What You Should Know About Renter’s Insurance

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If you’re wondering if renter’s insurance is a good idea for you, you’re not alone. A 2014 Insurance Information Institute survey (www.iii.org) found that while approximately 95% of homeowners polled had purchased homeowner’s insurance, only 37% of renters had purchased renter’s insurance. Why was the number so low? Often, it’s because of a lack of understanding of the value that this low-cost insurance can provide when you need it most. That said, before you take out a renter’s insurance policy, it pays to be prepared! Read on for what you should keep in mind as you consider the best policy for protecting your belongings. It costs less than you think No matter if you’re in your first studio apartment or enjoying a penthouse suite, money is always a factor in purchasing insurance. However, renter’s insurance is remarkably affordable: according to iii.org, the average cost of renter’s insurance in the U.S. was $188 a year in 2015, or just under $16 a month. Those numbers have remained very stable in recent years, though they vary by state. Bottom line, for essentially the cost of four cups of coffee a month, you could buy yourself a lot of peace of mind. It covers more than you’d expect It’s easy to underestimate the replacement cost of your belongings, both high-ticket or everyday items. It may not seem like you’ve spent a lot of money on your furniture and décor, but replacing an entire room’s worth of furniture—let alone an entire apartment—can add up in a hurry. When tragedy strikes, the last thing you want to do is find the money to replace all your clothes, jewelry, furniture, computers, decorative items, and electronics. Even more importantly, most renter’s insurance covers a wide variety of perils—not just fire, but damage from vehicles, falling objects, lightning, smoke, theft, vandalism or malicious mischief—as well as damage caused from water or steam from sources that could include household appliances, plumbing, heating and air conditioning units. You may be required to have it…and to keep it updated Some rental management companies require renters to produce documentation of renter’s insurance, but it can be tempting to let a policy lapse if you haven’t used it in a few years. Don’t give in to that temptation! If disaster strikes, your rental management company is typically not obligated to reimburse you for any of your destroyed belongings. While your landlord’s policy will cover your apartment’s structure and grounds, everything inside your apartment is usually your responsibility. Expert Tip: Beyond simply maintaining your policy, it’s a good idea to review it at least once a year as well, to make sure you have appropriate coverage for any new high-priced items that you’ve purchased. Some items (such as expensive jewelry or electronics) may need to be specifically listed on your policy in order for you to be fully reimbursed for their loss or damage. Take note of these added perks—at home or away! In addition to protecting your valuables inside your apartment, renter’s insurance also can help you in these important ways: •Your renter’s policy covers your personal belongings in your car or whatever you’re carrying with you when you travel—that includes losses due to theft! Before your next road trip, check your policy or ask your insurance agent to verify what specific “covered losses” apply to your policy. •Most policies also provide liability coverage—which can come in handy if someone is injured while in your home or if you injure someone else. This coverage could include payment for court judgments and other legal expenses, up to the policy limit. •If true disaster strikes and you can’t stay in your apartment while it gets repaired, fear not! Your policy may include reimbursement for “additional living expenses” to help cover a hotel room and meals. It’s definitely worth checking your policy to determine if you have this provision in place. Making smart financial choices is the best way to protect yourself today and prepare for a safe and worry-free tomorrow. One of the easiest choices you can make as an apartment resident is the purchase of low-cost, high-value renter’s insurance. If you don’t already have a policy, check one out today (and if you do, make sure yours is up to date!)

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