Is Renter’s Insurance Worth the Cost?

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Renters Insurance

Source: http://joyestesstatefarm.files.wordpress.com

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:

  1. Smoke
  2. Fire or Lightning
  3. Theft
  4. Automobiles (If someone drives into your house or apartment)
  5. Aircraft’s
  6. Falling Objects
  7. Riots
  8. Windstorm or Hail
  9. Volcanic Eruption
  10. Weight of Ice, Snow or Sleet
  11. Water Related Damage from Utilities
  12. Electrical Surge Damage
  13. Vandalism
  14. Explosion
  15. 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.

Insure Me

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

Comments

  1. I agree…I don’t know if it is the best financial decision. But if all your stuff gets damaged or stolen then it makes sense.

  2. Michael says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself IA, Insurance is a gamble but if you can afford it and find a reasonable price, it’s comforting to know that you are protected.

  3. MikeB says:

    A friend of mine lived on the first floor of a duplex. Several kids lived on the second floor. They left their kitchen faucet on during the day and the sink was backed up so the water overflowed onto the floor. He came home from work and found a “surprise” pouring through the ceiling tiles. Because my friend had no key to the upstairs apartment and the landlord and kids couldn’t be reached his first floor apartment was flooded. His insurance came in very handy then!

  4. christine says:

    Sure, you things might be older and not flashy, but do you have the savings *right now* to replace everything you own if there was a fire tomorrow? Everything from electronics to underwear?

    I didn’t have that kind of money, but did have $17 per month. I’m really glad that I did have renters insurance when my 3rd floor apartment was broken into while at work and the thieves cleaned me out.

  5. Monique says:

    You cannot purchase flood insurance on a renter’s policy. Flood insurance is always a separate policy. Earthquake isn’t that expensive. I’ve never sold a policy in which earthquake coverage cost that much. People who can’t afford renters’ insurance are the very people who need it.

  6. Sue says:

    If you have a car insurance policy, chances are your insurance provider will provide an additional 5% reduction on your overall policies if you carry a home or renters insurance policy. Considering many renters insurance policies cost less than $15/month often times by adding a renters policy to your existing auto insurance coverage, you will negate the entire cost of the rental insurance premium.

  7. Lyle says:

    30 years ago at least State Farm sold a basic liability policy for not a lot of money. Its basically the liability part of a renters policy, so that may be worth considering if you decide you can replace your stuff without the insurance.(i.e. a 100% deductible

  8. Orlando FL CPA says:

    Renters insurance can save you big time if you live in an apartment and have a claim. Although most people won’t pay for it, it can often be a wise decision.

  9. Insurance Man says:

    If you want to protect your assets, renters insurance is a great thing. I have seen over and over, apartment complexes having fires and renters standing there looking at the burnt down building, knowing that all their personal property is gone because it wasn’t insured. In my experience, Insurance of any kind is a great thing. It doesn’t matter whether you have a claim or not, you are covered. You may sleep better at night!

  10. Chicago IL CPA says:

    Better go and get it before something happens. Insurance is only worth something if you have a claim.

  11. Richmond TX CPA says:

    You don’t need insurance until it is too late. You better go and get it soon.

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