Do you rent your home or apartment? Have you ever thought about what would happen if your home or apartment were to be broken into, damaged, or if someone were to injure themselves there? This is where renters insurance can be beneficial. Renters insurance is coverage for your personal property against damage or loss, not only where you rent, but also while you travel. It insures you if someone’s injured while they’re on your property and insures you elsewhere while you engage in daily activities. Renters insurance can cover medical payments for injuries caused by you, your family, or your pets. It may also pay legal costs if you are sued for an occurrence covered under the policy, even if the lawsuit is groundless, false, or fraudulent.
Basically, renters insurance protects you! Your landlord may have insurance on the property but that does not cover you or your items. If your home or apartment were to burn down, your landlord’s insurance would work to help them rebuild the property or fix the property, but it would leave you homeless and without any of your items. Renters insurance is a way to help protect you and what you own in the event of a disaster. It can help to cover living expenses if your rental becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss as well as replace what you own that may have been lost in the covered event.
You may be thinking to yourself that you couldn’t possibly own that much to where you would need renters insurance. You would be surprised at the full value of your property. If you were to list out everything you own, your tv, furniture, clothes, electronics, etc. would you be able to replace it all out of pocket right now? If the answer is no, then renters insurance may be something to consider. Once you have decided to get renters insurance, how do you determine how much coverage you need? Take an inventory of your personal property and try to include the original price, purchase date, and serial/model number to use as a base for your coverage estimates. You should also take photos or a video of your personal property, obtain certified appraisals of valuable items, and store the originals or a copy of these things off the premises.
But wait, you have heard that renters insurance can be pretty pricey. You are worried that it is expensive? Actually, renters insurance can be really reasonable because you are not insuring the actual building, just your property within the building. For example, a policy with $30,000 property coverage and $100,000 liability coverage typically costs around $12-$15 a month. In addition to this, some insurance agencies also have “discounts” available such as a multiple policy discount or discounts if your home or apartment has security, a sprinkler system, smoke detectors, deadbolt locks, etc. These discounts can help make the already low cost of renters insurance even lower and more affordable.
Still confused or not convinced? Let’s look at some scenarios that may help paint a clearer picture. The following scenarios are all dependent on coverages and the insurance company:
- You (or another tenant) caused a fire and your belongings are destroyed or damaged by fire or smoke. If you don’t have renters insurance, you would have to replace all of your belongings out of pocket and could end up without a home depending on the building damage. However, if you did have renters insurance, you could have funds to help rebuild your life and cover costs while you do so.
- A friend trips on your rug and breaks her arm in your house. The friend decides that you are now liable for her medical costs associated with the broken arm and sues you. If you didn’t have renters insurance, this could cost you a pretty penny out of pocket. However, with renters insurance, the costs could be covered both for the medical coverage and the court costs.
- You stop to visit a friend after work and upon leaving find that your locked car was broken into. Your new suit, iPhone, and $200 cash are gone. Without renters insurance, you would have lost all of those belongings. Your auto insurance may cover the broken window to the vehicle but not the suit, phone, or cash. However, with renters insurance, you could be covered.
You have decided to consider renters insurance? Great! The next step is to sit down with your insurance agent and discuss your options. Be sure to also ask about the following in your conversation if it pertains to your situation:
- Actual cash value vs replacement cost coverage
- Coverage for business equipment and floods
- Coverage for college students
- Limits for coverage for theft or jewelry, furs, expensive silverware, etc.
- Roommates and their coverages
Let’s recap, renters insurance is coverage for your personal property against damage or loss as well as help to cover costs associated with situations that occur both in your home and elsewhere. You should inventory all of your belongings and get appraisals for expensive items to determine coverage. You should also have a conversation with your insurance agent. What you own is worth more than you think. Protect it and yourself with renters insurance.