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What is an interested party on a renters insurance policy?
In renters insurance, an interested party, also known as an additional interest or party of interest, is a person or company who will be informed if you make changes to your policy.
In other words, if you modify, fail to renew, or cancel your renter insurance policy, your insurer will tell the interested party (most likely your landlord) about it. Note that usually, renters insurance automatically renews, so there’s no chance of this happening by accident.
Landlords and property management companies often ask to be listed as an interested party on their tenants’ renters insurance policies. This is a harmless request — adding them won’t affect your renters insurance premium (the amount you pay for your insurance), won’t extend your policy’s coverage to them, and won’t let them change any aspects of your policy’s terms.
Why do landlords want to be listed as interested parties?
If your landlord asks to be listed as an interested party on your renters insurance, it’s because they want the certainty of knowing that you do, in fact, have an active insurance policy.
As an interested party, they can confirm that you bought enough coverage, that you’re staying on top of your monthly premiums, and that your policy hasn’t lapsed. Having your landlord listed in your policy is a common way to show proof of renters insurance.
Why do landlords care whether their tenants have renters insurance?
Landlords usually feel safer when their tenants are insured. If you have renters insurance, there’s no chance you’ll try to go after your landlord for money if there’s a disaster in your apartment and you need to replace your things or stay in a hotel for a bit.
Also, if you have liability insurance, both you and your landlord’s other tenants have financial protection if you have a dispute. That makes things easier on your landlord if you call them in to mediate.
Do I have to add my landlord to my renters insurance policy?
It varies from landlord to landlord, but some do require that you add them as an interested party.
This is perfectly legal — landlords are entitled to require renters insurance, and can even specify how much liability coverage you need to purchase. Your landlord can take reasonable measures to confirm that you’re cooperating.
If you need to add your landlord as an interested party on your policy, don’t worry! The process isn’t complicated, and as we said, adding your landlord is harmless. Interested parties can’t change your policy, and adding one doesn’t cost extra money. (If your insurer tries to charge you a fee to add an interested party, think about dropping them and shopping around for a better deal.)
How to add an interested party to your renters insurance
The process for adding an interested party depends on your insurer, but usually looks something like this:
- Purchase a renters insurance policy
- Prepare the information you need to add an interested party
- Contact your renters insurance provider and provide the information
Step 1: Purchase a renters insurance policy
It probably goes without saying that you’ll need to buy a renters insurance policy before you do anything else. Many insurers let you purchase their policies online, although a few might require a phone call. These days, almost no insurers will expect you to visit an actual physical office.
Note that several renters insurance providers (including State Farm, Progressive, USAA, and Lemonade) allow you to add an interested party when you get a quote from their website, before you even finalize your purchase. If you’re buying insurance from one of them, you can skip step three — as soon as you gather the information in step two and finish buying your policy, you’re done!
Step 2: Prepare the information you need
If you want to add your landlord to your renters insurance, you’ll need to provide your insurer with their contact information. Tell them you want to add an interested party to your policy and they’ll tell you what they need.
In addition to the address of your apartment, you’ll need your property manager or landlord’s full name, their mailing address, their phone number, and an active email address. You won’t need to provide any sensitive personal details like their Social Security Number.
Step 3: Contact your renters insurance provider
Most renters insurance companies allow you to update your policy on their website (or their app, in Lemonade’s case). Both State Farm and Progressive allow this. However, smaller insurers with less developed websites might require you to call an agent.
After you let your provider know you want to add your landlord as an interested party, you’re done! Your provider will send them a description of your policy by email or snail mail shortly after you add them.
What’s the difference between an additional interest and additional insured?
As we said above, additional interest and additional insured don’t mean the same thing. The terms sound similar, so many people (including landlords) sometimes confuse them.
Check that you understand the difference between the two terms:
Additional interest definition
In the context of renters insurance, an additional interest is someone who receives information about the status of your policy. Basically, they’re an observer. They can’t make changes to your policy or file claims.
Additional insured definition
On the other hand, an additional insured or secondary insured is someone who receives coverage from your policy. For example, if your roommate doesn’t have their own policy, you might decide to add them as an additional insured on yours. (Although as we wrote in our article on whether you need renters insurance, it’s not usually a good idea for roommates to share policies.)
Additional insured parties can file renters insurance claims, but they can’t change or cancel your policy.
You should never add your landlord to your policy as an additional insured for several reasons:
- Adding them to your policy will immediately increase your premiums
- If they file a claim, that will also increase your future premiums
- If they file too many claims, your insurer might decide you’re too big of a risk and decline to renew your policy
Most importantly, there’s just no reason to do this. Your landlord has their own insurance policy which fully covers their things. They don’t need to be added to yours.
If your landlord asks to be named on your policy as an additional insured, double-check with them. They almost certainly mean that they want to be included as an additional interest instead.
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