Why You Need Renters Insurance and How to Get It

By Jess Hutton

renters-insurance One of the best parts about renting is that the landlord has to worry about things like faulty plumbing or repairing a leaky roof. But the landlord won’t take care of everything. If that leaky roof lets in water that damages more than just your personal belongings, you’ll be on the hook to replace all the items out of your own pocket. You can mitigate the fallout of an unexpected event like water damage or a break-in by protecting yourself with renters insurance. The average renters insurance policy only costs around $12 a month. At that price, it’s surprising that more renters aren’t protecting themselves. An Insurance Information Institute poll found that while 96 percent of homeowners have homeowners insurance, only 31 percent of renters have renters insurance. When you can insure your property for less than the cost of one latte per week, it’s surprising that more renters don’t take advantage of it.renters-insurance-cost Photo by ipi6r/Flickr

Benefits of Renters Insurance

Liability Protection: If someone were to slip and fall or otherwise injure themselves while visiting you, would you be able to help cover their medical costs? You would if you had renters insurance. Most policies include coverage for personal liability that will help with medical and legal expenses resulting from any injuries that occur in your home. Property Replacement: Paying to replace stolen or damaged property can get pretty expensive. A renters insurance policy will cover the replacement cost, allowing for full retail value in most cases. renters-insurance-damages Photo by Scott Hughes/Flickr Coverage for Damage to Other Units: If your bathtub overflows and leaks into the apartment below, causing damage to your neighbor’s furniture or flooring, a renters insurance policy will cover the expense to repair any damage.

How to Get Started

Now that you understand the minimal cost involved and the benefits of renters insurance, it’s time to get a policy. The best place to start is with your current insurance company. If you already have an auto policy with someone, call your agent to see what they offer for renters. You’ll probably get an even better deal for having multiple policies with one insurance provider. Your premium will vary depending on how much coverage you need. To figure out the value of your possessions, take an inventory of each room. Include smaller items like clothing, books, movies, music, dishes, silverware, and barware. When you add up all the big stuff like your TV and stereo system plus the smaller items, you’ll probably find out that you are right in line with the average renter, who has about $30,000 worth of possessions. Other factors might contribute to the type and cost of your renters policy, such as where you live, whether or not you own a dog, and the size of your deductible. To make sure that you get the most coverage for the best price, get more than one quote from multiple insurance agencies. Compare a few different options and then select the one that makes the most sense for your needs and budget. renters-insurance-burglar Photo by theupper/Flickr If you’ve been living without the protection of renters insurance, don’t wait another day to safeguard your home and belongings. When you consider how much it would cost to replace your damaged possessions, a $12 per month insurance premium is worth it.