Renters insurance: Exposing the myths

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Homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, health insurance — for most Americans, these policies are no-brainers and renter’s insurance should be too. But according to a poll conducted for the Insurance Information Institute (III) only 65 percent of renters have insurance. Millennials were even less likely to be covered, with 72 percent under the age of 25 without a policy. And given how many first-time renters have little savings, the large number of young and uninsured is alarming.

Even though the 65 and older set are most likely to have insurance (51 percent), that number isn’t as high as you’d expect for a population that’s accumulated a lifetime of assets.

So why aren’t so many bothering to buy renters insurance? Here are a few possible reasons along with the facts WHY we should:

“Renters insurance is expensive” Renter’s insurance is much cheaper than homeowner’s insurance; actually a fraction of what that group pays because homeowners are insuring the cost of the building, while renters are just insuring the cost of the “stuff” inside the building. To keep costs even lower, many insurance carriers, like Integrity Insurance, provide discounts when you bundle your renters’ insurance with your car insurance.

“Landlords have insurance” While your landlord probably has insurance to cover the building, your possessions aren’t their problem. In fact, since the landlord doesn’t own your belongings, they don’t have an insurable interest in it anyway.

“My roommate has renter’s insurance, so I don’t need it” Some policies cover roommates, but most don’t. So you better ask your roommate to make sure. But even then, there are a couple good reasons to have your own policy. For starters, these policies have deductibles and limits on the dollars they pay out. Have you already talked about splitting the deductible? What if your stuff is more expensive than your roommate’s stuff? The time to settle these important details isn’t the day after you’ve lost all your possessions.

“I don’t have enough “stuff” worth insuring” Do you own an iPad? Or a flat-screen TV? When we think of valuables in a home, we often look no further than furniture and major appliances. We tend to forget about electronics and even the little things that add up to a lot of cash, like clothing, jewelry and even things you may not use a lot — guitar, gas grill and Kitchen-Aid mixer.

“I’ll never need it” Never say never! While renter’s insurance doesn’t typically cover losses from floods or earthquakes, it does protect you from lots of other things such as: fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, explosion, vandalism or malicious mischief, theft, falling objects, weight of ice, snow, or sleet, water-related damage from home utilities and electrical surge damage. And if some of those tragedies don’t seem likely (volcanic eruption comes to mind), here’s one that is: burglary. The U.S. Department of Justice says there were 2,188,005 of them in 2011, and “victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.8 billion in lost property in 2011; overall, the average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,185.”

One more reason for renter’s insurance: liability protection! With renter’s’ coverage, you’ll be covered for medical and legal expenses should someone suffer an injury or have their property damaged. As Moving.com so eloquently puts it, “When your best friend trips on a rug and breaks a leg, who wants to be surprised by a bill for what could amount to thousands of dollars?” Your policy not only covers damage to your personal property, it protects damage to people should an accident occur. That’s why there’s renter’s insurance and that’s why renters should get it. Make an appointment with your independent insurance agent soon… for the protection and peace of mind you’ll get as an “insured” renter.


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