Insurance, Smart Spending

Changing Apartments – Don’t Forget Renter’s Insurance

Moving into a new apartment can be the start of a new beginning, and during this time you probably have a lot on your mind. You have to unpack, get settled, plus contact various utility companies to set up your new services. Although your to-do list may be overwhelming long, you shouldn’t put off buying renter’s insurance.

Renter’s insurance isn’t required when renting an apartment. But it’s a low-cost, practical way to protect personal belongings. Some people, however, may feel that renter’s insurance is a waste of money. More so, if they live in a relatively quiet, safe place where the community may be gated and entrance into a building requires a code. This provides a measure of security and peace of mind, and many may feel that the chances of a robbery are slim. While true, understand that the protection of renter’s insurance goes beyond theft.

For less than a dollar a day, renter’s insurance can protect your personal belongings in the event of theft, fire or a storm. A general policy also includes liability coverage, which offers protection if you’re sued by someone injured inside your home. Additionally, renter’s insurance can pay for temporary housing if you have to leave your apartment because of fire or storm damage.

Don’t think that your landlord’s insurance will pay for your personal belongings. This is a common misconception among renters. In many cases, a landlord’s insurance only covers the actual property. If your apartment is damaged by a fire or storm, your landlord may provide some compensation to help you find another place to live. But what you may receive pales in comparison to what you could receive with a renter’s insurance policy.

Here are three tips for getting an affordable renter’s insurance policy.

1. Shop around. Contact at least three insurance agents to compare prices. If you already have an insurance policy, such as auto insurance or health insurance, speak with your provider to see if you can add renter’s insurance. Bundling your insurance can knock a percentage off your monthly premium.

2. Determine how much you need. Insurance is highly customizable, and speaking with an agent can help you determine the best level of coverage. You don’t want too little coverage, but at the same time, you don’t want too much coverage – especially if you’re trying to keep expenses to a minimum. To determine the right level of coverage, walk around your house and calculate the value of your personal belongings (clothing, furniture, electronics, jewelry, etc) and estimate how much it’ll costs to replace these items. There are minimum and maximum limits, which can vary by provider.

3. Take pictures of your apartment. Once you have a policy, take inventory and make a list of all your belongings (model and serial numbers, when applicable). Take pictures of each room, focusing on expensive items, such as televisions, computers and jewelry. Keep these photos in a fireproof, waterproof safe. An inventory of belongings is not require to obtain a renter’s insurance policy. But these photos can come in handy when you’re ready to make a claim.