If you are paying rent — whether it is in an apartment, condominium, or home — it is vital you have renters insurance. These policies often provide liability insurance and can protect your personal property in the event of certain tragedies like fire, theft, or flooding. Here are some tips on finding the right renters insurance for your needs:
Is it mandatory?
A landlord or property manager will often require that you provide proof of renters insurance in order to rent from them. While having renters insurance is not required by law, it does shift some of the responsibility from the landlord to the lessee. As a result, most rented locations ask the person living in them to have their own insurance to avoid disputes down the road.
Laws in several states state a landlord’s insurance carrier could not collect damages against a negligent tenant and that, instead, the landlord and tenant are co-insurers of the property. If you are unsure if you need renters insurance for a new apartment or home, contact the property manager.
Where can you buy it?
Renters insurance is available through many major insurance companies as well as lesser-known businesses. Most companies offer online tools to help you get an idea of how much you would pay for choosing their renters insurance. It is important to note renters insurance pricing varies greatly by region, with locations that are considered more likely to be affected by natural disasters or crime having higher premiums than others. You can also consider getting assistance from a licensed insurance agent if you are unsure about which direction to take. Keep in mind, doing so may require a fee and you might be able to find just as much information from doing your own research online.
How to choose your coverage
The amount you pay for renters insurance depends on how much your personal property is worth. This is where math is involved. You will want to assess every single item you own and give it a value. It is easiest to start by making a tracking sheet and dividing it up by each room where your items are stored. Begin with the high-value items in each room, like televisions, computers, furniture, and jewelry. Do not forget everyday items like your clothes and shoes, too. You don’t necessarily have to go completely in-depth and give items like toothpicks or paper towels a value, but think of the things that you definitely could not afford to replace on your own when making your list. Even if you have a safety net of savings, consider if you want to spend most or all of it on replacing damaged or stolen items, or if you have enough to do so in the first place.
Once you have your belongings itemized, it is time to shop around for the best renters insurance policy. This may require you to speak to agents from various companies to understand exactly what is covered. Do not be afraid to say no if you feel pressured by a representative. This is an important decision to make, and you should be the one making the choice on what is covered and how. When you select your renters insurance, you will likely be given an annual premium amount you will pay over the course of the year. However, most companies allow you to pay this in monthly installments. Additionally, many insurance organizations will auto-renew your policy unless you reach out to make changes, such as in the event that you move or if you would like to adjust your coverage amount.
Although it may seem daunting, renters insurance is just one way to ensure your personal belongings are protected in the event of a tragedy.