Renter’s Insurance: Protect Yourself

Your home needs to be insured; you can’t predict what bad things will happen and how much they will cost you.

“Anyone who rents a home or apartment should have renters’ insurance. While a landlord typically has homeowner’s insurance coverage for the physical dwelling, as a renter, you need insurance to cover your personal property, such as clothing, furniture or electronic equipment, in the event of loss from fire, theft or other covered perils.

“It can be expensive to buy everything from scratch that you would need to live day-to-day, such as clothing, TV, couches, kitchenware and laptops,” said Angi Orbann, Vice President of Personal Insurance Product at Travelers Insurance.

According to Chris Wukovits, AAA Northeast’s Insurance Department Agency Manager, “Renters’ insurance is very affordable and provides the person with coverage for their belongings that will not be covered under the landlord’s insurance. It also provides a very valuable additional coverage called personal liability which is important if someone is hurt or injured in their unit, and especially if they entertain and serve alcohol to their guests. This coverage will compel the insurance company to defend you in court and indemnify the person up to the policy limit. $300,000 is a considered good coverage, but higher limits are available…Not every type of property is covered the same way. Items such as jewelry, firearms, furs and fine arts have special limits. But when you buy a renter’s policy you can also then purchase a personal articles/inland marine policy for these higher-end items.”

Wukovits adds, “Another important factor here is the roommate situation. Family members can generally be covered under one policy; however, unrelated roommates should be covered under separate policies because they each have their own belongings and you can’t insure what you don’t own.”

It’s not as expensive as you think. “A basic replacement cost policy with $25,000 in content protection and $300,000 in liability will run between $180 to $250 per year, depending on credit and some other factors…If you bundle it with the same carrier you have your auto (insurance) with, sometimes the discount provided for having the second policy can be more than the renter’s premium,” said Wukovits

Orbann’s advice for determining the value of your belongings: “You should start by taking an inventory of your home’s contents. Use your smartphone to record a video of your home or apartment and note what you’ve got. Then estimate the total value and purchase a policy accordingly.” She adds, “Items in storage may be subject to limitations, so check with your insurance representative.”

— Linda Pacheco

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2018-01-01 digital edition