Since the Great Recession of 2007 the number of single family dwellings has not kept pace with the demand, causing people of all ages to forego buying a home and temporarily settle for renting an apartment. This has driven up the average monthly rent in many locations, putting a financial strain on many family budgets.
Renters insurance is something that is highly recommended by experts and professionals because a family’s most valuable possessions will follow them into these apartments. Their presence means that they are subject to damage, theft, or complete loss. Items whose value is irreplaceable or cannot be recouped by money should be kept outside the apartment in a secure location.
The cost of renters insurance is justified by the very reason you buy any type of insurance, whether it is auto, life, or short term disability – life happens. It only takes a single event for you to lose everything you bring into your apartment, and it doesn’t matter if you are living in a large complex or a series of small connected units. Like moving into your own home, you will bring in furniture, entertainment equipment, appliances, clothing, and much more. The replacement cost of all these items, large and small, will quickly add up and in the case of a catastrophic event the total value can financial stress you out to the max.
An overlooked part of renting an apartment is the potential cost of a liability lawsuit. Renters insurance can protect you from any potential losses if you are held liable for an event that takes place that you are deemed to be responsible for. Renters who own a dog are often caught off guard when their dog bites another person while in or near the apartment. People who opt for renters insurance that includes liability coverage will usually find themselves paying more if they own a dog. Most insurance companies will have a maximum of $100,000 in liability coverage available to add to your policy.
Many owners of larger apartment complexes will require renters to have renter insurance. Why? Because the landlord simply does not want to go through the legal hassle of dealing with every legal problem that comes around the corner with their tenants. The actual benefit is equally distributed among all the tenants since everyone knows everyone else is insured. As an individual renter you want to check to see if liability coverage is required of all tenants as well.
So what does all this cost? Current estimates that cover most of the country have an average monthly cost of just $20. That comes out to $240 a year, which is likely to be less than what you are paying for automobile insurance. With this number comes the deductible, ranging from $500 to $1,000 for a policy that will cover as much as $50,000 in property losses.
There are a number of factors that need to be considered with these estimates. The most obvious is where you live. Expect Southern California renters insurance rates to be higher than that of Bangor, Maine. If you move to a low crime area you can expect lower rates. One overlooked factor is the actual value of the property you are moving in. A 5 year old laptop will not require the same replacement cost as the new one you bought 5 days ago. Take a realistic inventory of your belongings and you can start your search for the right renters insurance policy.
Now that you have read about the basics (you need to carefully read and understand exactly what your renters insurance policy covers before signing anything, including your check) you need to be warned that just because you want a policy does not mean you will be accepted for renters insurance. One of the bigger obstacles is for people who have dogs. Many insurance companies have a “prohibited” list of dogs that if you happen to own one of these breeds, you will automatically be declined. Few dog owners are willing to part with their pooch, so you need to make sure you carefully do your research about not only where you move, but whether your specific breed is excluded under the available renters insurance policies.
On a final note, it is highly recommended you take a video inventory of all your property before and after moving in to your new apartment. As they say, the camera never lies, and once you take the video keep in in a safe, off premises location you have easy access to in case you need it. After that all you will have to do is pay the bi-monthly or annual renter insurance premium and go on about your business.