldn’t you rather buy renter’s insurance and get compensated for a hotel room?

Does renter’s insurance cover damage that originates in other rental units?

Yes. Your renter’s insurance policy can cover damages caused by your neighbors’ negligence. And vice versa! So, if your overflowing bathtub leaks through the ceiling and ruins the downstairs apartment, your coverage would kick in to reimburse your neighbor.

Does renter’s insurance cover theft?

Yes, which is good news because theft is a pretty pervasive problem. According to a 2017 survey, theft is the most common cause of renter’s insurance claims. In Boston specifically, there were more than 11,000 reported burglaries in 2016! Just keep in mind that certain personal items are subject to limits set by your carrier (e.g. $1,500 for portable electronics or jewelry). If you own specific items that are worth more than these limits, you should ask your agent about having them “scheduled.” This means you’ll pay a few extra dollars each month to have the items insured for a higher amount.

Do college students need renter’s insurance?

If you’re a student and you live off campus, renter’s insurance is a very smart idea—especially considering all the big-ticket items college students own (computers, bikes, etc.) and all the moving around they do, AND all the opportunities for things to get stolen or broken during parties…errr, study sessions. Read more about college student insurance, to get the scoop on auto, rental, and health insurance issues for college students in Massachusetts.

Does renter’s insurance cover my roommate’s stuff?

Typically, renter’s insurance won’t automatically cover your roommate’s possessions unless he/she is a spouse. However, you can often add a non-related person to your policy. And, in fact, this is often a better way to cover items in a shared space (as opposed to buying two separate policies). Be sure to ask your agent what makes sense for your living arrangement and what your combined coverage limits should be.

What does renter’s insurance cost in Boston/Massachusetts?

How expensive is renter’s insurance in Boston? According to, the average cost for renter’s insurance runs between $15 and $30 per month. Your rates may be higher or lower, depending on the coverage types/limits you select and the deductible you choose. A higher deductible will typically lower your annual premium (but cost you more out of pocket when a claim happens). Here’s more on “What Should My Deductible Be?”

Still have questions? Call our team of MA renter’s insurance experts at 508.339.2951.