Fire in the West.......Water in the South

You probably think of renters insurance as a money pit; after all, isn’t insurance just for things you own, like a car or house?

Sure, your landlord may have an insurance policy on the building you’re living in, but that only covers the walls and roof over your head. When it comes to your belongings (that you own), it’s your responsibility to get insurance coverage in the event of a theft, natural disaster or other occurrence.

This way, if you ever wake up to a smoke-filled apartment and shattering glass, you can just grab your dog and run—I know that’s what I did when there was a fire in my apartment building!

I Won’t Use Renters Insurance

You may have picked one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, which is a great start to protecting your belongings, but insurance can help with more than just a break-in. In fact, did you know that renters insurance may also cover costs related to someone who is injured in your apartment?

Plus, your belongings are covered even when you aren’t at home. So, if you’re on a spring break getaway with your friends and your baggage is lost or stolen, you can file a claim for payment. Thanks renters insurance!

But let’s get back to your apartment. An insurance policy can provide you with peace of mind in the event of a fire or flood in your apartment building. Let’s face it: the last thing you want to worry about when disaster strikes is how you’re going to replace your bedding, books, kitchenware and those big-ticket items like surround-sound speakers or your laptop.

Even if a fire strikes three floors above your unit, it’s likely that most of your belongings will be damaged by water and smoke. Trust me; I know from experience—and, try as you might, there’s pretty much nothing you can do to get the smoke smell out of your blankets and clothing.

Renters Insurance Costs Too Much

More than 60% of American renters cite cost as their reason for not buying coverage, according to a survey. Well, that excuse just doesn’t cut it: The average cost of renters insurance is much less than you may expect. Most policies will run you less than $1 per day, at an average of just $25 each month.

When you add up how much your apartment furnishings and irreplaceable treasures are really worth, less than $25 per month is a walk in the park—most Americans spend four times that amount on coffee alone.

Most insurance companies provide tools online you can use that help you calculate the estimated value of your belongings, so you can figure out just how much insurance coverage you should get.

Finding the Right Policy

So, have I convinced you that renters insurance is a must? If so, you’re probably wondering how to pick a policy that suits you best. Depending on where you live and your age, there are a variety of options to choose from.

While an online calculator can help you estimate how much coverage you’ll need, you should also take into consideration the condition of your higher-priced items. For instance, that flat-screen TV bought last year and the one you were given as a graduation gift six years ago are going to have very different replacement cost coverage amounts.

It’s a good idea to take a thorough look around a new apartment before you commit, just in case the property seems as though the ceiling may cave in at any moment. You’ll also want to talk to your potential landlord before even signing a lease to find out what his or her insurance policy covers.

Make sure that your future home is up-to-code (to the best of your knowledge), and that the windows and doors are in good condition with working locks. While testing the toilets and checking for bugs, you should check to see that the unit is equipped with fire extinguishers and working fire alarms.

Once you decide to move, you’ll want to reassess your belongings and new apartment to see if you should upgrade or downgrade your renters insurance. At this time, you need to update your current address with the insurance company to ensure you’re covered upon relocating—that’s a lesson I learned the hard way!

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