Common insurance questions

Answers to common renters insurance questions you may have are provided below. Also provided below is information on Square One and its renters insurance underwriter.

Should you have any other questions about your renters insurance policy, Square One, or Square One’s renters insurance underwriter, please feel free to call 1.855.331.6933 or email us.

General questions

Why do people buy renters insurance?

Insurance is the best-known way to manage risks. For example, would you be able to replace all your belongings if they were damaged in a fire? Insurance is also often required by landlords and property managers.

How do I get a quote for hrenters insurance?

At Square One, you can get a quote online or by calling one of our licensed insurance agents at 1.855.331.6933. We’re open from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (Mon - Fri).

How do I value my personal property?

Try to collect receipts for more expensive belongings where possible and take a photo of them on your phone so you have a record. For a more comprehensive record, check out Square One’s home inventory worksheet.

What is a renters insurance premium?

A renters insurance premium (in fact, any insurance premium) is the amount of money you pay in exchange for coverage. Premiums are determined on a case-by-case basis and reflect the risk associated with the property. At Square One, we let customers pay annually, or monthly with no interest charges.

How are renters insurance rates determined?

The insurance provider will take into account your personal details (like the age, condition and location of your home), as well as your claims history and the coverages and deductibles you have requested when determining your premium.

How can I get a discount on renters insurance?

Increasing your deductible, not claiming for small losses and making security upgrades to your home are the easiest ways to get a discount on your premium. Square One also makes it easy to eliminate unnecessary coverages, and the impact of rate increases is reduced for long-term customers. For more tips, visit discounts on your renters insurance.

Do I get a discount if I’ve had renters insurance for more than ten years and I’ve never had a claim?

Every insurance company calculates their rates differently. Some like to offer customers all kinds of different discounts, including claims-free, age, number of years living at the same address, etc. At Square One, we take these factors into consideration when we are determining your monthly premium – it doesn’t show up as one price with a bunch of discounts.

Our system calculates it all behind the scenes. Because each company offers different insurance protection and different ways of calculating their prices, it’s important to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

Why do renters insurance premiums increase every year?

You may see an increase due to inflation, increased building costs or an increase in the number of claims in your area across the industry as a whole, as these losses must be paid for from your insurer’s only source of income – your premiums. That said, premiums do not always increase – they can decline as well, depending on how severe losses are (or aren’t) over a period of time.

What are the benefits of insurance history?

A continuous insurance history shows your insurance provider that you’re willing to manage the risks faced in owning or renting a home. Having no gaps in your coverage also means you’re never left unprotected. And, if you’ve held continuous insurance for a number of years without making any claims, this may entitle you to lower premiums – because insurance providers will see that you do a good job of managing your risk and preventing avoidable losses.

I’m moving, what should I do?

With Square One, you can transfer your policy to your new home online or over the phone. That way, there’s no gap in your coverage and your property is insured while in transit.

What’s the difference between an insurance agency and an insurance company?

An insurance agency (or brokerage) markets and sells insurance to customers on behalf of insurance companies (or underwriters) that actually offer and write insurance policies. In exchange for premiums paid, the insurance company agrees to pay resulting claims insured under the policy. For facilitating the sale of policies, the insurance agency receives a commission or fee from the insurance company. Square One Insurance Services is an insurance agency and its renters insurance policy is underwritten by Pacific Specialty Insurance Company.

Are insurance agencies regulated?

Insurance is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world. Renters insurance is regulated both provincially and federally.

Are insurance companies regulated?

The short answer is yes, insurance companies (or underwriters) are highly regulated. Each state has a different departement of insurance that oversees the insurance companies operating in that state.

Are insurance companies rated by independent third parties?

Yes, there are several independent rating agencies in the industry. A.M. Best is one such agency and it issues the Best’s Financial Strength Rating for insurance companies. This rating is an independent opinion of an insurer’s financial strength and ability to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations. It is based on a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation of a company’s balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile.

Insurance companies are rated on a 16 level scale, with A++ being the best rating and F being the worst. Companies with ratings of A++, A+, A, A-, B++ and B+ are deemed to be secure. Anything lower than B+ is considered to be vulnerable by A.M. Best. The Mutual Insurance Company of British Columbia, which is Square One’s home insurance underwriter, has a Best’s Financial Strength Rating of A.

How am I protected if there is a problem with my insurance company?

Insurance companies are required to have their own insurance; this is known as re-insurance. Re-insurance is designed to protect a consumer’s loss if an insurance provider is unable to pay a claim.

Coverage questions

Does renters insurance include earthquake coverage?

