Movers, check. New patio furniture, check. New renters insurance plan–wait, what? When you’re in the middle of a big move, renters insurance is likely far from your mind. In fact, only 35% of renters had purchased insurance in 2013. Purchasing a policy can seem like an expensive, confusing hassle that some consider to be a waste of money.
But did you know that you can get apartment insurance that costs less than your morning frappuccino? Now, insurance is cheaper than ever and it covers and protects much more than you might think. Read on for a breakdown of what renters insurance is, what it takes care of, and why exactly it’s so important:
An Introduction to Renters Insurance
Rather than stopping things like fire, flooding, and theft from occurring, renters insurance reimburses policyholders when the unexpected happens. Many things, such as theft, vandalism, damage caused by burst pipes, and loss from fire are covered by insurance plans. Renters insurance will also reimburse policyholders for temporary living expenses and even some medical and legal fees.
It’s also important to note that coverage plans will only protect immediate family that lives under your roof. Regardless of whether you’ve been living with the same person for 8 years, if they aren’t related to you, they’ll need to invest in their own policy. Add any family members to your plan, and adjust rates accordingly to protect their belongings as well.
Additionally, you may think that living in a building means that you’re covered by your landlord’s insurance. But, their insurance plan will only cover what they own; the building itself and any furniture that may be theirs.
Regardless of how often you’re at home, you may have expensive items like technology, jewelry, and bikes. It’s worth a quick sign up and few dollars a month to give yourself a piece of mind.
What’s Covered Under a Renters Insurance Policy
Most renters insurance plans will cover three things: your personal property, any temporary living expenses, and certain legal and medical fees.
1. Personal Property
Perils, or anything bad that can happen to your personal property, are covered by insurance plans. Depending on your policy, these can include fire, water, smoke, vehicle, and lightning damage. Plans will also cover theft and vandalism, so if your window is smashed during a burglary, you have one less thing to worry about.
You also have the option to pay for extra coverage if you have big-ticket items like fine art, an antique Rolex, or diamond earrings. They may need to be appraised before you can cover them, but it is an otherwise straightforward process.
2. Temporary Living Expenses
If, for some reason, your apartment becomes unlivable, your insurance company will cover the cost of getting a hotel. In some cases, your plan may even take care of food and laundry costs, too. So, if your upstairs neighbor overflows their bathtub, you get an all-expense-paid trip to the nearest hotel!
3. Legal and Medical Fees
It may be a surprise, but renters insurance plans will also cover legal and medical fees. That means that if someone gets injured on your property, your renters insurance will help you pay for their medical costs. Additionally, if your next door neighbor sues you over smoke damage, your insurer will help you pay for any court or other legal fees.
Some plans will also cover dog bites, but be sure to check with your agent before moving with your furry friend. It may be the case that you have to purchase an add-on, or that your dog is too big to live in your new building.
In the case that you need coverage in any of these areas, your plan will help you take care of the unexpected.
Things that won’t be covered by renters insurance include power, heat, or water outages, paying for a hotel if your home gets bedbugs, a natural catastrophe like an earthquake or hurricane damage, or any high cost items that aren’t protected by extra coverage.
Deciding How Much Coverage You Need
When setting a coverage amount, think about how much money you would need to replace your valuables if they were stolen or ruined by water damage.
One simple way to calculate the total worth of your valuables is to walk around your apartment while filming all items you would need financial assistance to replace. Make a seperate list or photograph your most valuable items, like jewelry and electronics. If you still have them on hand, take photos of receipts. Otherwise, estimate the cost of each item.
Next, make a rough estimate of your bulk items, like clothes and furniture. Add all of the figures together to have an idea of how much coverage you will need. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
That’s why you should round up to the nearest $10,000. If your estimations show that you have about $23,000 worth of things, purchase a coverage plan that protects you for up to $30,000 of valuables. You can always add extra coverage for specific, high-cost items later.
Changing Life, Changing Coverage
Once you choose a coverage plan, don’t think you’re locked into it forever. Just like you, your plan is adaptable and can change with your needs. Some companies will need you to contact an agent directly to make adjustments, while others have developed apps that allow you to access your plan.
Renters insurance is so much more than just protecting you if your laptop gets stolen. With coverage for practically anything that comes your way. Isn’t that more satisfying than a venti double chocolate frappuccino?