Lots of folks in Dallas only have renters insurance because their apartment complex made them purchase it. However, if you are going to pay for something, you should know what it’s worth to you, so here are 5 things you didn’t know that your renters insurance covers.

1. Your Laptop when it’s stolen out of your car – or anything for that matter.  Most people think that if someone breaks into their car and steals their laptop, their CD’s, their GPS, or anything else that it will be covered by their auto insurance. WRONG! Anything not permanently attached to the car (like a radio or the seats) would not be covered on the auto policy.  Those things are covered by the “personal property off premise” clause of your renters policy, which is generally 10 percent of your total property coverage.

Who steals a seat?

2. You can cover for breakage of expensive things.  When you have something expensive, like jewelry, sporting goods, or even your rare Pez collection, you can schedule those things on your policy, and cover them against breakage.  This is especially worthwhile for people with expensive bicycles, because even if you crash it because you were looking at the ladies as you rode by, it would be covered (without being subject to deductibles) if it is a scheduled item on the policy.

I think I saw her knickers, guvnah!

3. Coverage against your dog being a jerk.  Say your dog gets out of your apartment and bites your neighbor – you would figure your insurance to cover you for that (and mostly they will) but say you just have a jerk dog who wrecks things. He likes to wreck things so much that he has wrecked everything in your apartment, so he leaps onto the neighbor’s patio and commences to doing what he loves. That’s your responsibility, and thankfully, your renters insurance covers that.

Lets go for a little ride, Fido.

4.  You can talk all of the trash about that girl down the hall that you want. In the dog scenario, you are directly responsible for physical damages you can see – but if you are accused of slander, that is also covered by your renters insurance.  I would suggest you talk less trash about her, but we all know who you are inside and I think I’d be wasting too many of my precious five hundred words if I did – so I’ll just suggest you raise your liability limits. (And maybe consider counseling.)

5. Medical payments to somoene that is injured on your property.  So you finally made up with the girl down the hall, invited her and a few other people over, and are having cocktails. Chet is slicing limes because he always declares himself bartender, even though he is really bad at it, and suddenly the coppery smell of blood is in the air – and your kitchen counter looks like an Incan altar after a sacrifice. No worries! Just trundle Chet off to the emergency room and let your insurance pick up the bill under the “Medical Payments” coverage on your policy. Most renters policies come with a minimum of $500 coverage, but if you know Chet, you should consider upping your coverage.

I'll just have a domestic beer, Chet.

If you take time to learn about renters insurance and what it covers, you will see that it does have a lot of value – aside from getting you into that sweet apartment and getting Dish installed. Take the time to look at what you are buying and see what sort of benefits you can reap from it. Talk to a good agent and spend your money wisely. And stop worrying about Chet, he will be fine.