If you are currently renting an apartment, condo, or just moving out of your parent’s house, you need renter’s insurance. Going without renter’s insurance is a huge long-term risk. Despite being required by many apartment businesses, renter’s insurance can be cheap and save you a lot of money during a claim. Plus, buying renter’s insurance helps you to understand what assets you have. For instance, if you are a collector or simply a shopaholic, you may not realize how costly it would be to replace those precious items, until it’s too late. Follow along for a few suggestions to help you make smart decisions when buying renter’s insurance.
The best way to ensure safety of your items is to document what you have. Take 4 pictures of all walls of a room, print it out in a large size, then write down all the items you see. Or you can take a video tour around your rental and add commentary.
With renter’s insurance, buy replacement cost coverage so if your items are stolen or ruined, insurance companies have to pay you the money to replace most of those items. It is really difficult to find used, adequate replacements (think socks!). So when selecting an amount of coverage, estimate the value of your items new, not used.
Scheduled insurance is an additional cost, but will cover specific items like jewelry and guns. Protect items that are limited or not covered under your basic policy by scheduling or listing those items with your insurance company along with their value. For example, there is a limit on most renter's insurance policies which rarely covers the complete value of guns and jewelry. The amount of coverage is generally limited to $500 - $2,000 or less for theft. Since most claims are for theft versus fire, expensive assets will need scheduled insurance, due to the frequency of theft claims.
If you have a fireproof safe with passports and other important identity information, store your insurance information in a similar place. It’s also wise to put your scheduled list of assets in the cloud, such as Google Drive. That ensures a theft or damaged computer doesn’t affect the loss of your asset information. A safety deposit box can also be a safe place, although it will not be as convenient.
The only item that will likely be covered as a vehicle would be a bike. Other vehicles like ATV’s, boats, cars, golf carts, and other vehicles often require their own insurance for coverage even if sitting in the garage.
If you are self-employed or have a business in your home, you need to buy business insurance. Typically only $2,500- $5,000 will be covered for your business assets with renter’s insurance. If you have a library of books, as a professor or minister, this could easily be over the limit. Or if you sell makeup as a salesperson, your inventory will be excluded from renter’s insurance policies. So make sure you buy business insurance if you want to protect your business items.
Don’t try to get a cheaper rate by underestimating how much insurance you need. It is cheap to insure an additional $10,000 or $50,000. If you underestimate the amount you need, it could save you money short-term, but you would be risking losing a lot more money long-term.
Insurance companies almost always cover costs for stolen items or for a fire. However, no renter’s insurance companies are going to pay for flood from a natural disaster. Before buying renter’s insurance confirm whether the policies cover flood, because you could need to buy additional coverage for these events depending on your location.
Even though buying renter’s insurance can seem like a hassle, it can be an easy way to protect your assets. Make sure you document your items carefully before buying insurance, that way you can research the best renter’s insurance policy. Many auto insurance policies give discounts for renter’s insurance, so do look for combo deals.
Renter’s insurance is the best way to protect your items, but you need to understand what to look for in a policy first. By following the tips above, you can save thousands of dollars during a claim.
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