Renters Insurance: To Have or Not To Have?
While we all know that Shakespeare is poetic, a real question many people ask is ‘do I really need renters insurance?’ Our view is, to have, or not to have – is that really a question?! The most common responses for why people don’t have renters insurance are:
- “I don’t think I will ever use it.”
- “I don’t have that much stuff.”
- “My stuff isn’t that valuable.”
Maybe the odds are in your favor that “bad” things will not happen to you, but do you want to be caught without it? Similar to car owners needing car insurance and homeowners needing to insure their homes, risk exists for renters alike.
It CAN happen to you!
Speaking from personal experience, my residence flooded in 2021 due to negligence of a resident who lived two floors up from me. The damage was caused by two young children who decided to play on the sprinkler pipes. Needless to say, it did not end well, and flood damage dramatically impacted nine apartments.
My daughter, my dog, and I had to move three times in four months, which was stressful and exhausting. During our moves, the company that handled my belongings packed some things still wet, which lead to mold and unsalvageability. Several of my prized rugs and furniture, including our beds, were ruined. Favorite artwork and diplomas developed mold. All of our clothing, which was exposed to moisture, was sent away for six weeks for cleaning. Imagine simplifying to one duffle of clothing.
All of this has been mitigated by having renters insurance, and the lesson is: it CAN happen to you!
What are some of the risks you may face as a renter?
When renting, losses can occur from theft, fire, vandalism, water damage, and even liability, and the damages can be expensive. If you live in an apartment or condo complex, the building’s insurance will likely only cover the structure of the building, not your personal unit or your belongings. Without insurance, you may end up with more expenses than you can handle. Thus, it’s important to consider the value of everything you own and the subsequent protection of your possessions.
Here are some situations where renters insurance might come into play:
- Flooding from your home (think sinks overflowing, pipes bursting, roof leaking) into another resident’s property below or next door. In addition to replacing your own belongings, you might also be liable for the damage to the other’s personal property.
- Vandalism of your home, such as someone breaking into your place and painting graffiti on your walls and furniture. The cost to restore or replace the damaged property can be covered.
- Injury from someone falling on your property or your dog bites someone who is visiting. Renters insurance can cover some of the medical expenses associated with the injury and helps cover claims by others for injuries caused unintentionally by you, your children, or your pets.
- Smoke or fire damage to your property and belongings. This could occur while cooking that special meal and a grease fire starts. While the landlord may assume the liability for the building damage and associated repairs, you are responsible for damage in your domain, after your deductible.
- Natural disasters, such as hail, a tornado, or a wildfire, or weather may cause property damage to your personal belongings. Coverage will help to protect what is yours.
- Cost of staying in a hotel, due to “loss of use”. If your home was damaged beyond repair from a flood or fire, the temporary living expenses that you may incur would be covered, within the limits of your policy.
Tips for Maximizing Your Renters Insurance
Peace of mind is a wonderful thing, and the insurance acts like a protective shield for you and your belongings. Here are a few important things to know about renters insurance:
- Know what you have. Create a home inventory list or spreadsheet to keep track of all your belongings.
- When considering renters insurance, it is important to consider how much coverage you need and what your deductible is, both of which will be a factor in how much assistance you get from the insurance company if you have to file a claim.
- Renters insurance is coverage on the go. It follows you wherever you go, whether traveling for business, on vacation, or just away from home.
- Usually, the monthly cost of renters insurance is low, especially when compared to the cost of replacing your stolen items, incurred medical expenses, or liability. You will find that it is affordable and reasonably priced.
- Often times, renters insurance may be required by your landlord.
- Consider it for yourself, but do not forget about your family members who may not think about it, such as your college-age children or those starting to work and live on their own.
While my renters insurance claim is not nearly settled after seven months, I am working on the resolution and I feel less anxious knowing that I have my protective shield! If you’re feeling unsure about your level of property and causality insurance, please do not hesitate to contact your team at Yeske Buie. We are happy to talk with you and help you determine your needs.