According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Insurance Information Institute, only 41 percent of renters in the United States have renters insurance. Unfortunately, the large majority of Americans are leaving themselves vulnerable to financial ruin because they don't understand how renters insurance works, or assume it's too expensive.
If you're considering purchasing renters insurance, you probably don't understand where to begin, what is involved and how much of your stuff is covered in the event of a robbery or natural disaster. Here are a few critical questions you need to ask your insurance provider before purchasing a renters policy:
Do You Need Renters Insurance if You're in College?
If you're living in the dorms or off-campus, you might be wondering if you should bother securing renters insurance? In many cases, if you live in an apartment on campus or in a dormitory, your belongings will be covered by your parent's homeowner's insurance.
However, don't assume that just because your parents have homeowner's insurance your belongings will be covered. Instead, ask them about their policy and if necessary, see if purchasing renters insurance if you live on-campus makes sense for your needs and budget.
For students who live off-campus, it is wise to consider purchasing renters insurance. From your cellular phone and laptop to your television and gaming consoles, securing renters insurance will help ensure that you don't need to ask your parents for a loan if your home or apartment is robbed.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Whether you're a college student, young professional or nearing retirement, chances are the biggest question you will have for your agent deals with the type of coverage available through renters insurance. In most cases, a basic renters insurance policy provides personal property protection.
Basically, this means that if your stuff is damaged in a fire, snatched by a thief or ruined by a burst pipe, it will be covered. There are various levels of coverage available, and before you assume that you don't own enough stuff to warrant more extensive coverage, it's important to remember that even a few stolen or damaged items can get very expensive to replace.
The most effective way to determine how much coverage to purchase is by creating a home inventory. Catalog everything in your apartment and estimate how much it would cost to replace each item.
In addition to personal property protection, consider also purchasing liability coverage. This policy extension will cover any costs that arise after an individual is injured inside your apartment.
What Are the Perils in Renters Insurance?
While talking to your agent or studying renters insurance on the internet, chances are you will come across the word "peril." In the insurance world, a peril is a risk that places your personal property into jeopardy. Most basic renters insurance policies will coverage several perils, including:
- Fire and smoke damage
- Wind or hail damage
- Damage caused by a vehicle
- Damage caused by the weight of ice or snow
- A burst pipe
These are only a handful of perils that are covered by a typical renters insurance policy. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or earthquakes, ask your insurance provider if these perils are covered by a basic policy. If they are not, consider purchasing additional coverage that will protect your belongings against these natural disasters.
Whether you're living in a dorm room, a small apartment or a large townhouse, there are several individuals who will benefit from renters insurance. If you're not sure whether renters insurance is right for you, or you aren't sure how much coverage you will need, don't hesitate to ask an insurance agency for further assistance.