Renters insurance is something many apartment and home renters have heard about but that many have ignored. Commonly associated with homeowners insurance, this specialized policy was designed to meet the unique needs of those who do not actually own the homes in which they live. While they may not need building coverage, they do still need protection against the loss of their personal belongings.
The problem? The odds of losing everything you own are pretty slim. These odds leave many wondering if they can get away without having any coverage at all. Unfortunately, many don’t realize how important this type of coverage is until it is too late. Here are 5 reasons you absolutely must have insurance, even if you are only renting your home.
All insurance policies, including homeowners, renters, and even condo coverage, include a liability portion. Liability covers you for damage or injury caused to a person who visits your home. Assume your normally friendly dog lunges at a visitor. Imagine a visitor slipping and falling in your kitchen. Regardless of fault, the liability portion of your policy will cover the cost of your defense and the award if someone sues you and then goes on to win the case in court.
Your Stuff is Worth More than You Think
A great excuse for not purchasing renter’s insurance is that many people think their belongings aren’t worth much. Here’s a challenge. Go to your living room and make a list of every single item you see, including your furniture, pillows, television, bookshelves, and every single book, CD, and video you own. Think back on the purchase price of these items. How about your kitchen appliances? What about your clothes? You own more property than you think, and even replacing only the necessities can be incredibly costly.
You don’t have to have a fire or flood in your own home or apartment to be affected or lose your belongings. What would you do if the person living above you had a flood that caused damage in your apartment? What if there was a fire above or below you that didn’t necessarily damage your belongings but caused the entire building to be condemned. You wouldn’t be able to get your belongings out of the apartment and you’d still have to start over again.
Coverage for Temporary Housing
Let’s say there is a fire or some other type of catastrophic event. You need temporary housing, either until you can go back home or until you find a new place to live. Renters insurance policies have a provision that will help you to pay for temporary housing and incidental expenses until you can go home. Talk to your agent to make sure you have a limit that is sufficient for you to survive until you are back on your feet.
Your Landlord’s Coverage Does Not Count
Some people are mistaken in believing their landlord’s coverage extends to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your landlord has coverage for the building only. It does not and never will extend to the tenants living in the house or apartment. Don’t let anyone convince you that you are covered under your landlord’s policy. You are not.
Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive, totaling only a couple of hundred dollars per year, if that. There is no reason to gamble everything you own to save a few dollars. Talk to your local insurance agent and get a few quotes. This type of peace of mind is worth the cost.
About the Author: Deborah Blair has more than 10 years experience in the insurance industry.