After a long search and a mountain of paperwork, you’ve finally moved in to your first apartment. You’ve properly furnished your new home with everyday essentials and are eager to begin living on your own for the very first time. But hold the phone … you should consider buying renters insurance before getting too comfortable in your new place.
Renters insurance can help protect you from fire, smoke, vandalism, and theft-related losses. It also provides liability protection in the case that you are sued for bodily injury or property damage.
There are two types of renters insurance: actual cash value and replacement cost. Although replacement cost policies are a bit more expensive than actual cash policies, they help reimburse you for the full cost of replacing your belongings — that is, the policy does not take depreciation into account.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), only 31% of renters have renters insurance. This low percentage is likely caused by the common misconception that landlord’s insurance covers damage to personal possessions. The truth is, your landlord’s policy probably covers only damage to the building.
Renters insurance is a smart idea if you’re a college student living away from home or a recent graduate, as you may not be covered by your parents’ homeowners’ policy. Even if you are covered by parents’ policy, this amount may be limited—typically 10% of the entire value of the damaged or stolen possessions. To be on the safe side, double-check with your agent about specific policy details.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you look into renters insurance:
- Make sure to keep a record of items that may need to be replaced, such as a video or photo inventory. Make sure to store this in a safe place separate from your apartment.
- If you are living with a nonrelative, your roommate may not be covered by your policy. Be sure to check with your agent.
- Lastly, take the extra step and personalize your policy with additional coverage options that suit your lifestyle.
While this may seem obvious, renters insurance policies often differ by insurance carriers. Did you know that you can be reimbursed under many policies if you become a victim of identity theft? Or that your policy rate may be discounted if your rental property has a burglar alarm? Masterpole Murphy is a great resource for coverage options and potential discounts.
Once you find a policy that fits your needs, you’ll finally be ready to begin living in your new apartment — with a lot more peace of mind.
Best of luck!