renting with a homeowners policy

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 12, 2013

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Insurance Question from Waterloo, IA

Asked on 01/12/2013

renting with a homeowners policy I am new to renting and have a regular homeowners policy with my insurance company for 8 years. I recently had a fire that caused considerable damage but not enough to consider the house a total lose. My agent is reluctant to pay for the damages due to my not having the proper policy. Is this legal?

Answer given on January 16, 2013

If you are renting a home, and do not own it, you should have a renters or tenant’s insurance policy. This policy covers your personal property up to the limit selected, as well as additional living expense and personal liability at the location as well as worldwide for bodily injury or property damage to others.If you had a full homeowner policy, it was improperly issued by your insurance agent. They should have asked the necessary questions to be sure they issued the correct policy.If you suffered a loss due to a fire, the policy should actually respond for any damage to your personal property, less the deductible. However, since you have no insurable interest in the home, there would be no payment for the damage to the home. The owner of the home hopefully had a rental dwelling policy which would cover the fire damage to the home, less its deductible.Your agent should not really be involved in the settlement of this loss. The adjuster is the person who should be handling the claim and they should explain to you how they will handle the claim. Your agent can be a part of the claim, but they don’t decide on the settlement.

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