No, standard renters insurance policies do not include earthquake coverage. You may be able to add earthquake coverage to your policy or you may need to buy a separate policy.

Does renters insurance cover dog bites?

Your personal liability coverage may cover injury caused a dog bite, depending on the limit of your coverage. It’s important to note that not all renters insurance providers will cover dogs (or dog bites) anymore, so it’s best to check with your provider if you’re concerned.

Does renters insurance cover engagement rings and other jewelry?

Square One doesn’t automatically include jewelry coverage so customers can save money if they do not want to include coverage for jewelry. However, customers with jewelry can add this coverage and even personalize the limit of coverage to meet their individual needs.

Does renters insurance cover water damage?

That depends on the cause of loss- a burst pipe is treated differently than rising groundwater. Your policy may exclude one or both of these types of loss, so be sure to know what you’re covered for and what you’re not. If you need help understanding your policy, why not check out Square One’s transparency page, where we explain the most important aspects in plain English.

My stuff was stolen from my car, is it covered under my renters insurance?

Yes. You’ll have to pay a deductible if you decide to make a claim, so make sure the value of your loss exceeds your deductible. You may also need to show that the car was locked and secure at the time of the theft.

Do all renters insurance policies exclude ‘Acts of God?’

‘Acts of God’ is an old-fashioned term usually used to describe perils that are outside of human control- like lightning and floods. Insurance policies don’t use this term anymore as it’s too vague. Instead, your (all-risk) policy contains a short list of specific exclusions.

How does renters insurance pay for damages in the event of a natural disaster?

That depends on the type of disaster in question, and the coverages and exclusions specific to your policy. These details can be found in your policy document.

Are my roommates covered by my insurance policy?

No. With Square One, each roommate needs to purchase their own separate policy.

Claims questions

Should I be worried about reporting a claim?

You should never be reluctant to contact Square One to report a potential claim. That’s why you have renters insurance and why we’re here. It’s best that you contact us even if you ultimately decide not to proceed with the claim. That way we can help assess the situation and determine your best course of action.

What if I can’t provide all required information?

Speak with your adjuster if you’re unable to provide all required information. For example, if you don’t have original receipts or invoices as proof of ownership, the adjuster may accept product manuals or photos.

What is an insurance deductible?

A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay toward a claim before your insurance policy covers the rest. For example, if your home suffers a fire and there is $15,000 worth of damage and your deductible is $5,000, your insurance provider will cover $10,000 of that $15,000.

Does a deductible apply to my claim?

Yes, a deductible applies to every claim. To determine the amount, you will need to refer to your policy declaration. It specifies what amounts you selected by loss type.

What type of information will be required to settle a claim?

You’ll need to provide your adjuster with the details of your loss, including the value of the property that has been lost or damaged. In some situations, you may also be required to provide proof of value or ownership. Usually, you will be required to:

  • Prepare a written statement of loss, describing what happened in your own words.
  • Complete the schedule of loss form, providing details about the lost or damaged property.
  • Attach proof of ownership for lost or damaged items.
  • Secure and provide quotes for replacement of lost or damaged items.

How do I know if my claim is covered?

Your adjuster will let you know whether your claim is covered or not during the claims process.

How long will it take to settle my claim?

Most renters insurance claims are settled within 60 days. Your adjuster will work with you to record the details of your loss and determine the best way to replace or repair your property. Simple, small claims can be completed in a week or less.

Should I make a claim for a small loss?

Your policy has a deductible, which is the portion of the loss you’re responsible for. If your claim is less than your deductible, which is noted on the first page of your Policy Declaration, it likely doesn’t make sense to make a claim. When you apply for insurance, your claims history has an impact on the premium you are charged, so again, making small claims may not be in your best interest. That said, insurance is designed to protect you, so it’s up to you.

Can I change my mind when filing a claim?

Yes. Simply inform your insurance provider that you no longer wish to pursue a claim.

What’s the difference between a claims adjuster and an agent?

An agent is an employee of an insurance provider who advises clients on their insurance needs. An adjuster works with customers in the event of a claim to record the details of the loss and determine the best way to repair or replace property.

Do I have to use the contractor that the adjuster brings in or can I choose my own?

You are generally free to choose your own contractor, provided your adjuster is satisfied with the pricing that is offered and the ability of the contractor to perform the work that needs to be done.

What’s the difference between Actual Cash Value and Replacement Cost?

