When renting your first apartment, you’re likely to think about the fun and excitement you are going to experience in settling in a new home. Many renters nowadays don’t carry insurance to protect against loss or destruction of their personal possessions. The recently conducted survey of the Insurance Information Institution showed that only 30 percent of renters had renter’s insurance. Meaning 70 percent of renters have no insurance coverage in case of fires, theft or other unfortunate incidents that can damage their possessions.
According to the latest report of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of renter’s policy is only between $15 and $30 a month, depending on the size and contents of the rented unit. That’s a very affordable price to pay for an insurance coverage as compared to the cost of replacing everything you own if something happened unexpectedly. Renters include a variety of class of people from college students to newly-wed couples to retirees living in a rented apartment or condominium. Many renters aren’t aware on just what renter’s insurance is all about, so here are some most frequently asked questions that can help them understand about it.
What is renter’s insurance and why do I need it? The renter’s insurance offered to every renter covers the property contained within the renter’s living premises of an apartment, condo, townhouse or home up to the value of the policy. If someone breaks into your home or if you experience fire without insurance, your property would not be protected. It is estimated that the damage to property in case of unexpected incidents would cost $40,000 on average to replace all the belongings contained in a two-bedroom apartment such as furniture, electronics, home appliances, dishes, kitchen ware and utensils, clothing, personal items, etc.
What “perils” does renters insurance cover? Depending on the renter policy you choose insurance usually covers theft, fire, lightening, smoke, windstorms, hail, vandalism, and water damage due to a burst pipe or overflows. Some policies will also cover living expenses if you’re forced to live somewhere else while your home is being repaired. Some policies also cover personal items that are stolen outside of your home, such as out of your vehicle. You may want to check if this is covered in your policy or if your insurance company charges extra for this coverage.
What does renters insurance cover? Renters insurance covers the majority of your personal items such as clothing, furniture, artwork, electronics, jewelry, dishes, etc in the event of an unexpected catastrophe. However, if you work primarily from home or have a home business, you may need additional coverage for business equipment. If your insurance policy has a liability portion, it will protect you in the event of someone being injured in your home. This may include a dog bite if your dog is not an “aggressive” breed as well as if someone falls. If your policy does not have liability coverage it is probably good to look into as liability insurance is fairly inexpensive.
I have roommates- do we need separate policies? Each insurance company has a different policy when it comes to more than one person living in the home. Most insurance policies cover spouses and immediate family members who live with you. Check with your insurance company for specifics on roommates. Some insurance companies recommend each tenant purchase individual policies and other companies only require one policy. If your company only requires one policy they will generally add each roommate as an “additionally insured” on the policy. Beware that if you have multiple people on one policy any checks for damages will be made out with all of your names on it.
How to get renter’s insurance? You can easily approach an insurance agent that knows the ins and outs of insurance coverage. You can ask him/her to provide you with a quote. You can also find renter’s insurance online like NetQuote where you only need to complete just one application online and receive multiple quotes to choose from.
How can I claim my insurance? This is the kind of question that needs to be asked with your insurance agent from the very beginning. Each insurance company has a different policy, so it is important to know exactly what is important to you before you commit to working with the insurance company over another. Find out if you can submit claims online or need to call your insurance agent. Find out how long it takes to receive the insurance claim check after you’ve submitted all the necessary requirements.
Do I need extra insurance for flood, earthquake, and storm coverage? You may want to look into addition insurance as the standard renters insurance policies only provide for personal possessions against 17 classes of peril, but earthquake, floods, windstorms are not included in these covered perils. Most renter insurance policies do not cover water that seeps through the roof or wall so you may want to check into flood insurance in addition to your main renter’s insurance policy.
I have purchased renter’s insurance. Now what? Click here to read more on what to do after you purchase insurance!