Bursting Your Bubble: Renters Insurance and Waterbeds

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Bursting Your Bubble: Renters Insurance and Waterbeds

Staff Writer · Aug 6, 2010

Many landlords anticipate major damage when tenants move in with a waterbed, and they often require tenants to buy special renters insurance policies to cover potential damages. You could try to convince your landlord otherwise, but if he’s got his mind set, you’re going to have to buy or add-on coverage that’s specific for waterbeds. Some insurance companies include waterbed liability provisions in standard policies, but some do not.  Before you choose a policy, it’s important to understand what you are paying for.

General Waterbed Liability

One of the risks associated with owning a waterbed in an apartment is that the bed will burst, and cause damage to another tenant’s apartment and belongings. The most common scenario is one tenant who lives in an upper floor leaks water into the apartment below it. The tenant below sues the landlord for allowing the waterbed in the first place, as well as the tenant who owns the waterbed. Renters insurance can pay for the damages, and provide legal representation if it gets that far.

Damage to the Premises

There’s also the risk of damage to your own apartment that the landlord wants to protect against. Renters insurance protects your own belongings, but the landlord’s concern is damage to his apartment. He will have property insurance, but each time he files a claim on his insurance, he faces higher premiums from his insurance company. With renters insurance that you own, the company will pay for the damage that you cause, which means he can avoid going to his insurance company.

Types of Water Leaks

How fast or how slow the waterbed leaks will often determine whether the renters insurance company will pay for the damage. Most policies require there to be a fast and sudden leak, resulting from an accident. If there’s a slow leak, due to damage to the structure of the waterbed, the policy most likely won’t protect you. Your policy will spell out the terms and it’s important to ask what types of leaks are covered.

Perils Leading to Damage

Your renters insurance policy may not cover leakage from your waterbed, unless it resulted from some peril, such as a fire. These policies may also include vandalism or other malicious damage by others. The problem with these perils-related requirements is that they are less likely to occur than an accident. It’s better to shop around for a different policy, or purchase optional coverage that includes accidents as well.

Options for Coverage

Check your policy first to make sure you’re not already covered for waterbed liability. If it’s not included in the basic policy, then ask for an optional endorsement or rider for waterbed liability. Expect to pay a higher premium. Shop around for renters insurance that already includes coverage for waterbeds if you don’t already have a policy. You’ll save money that way, because you won’t have to pay extra for it.

Owning a waterbed while renting does have its risks, and the most cost effective way to bear those risks is to buy renters insurance. Try to keep your costs to a minimum by comparing policies carefully.

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