Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
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Are you protected if a disaster hits your rental home? Where will you go if repairs need to be made to your apartment before you can safely live there? What if your furniture and personal items are destroyed? Many people think that their landlord or their landlord’s insurance will help them. This is not usually the case.
The landlord will often have hazard insurance on the property. This insurance policy covers the structure, the building, but not the property inside. The landlord’s insurance policy will pay the landlord if the building is damaged and needs to be repaired. However, it will not pay for the tenant to replace their personal property or to find another place to live while the repairs are being made.
Tenants need to have renters’ insurance to protect them. Renters’ insurance can replace your furniture, clothes, and other property if they are damaged due a disaster. If you have to move out for a few days while the rental unit is repaired or cleaned, renters’ insurance may pay to put you up in temporary housing. You will need to discuss renters’ insurance with your insurance agent. Different policies will cover different things. Usually the more protection you have, the more expensive the policy will be. You can sometime receive a discount if you have more than one policy (auto, renters’ insurance) with the same company. You will need to speak with your insurance agent to get the coverage that you want. It can really help in the event of an unexpected disaster.
Rental insurance will usually cover damage caused by fire, theft, tornado, etc. It will not cover damage caused by a flood. If you want protection from a flood, you will need to buy flood insurance. Not everyone needs flood insurance. It depends on how likely your rental home is to flood. You can also discuss this with your insurance agent. (Flood insurance is explained in more detail in another article on this website).
· Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans.
· To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:
o call 800-532-1275
o Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161
o apply online at iowalegalaid.org
· If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, you can look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website – iowabar.org. A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.