If you’re renting, the dwelling you live in isn’t yours. You’ve got no responsibility to insure it; that’s your landlord’s obligation.
But what is yours – and what you should consider insuring – are the belongings you’ve got within your home. The dollar value of your TV, stereo system, jewelry, designer shoes, or anything else that has some sort of value should be protected in case of a fire, theft, and so forth.
Your landlord’s property insurance policy will cover losses to the actual structure, but any of your things within it aren’t covered by this policy. You’re responsible for taking out – and paying for – renter’s insurance.
You don’t necessarily have to get a policy, legally speaking – that’s totally up to you. But if your things are torched in a fire or stolen from a burglar, you’ve got no recourse to recoup your losses.
You might not want to assume an additional expense, which is understandable. Between your utility bills (assuming they’re not included in your rent), groceries, car loan payments, and student debt payments, throwing in another expense on the pile doesn’t exactly sound appealing.
But the truth is, renter’s insurance is probably the cheapest payment you’ll have to make at the end of the month. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the average renter’s insurance policy is only about $15 to $30 per month.
Here are some reasons why you should buy into a renter’s insurance policy.
It Covers Any Losses to Your Belongings
Aside from the fact that renter’s insurance is affordable, it also covers losses to your personal property. Even if your place is small and doesn’t fit much, the things you managed to cram in there may be worth a pretty penny when you add it all up. Even if it’s just your smartphone and high-tech headphones, that’s a few hundred bucks right there. You’d be amazed how much you would need to replace all the things you’ve spent years accumulating.
In addition to a fire or theft, renter’s insurance also typically causes losses as a result of damage caused by smoke, vehicles, explosions, lightening, the weight of ice or snow, windstorms, hail, and vandalism. It should be noted that damage caused by floods is not covered under a standard renter’s insurance policy. In this case, you’d need to take out an additional policy.
It Protects You From Liability
Not only are your belongings covered with renter’s insurance, personal liability is also covered. For instance, if someone comes into your home and is injured, they can legally come after you in court for damages. If you have renter’s insurance, you’ll be covered for any costs associated with hiring a lawyer and any judgments that are awarded to the plaintiff in court. The amount of money you’ll be given will depend on your policy limit.
It Might Be Required By Your Landlord
Before you even move into your unit, your landlord might want to see tangible proof that you’ve taken out a renter’s insurance policy. Some landlords just want you to have it for their own personal reasons. Other times their insurance provider may require it.
It Pays For Living Expenses
If your place is damaged beyond the point of being habitable, your insurance policy will cover living expenses to put you up somewhere else temporarily until your home is repaired and brought back up to par. Paying for a hotel for a few weeks or even a few months can really add up. Having a policy that covers these costs can be a real life saver. Every policy is different, so you’d be wise to check your specific policy to identify how long these additional living expenses will be covered for, and what the monetary limits are.
It Covers Your Personal Belongings No Matter Where They Are
Your belongings don’t necessarily have to be in your home at the time that they are damaged or stolen. If you take your things along with you when you’re out and about and they’re either stolen or become damaged, you may be covered for their losses. Inquire with your insurance provider about the specific details on what qualifies to be covered.
The Bottom Line
For a few dollars a month, you can give yourself some peace of mind knowing that you’ll get your money back in case all of your things are damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen. Rather than being left having to start all over and paying out-of-pocket to build up your inventory of belongings, renter’s insurance can reimburse you instead. Just make sure that you are clear on exactly what is covered under your policy, and don’t forget to ask about any potential discounts that you might qualify for to ease the financial burden.