Hoping one day soon to own a home, I have been renting apartments for the last 7+ years. The renting first started when I moved to Miami for school and has continued well after I’ve graduated. With my credit not in the best of shape, renting has been my only housing option and one that I’ve actually grown quite comfortable with. But over the past seven years, I’ve never considered buying renter’s insurance.
Renters insurance is similar to homeowners insurance in that you’re protecting the possessions that you own but different in that the actual living space is not included in the policy. This means that if you are renting a living space and want to protect your TV, stereo system, desktop computer etc., you will need a renters insurance policy. Most people incorrectly assume that a landlords insurance policy will cover you, in-case of a fire for instance however the landlord is only protecting their building, not your things within it.
So what exactly is covered with renter’s insurance? Most policies will protect against these fifteen and ONLY these fifteen things:
- Fire or Lightning
- Automobiles (If someone drives into your house or apartment)
- Falling Objects
- Windstorm or Hail
- Volcanic Eruption
- Weight of Ice, Snow or Sleet
- Water Related Damage from Utilities
- Electrical Surge Damage
- Damage from Glass
**If you live in a natural disaster prone state, you might notice that both earthquakes and floods are not on this list. If you want to protect your belongings from these types of problems, you will need to purchase an additional set of coverages on your rental insurance policy, which will make the policy more expensive. (50%-75% more expensive on average).**
Most auto and homeowners insurance providers will also carry renter’s insurance, so finding an online quote can be a snap. Unfortunately for me, I live in the state of Florida so most of the usual suspects for homeowners insurance like State Farm and Progressive do not provide policies. To compare quotes, I visited InsureMe.com where I was asked to fill out a few details about by dwelling and myself, then provided with matches of insurance companies who could provide me a policy, based on my specifications.
You’ll notice that I am not given a quote right away, like I am with auto or health insurance. Instead, I am provided the contact information for the insurers and told that I will be receiving an email or phone call withing 48 hours. Sure enough, I was contacted by Allstate and my renters insurance policy would be $17 a month. Is it worth it for me to carry renters insurance for this very low price?
My financial situation says yes and no because right now, I don’t have a single item inside of my apartment that I couldn’t replace. I’m not the flashy kind so most of what I have is old and outdated, and really not worth the cost of insurance. However, from the liability side, should a guest be seriously injured while doing something stupid (which has been known to happen), I might be on the hook for a pretty penny. I’m really not in a position to truly “afford” renters insurance but at the same time, an injury could set me back thousands. If you have a fair amount of electronics and other valuable possessions, when you factor in the liability insurance, there’s no reason not to carry the inexpensive coverage that renters insurance provides.
Published or updated March 15, 2013.