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Do I need renter's insurance if I'm subletting a condo?

The condo owner's insurance policy won't cover you while you're renting there. 

Austin Havens-Bowen for Brick Underground/Flickr

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Question:

I'm subletting a condo from a friend who has apartment insurance. Am I covered, or do I need to get my own renter's insurance?

Answer:

Your friend's policy won't cover you while you're renting from them, and our experts strongly recommend you purchase your own insurance. 

"You are not covered under your friend's policy and definitely need your own policy," says Jeffrey Schneider of Gotham Brokerage (a Brick sponsor). "And your friend needs to endorse his or her own policy to recognize that the apartment is no longer owner-occupied."

Renter's insurance will cover damage to your personal property from water or smoke damage, fire, and theft, as well as injuries that guests or visitors sustain while visiting. 

In addition to coverage for damage to your own furniture, clothing, electronics, and other valuables, renter's insurance will cover you for damage you might inadvertently cause to the apartment owner's property.

"For example, if you had a coffee machine that exploded and damaged the kitchen, you would be liable for that," says Deanna Kory, a broker with Corcoran. "The landlord [in this case, your friend], needs to have insurance to cover whatever might be faulty within the walls, but you need to have your property and any liability that might fall on you covered."

This holds true for tenants who are renting in a condo or co-op, or subletting an apartment from another renter: In all cases, it would be wise to purchase insurance.

And in fact, your friend should get in touch with their own provider to update their policy, as they may be voiding their coverage by renting to you, Schneider says. 

Fortunately, renter's insurance is relatively inexpensive, but before you buy a policy, take a look at our guide to the questions you should ask while looking for the best coverage. 


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