When your insurance provider pays a claim, they’ll first determine the cost to replace your property- the Replacement Cost. If your claim is being settled on an actual cash value basis, the value of depreciation will then be subtracted. So, Actual Cash Value = Replacement Cost – Depreciation. Square One provides replacement cost on personal property coverage and gauranteed building replacement coverage when customers insure to our suggested limits.

On what basis will my claim be settled?

In most situations, claims are settled on a “Replacement Cost” basis. That means the actual cost to repair, replace, or rebuild, whichever is less, with like kind and quality. If the exact item is no longer available, it would be replaced with a comparable item of similar kind and quality. If you’d like to upgrade an item, you can do so, but you would need to pay the difference.

Do I have to replace all lost or damaged items?

If you decide not to replace all the items, most policies will offer you the “actual cash value” for those items. “Actual Cash Value” is calculated as the replacement cost less depreciation. For older items, substantial depreciation will result in a low settlement. Square One policies, on the other hand, will apply “limited depreciation” of no more than 50% to most items that you choose not to replace.

I’ve experienced a break-in. What should I do?

First, call the police and report the crime. Then, call your renters insurance provider and record the details of your loss while it’s fresh in your memory. Your adjuster will begin the claims process and work with you to determine the best way to repair or replace your property. If the break-in has left your home vulnerable to further losses, take reasonable steps to mitigate that risk.

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Renters insurance questions

How much is renter insurance?

Renter insurance is usually cheaper than homeowner insurance. With Square One, policies start from only $10/month and you can customize your coverage to suit your insurance needs. Don’t own any specialty property? With us, you won’t pay to insure it.

What does renter insurance cover?

Renter insurance covers your personal property, as well as your personal and premises liability. Personal liability protects you against the cost of being sued for damage or injury that you cause to others anywhere in the world. Premises liability protects against amounts you are legally responsible to pay for unintentional injury to someone or damage to their property arising from the ownership or use of your home.

Renter insurance also provides coverage for Additional Living Expenses if you’re forced to temporarily leave your home in the event of an insured loss.

Who should consider buying rener insurance?

Renters who want to protect valuable personal possessions (such as laptop computers, smartphones, etc.) as well as their liability exposures, should consider purchasing tenant insurance.

Am I covered under my landlord’s insurance policy?

Your landlord’s insurance policy only protects the rental property itself, and in some cases, the landlord’s property within the house or unit (like the fridge or the washing machine). To protect your own personal property, you’ll need a renter insurance policy.

I don’t have a lot of things to protect, so why should I buy renter insurance?

When you start adding up what it would cost to replace your clothes, shoes, accessories, and the contents of your kitchen and bathroom, you may be surprised. Use our simple home inventory worksheet to get a rough idea of what your possessions are worth. Tenant insurance not only protects your personal possessions, but also your liability exposures. If you host a party and someone slips and falls on your rug, you may be held liable. While we all like to think that our friends would never sue us, is this a risk you’re willing to take?

What is liability protection and why does my landlord require it?

To be liable for something means that you’re legally responsible for it. Liability protection covers you against amounts that you might be required to pay to others as compensation for property damage or bodily injury that you cause by accident. Square One policies cover your premises (accidents at your home) and personal liability (accidents anywhere in the world).

Landlords may want to see proof of premises liability insurance in case someone injures themselves at your home. For example, if your guest is injured in a fall and decides to seek compensation, your premises liability coverage would respond to the resulting lawsuit.

Square One questions

Where is Square One available?

Square One provides policies to residences of Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas. And we’re adding new states in the near future.

I’m currently with another provider. How do I switch to Square One?

First, get a free online quote. Or, if you’d prefer, call 1.855.331.6933 to speak to one of our licensed insurance agents. Once you’ve arranged the details of your policy, simply ask a Square One agent to assist you in cancelling your current policly or contact provider and cancel your policy.

Can my renters insurance automatically renew with Square One?

Yes. Square One’s policy will automatically renew so you remain protected. We’ll send you an email a month before your policy’s anniversary date to give you the chance to review your coverage, and to let you know of any changes to the policy.

Can my renters insurance premiums be paid monthly with Square One?

With Square One, you can pay monthly without incurring any interest charges. You can also pay yearly, if you’d prefer.

How do I change or modify my Square One policy?

Simply contact your insurance provider to make a change to your policy. With Square One, you needn’t even pick up the phone. You can manage changes to your policy through your online account.

Are there any fees with Square One?

Square One has a $75 minimum retained premium. This means that the first $75 of your premium is non-refundable, but once your payments exceed that amount, there’s no fee if you cancel.

How do I cancel my Square One policy?

With Square One, you can cancel your policy through your online account or by calling 1.855.331.6933