A new survey from Apartment.com reveals the majority of renters are unwisely uninsured.

Sometimes it can feel as if all the attention is placed on homebuyers but there are a number of people that rent their homes. When you first move into an apartment, there is always going to be something that you forget or need to go buy. It’s easy to forget about the basics during the hustle and bustle of a move but one thing you don’t want to forget about is renter’s insurance– but many people do apparently.

A survey by Apartments. com found that 67% of 1,400 renters were uninsured. That’s a pretty high number. Just because you don’t own the place where you live doesn’t mean that your belongings don’t have value and your landlord’s insurance wont’ cover your stuff.

Why You Need Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance is going to provide coverage for your belongings that are lost in a natural disaster. This can include a fire, or any kind of storm. If you know you live in a severe weather prone area it’s wise to have renter’s insurance. If there’s a fire and all your belongings are burnt up, your renter’s insurance will make sure that you are compensated for your items and have enough money to purchase new things. Also, if the storm or fire damages your apartment to the point that you can’t live there anymore, renter’s insurance will help pay for your other living arrangements. Not everybody has friends or family that have the space to house someone in an emergency so some are forced (or choose) to stay in hotels while their apartment is fixed. Renter’s insurance can help pay for the cost of the hotel.

In the survey conducted by Apartments.com, the majority of people decided to purchase renter’s insurance because of the risk of theft and this was a smart idea. You never know when a burglar is going to strike and the scary thing is, they can hit anywhere. When you are looking for a place, safety is normally a concern but it’s not always guaranteed and sometimes a burglar can hit when you least expect it. If you get robbed, there will be an initial shock at the damage but if you have renter’s insurance, you at least have the knowledge that you can be compensated for your loss. Otherwise, if you don’t have renter’s insurance, you are back at square one and have no reimbursements to help you get back on your feet. Not everything can be replaced, especially things with sentimental value, but even the small insignificant things can add up.

Buying Renter’s Insurance: What You Need to Know

When looking for an apartment, some consider the size of the place because they like to entertain. Having people over for your first housewarming party is always fun but have you ever thought about what would happen if someone got hurt? You may think that everyone that comes into your home is a friend but you never know what can happen and if someone is hurt in your rental unit, you can be responsible. This is a scary situation is someone is hurt badly and you have no way to help pay for their medical bills. But if you have renter’s insurance, it can prevent you from being sued for those bills and help out with other costs as well. Even if you aren’t a big entertainer and don’t have big dinner parties, it’s a good idea to make sure you are protected.

Choosing the Right Renter’s Insurance Policy

Depending on the kind of property that you are renting, you will need a specific renter’s property. Insure.com says that HO-4 policies will cover standard rentals and HO-6 policies will cover condos which are often rented out to individuals for vacations. Both policies cover the following: fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, explosion, riot, damage caused by aircraft or vehicles, smoke, vandalism, theft, volcanic eruption, falling objects, weight of ice, snow or sleet, overflow of water from plumbing, heating, AC or a sprinkler system, freezing of the pipes, electrical damage. You may need to buy additional coverage for floods or wind damage.

When you are deciding on a policy, you will need to determine how much coverage you want to purchase. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is underinsure yourself and then lose your entire apartment’s worth of belongings. When you are looking for renter’s insurance, it’s best to have an idea of the value of your stuff before you start setting policy limits. Go through your rental and make a list of anything that will have any value. You may not think that your couch from Goodwill holds any value but if it wasn’t there, you wouldn’t have somewhere to sit so for that reason in itself, you couch holds inherent value. Once you have your inventory, add everything up and then double that number. That is likely the best policy limit for you. It will be able to replace everything that you have and then some. If you rental is completely totaled, that means buying everything again from plates to sheets and those little things can up fast.

If possible, ask your insurance agents about actual cash value versus replacement cost. Some insurance companies will only offer actual cash value coverage, which mean they will only offer you what your belongings were worth at the time they were damaged. Most household items depreciate with value over time so if you have to buy something new, it’s likely you won’t have the funds. Replacement cost is going to cost you more up front but will pay you what it actually costs to replace your flat screen television.

When you move into a new apartment, it’s best to contact an insurance company sooner rather than later to get insurance. Be sure to shop around to get the best rates because renter’s insurance is not that expensive. For the coverage it provides, it’s a great investment for a renter to protect their belongings.

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