Renters: Got “stuff?” You ought have renter’s insurance.

Renters: Got “stuff?” You ought have renter’s insurance.

If you’re renting an apartment and the guy upstairs lets the bathtub overflow – for a couple of hours while you’re at work – who’s going to pay for the damage to the “stuff” in your apartment? Not necessarily your landlord. In fact, it’s really your problem.

Worse yet, what if a fire or smoke damage forces you out of your rental? You need to think about how much “stuff” you have and what’s it worth. Could you replace that “stuff” without dipping deeply into your paycheck or savings account? Think – computer, clothing, beds, cameras, smart phones, TV, furniture, etc.

What most renters don’t know or understand is that if their “stuff” is damaged or their apartment is unable to be occupied, the landlord probably doesn’t have an obligation to pay for anything. If something is stolen from an apartment or if someone gets hurt in an apartment while visiting, the landlord isn’t obligated to help out. That’s why having renter’s insurance makes a lot of sense.

If there is a question as to who is responsible, it’s better to have your insurance company arguing with the landlord’s insurance company. At Clark Insurance, we also have on-staff claim managers to help you get your claims resolved.

Perhaps the least known benefit of renter’s insurance is called “loss of use.” If you are forced to leave your apartment because it is uninhabitable due to a covered loss, your renter’s policy will absorb any increase in living expenses. For example,if there is a fire in your building, Loss of Use will pay for alternative accommodations while the building is restored and will pay the difference between your monthly rent and the cost of temporary housing as well as other additional expenses.

And what about that couch-bouncing little tike who comes with his mom for a visit and launches his head into your glass coffee table? There’s the ambulance ride,emergency room and follow up care. The mom may feel you have a responsibility to pay for damages because of negligence. Can you pay a $1,000 or more for all those costs or will you need to hire a lawyer to defend yourself at even greater expense?

Renter’s insurance covers not just your “stuff” but it also protects you for loss of use and for liability claims including attorneys costs. It also picks up the costs of lost, stolen or damaged property as well as for things in your car or while you’re in some other location.

For young people, the cost of insurance may appear too high to afford but in reality, the monthly premium may only run about $10 to $20 per month. Renters may also get a multi-policy discount which could bring down the cost of auto insurance.

Just for kicks, go ahead and add up the value of everything in your apartment if you had to buy it all new. Here’s a short list:

  • Couches
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Lamps
  • Beds
  • Dressers
  • Electronic equipment
  • Exercise equipment
  • Linens
  • Clothing / jackets
  • Shoes / boots
  • Pictures / paintings
  • Jewelry

Put a value on each of these items and you’ll see that for the cost of a cheap night out once a month, renter’s insurance is well worth the investment.

Article by Kerry Peabody, CSA, CLTC Senior Account Executive

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