What’s the Deal With Renter’s Insurance?

The house or apartment you’re moving into may be owned by someone else, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options for protecting yourself or your things! One of the best tools any renter has at their disposal is renter’s insurance. Of course, if you’re a student or young person just moving to a new city, you may not have any idea what renter’s insurance is. Don’t worry! We’ll give you the skinny!

What Exactly is Renter’s Insurance?

Renter’s Insurance will compensate the policy holder (you) for a set amount of money if the renter’s personal possessions meet some untimely end. This kind of policy is incredibly useful in the event of a fire, flood, burglary or any other kind of property damage.

Of course, depending on where you get your insurance from, some policies may cover additional related costs as well. Some will comp your stay in a hotel when your current home has been damaged beyond repair. In some cases, renter’s insurance also covers liability expenses, meaning that you’re covered if someone is injured in your home and decides to hold you legally responsible for their medical expenses.

In short: This kind of insurance helps renters cover their behinds in case something horrible happens to them or their things.

Isn’t the Landlord Responsible for This?

Landlords have no obligation to protect or insurance your personal items. While they can’t be completely negligent about building upkeep, the law does not offer any protection for a renter’s personal items in the event of a break-in, fire, or flood. The only thing the landlord is responsible for insuring is the structural integrity of the house or building they own.

Truck collision with building
No one in Ithaca was expecting a truck to come barreling into this downtown apartment, but it did. Residents could not access their items or enter the building for weeks!

Do I Really Need It?

Renter’s insurance is a fantastic idea, particularly for rentals that are at a high risk for certain kinds of catastrophe.

Some examples for you:

  • Many older buildings may not be as fire-resistant as newer building in the area, meaning fires can turn real serious real quick
  • Some areas are prone to certain kinds of natural disasters – earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, etc. – that can potentially devastate a building with flooding or structural damages
  • Live in a neighborhood with a higher crime rate? Break-ins are something to think about.

Old run-down apartment buildings may be your best option from a financial perspective, but many of these buildings aren’t necessarily up-to-standard. This also puts you at higher risk for certain disasters to occur.

But perhaps your building is pristine, new, and in a lovely neighborhood with a low crime rate and beautiful weather. You might consider your building low-risk, but you should still consider grabbing a renter’s insurance policy just in case. The world is a very unpredictable place and disaster can strike when you least expect it. Renter’s insurance usually requires a cheap ($15-$30) monthly fee that is truly not much in exchange for a sense of security!

How Do I Get It?

Most insurance companies offer some form of renter’s insurance, though they all come at different prices and coverage levels. If you’re a student, many insurance companies offer plans specifically targeted towards your specific needs. Of course, you’ll have to shop around to find that plan that covers the right things and fits your individual budget. Consider using a quote comparison tool like Bankrate’s InsuranceQuotes to assess your options.  Think ahead and construct your insurance plan accordingly!

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia, ITG Insurance, UT San Diego

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