24 Jul Why You Need Renters Insurance, Even if You Think You Don’t
Renters don’t always get the respect they deserve. Even in today’s changing society, renting an apartment, condo or single-family home is typically considered a temporary situation until you can save enough for a down payment on a house. But whether you’re a Florida renter for one year or a lifetime, you need the insurance coverage you deserve. Renters insurance covers much more than your personal possessions, and is surprisingly affordable. We at Strassman Insurance Group believe that knowledge is power, so we present everything you should know about renters insurance.
Did you know?
According to a 2016 Insurance Information Institute poll, 95% of homeowners had homeowners insurance, but only 41% of renters said they were covered by renters insurance. Of course, homeowners insurance is mandatory across the board, but renters are putting a great deal at risk by treating renters insurance as an unnecessary expense.
Depending upon the terms of your lease, your landlord may require you to carry renters insurance – not so much out of concern for you, but to limit his or her own liability in case of a lawsuit. In Florida, a property owner can include this among the terms, but cannot require you to buy renters insurance from a specific provider. Yet, even if you’re not required to carry it, renters insurance is a better-safe-than-very-sorry protection.
Think you don’t need renters insurance?
Take a quick inventory of your belongings. The cost to replace your clothes, furniture and other prized possessions like electronic equipment adds up. If you’ve been in-place for a while, you’ve probably made some upgrades, acquiring more (and more expensive) items.
To get an accurate assessment of how much it would cost to replace your personal possessions, create a home inventory – a detailed list of all of your belongings – along with their estimated value. Protecting these goods against the following types of loss is what typically prompts people to consider a renters policy:
- Loss caused by the intentional or accidental actions of another person – such an unattended candle in a nearby apartment unit starting a fire that spreads to other units (includes smoke damage, even if the flames don’t reach your unit).
- Loss caused by theft or vandalism.
- Loss caused by flooding from a burst pipe or similar situation. Like standard homeowners policies, most renters insurance policies do not cover floods or earthquakes.
While most people are aware of these protections, you may not know that renters insurance can also compensate you for theft of your personal property wherever the loss occurs – such as a laptop stolen from your car or hotel room. This “off-premises” coverage is usually limited to a portion of your total coverage for personal belongings.
Because a renters policy covers “items in your possession,” it includes items you’ve borrowed or rented as well as those you own.
There are two types of personal property coverage for losses that occur inside or outside your residence.
1.Actual cash value – Covers belongings for their actual replacement cost, minus the depreciation of their value due to age, condition and other factors
2. Replacement cost – Covers belongings for the amount it would take to replace them with a new item. Premiums are usually higher for this type of coverage.
Some categories of personal property coverage typically have a maximum dollar limit by group – such as jewelry – or by single item – such as a watch – that can be paid out to a policyholder.
Another advantage: Returning to our example of a fire caused by a negligent neighbor, renters insurance includes “additional living expenses” coverage if your residence becomes uninhabitable after a disaster and you need to find somewhere else to live temporarily. The coverage would reimburse you for extra expenses, such as the cost to stay in a hotel or rent another apartment while your place is being repaired, and food.
Renters insurance coverage also includes medical expenses for injured guests, damage by other members of your family to another person’s property, injury to another person caused by other members of your family (or dog) and legal costs if you’re sued. The liability coverage on a renters policy would pay your legal costs and court awards up to the policy’s limit.
If you need a larger amount of liability protection, consider purchasing an umbrella policy. This kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage provided by your renters policy.
You may be eligible for the following discounts on your renters insurance policy:
- Multi-policy discount – Bundling insurance types like auto and life, or home and life.
- Safe home discount – available if your rental is equipped with qualifying safety devices and services, such as a security system or fire alarm.
- 55 and retired discount – available if you are retired and not seeking full-time employment.
Additional discounts may be available. Your Strassman Insurance Group agent will be glad to discuss your options with you.
Hopefully, you’re now a believer if you though that renters insurance isn’t really necessary. Our experienced Strassman Insurance Group agents can write a policy that meets your needs and budget to keep a setback from becoming a crisis, and a crisis from becoming a financial disaster. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment.