A common idea when renting an apartment in Raleigh, NC is that you don’t need renters insurance because, well, you’re renting. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you are renting, you need renters insurance whether you are a college student getting your first apartment or a college graduate moving to a more sophisticated pad.
So what is renters insurance and why do I need it?
Rental insurance is basically coverage of damages to personal possessions. It covers everything that you own such as furniture, clothes, electronic devices, books — you name it. It also provides liability protection if someone is injured in your place and wants to hold you responsible for the incident.
For example, if your apartment burns down and your roommate suffers second-degree burns, then renters insurance (the liability coverage part) will protect you from liability, having to pay out of pocket for his injuries. Another example is if your dog bites the postman and he chooses to sue you for injuries, renters insurance will cover the medical costs and the court costs. Additionally, if your home is unusable for a certain time, most forms of renters insurance will provide funding for you to stay in a temporary place that is at least comparable, in some cases better, than your current apartment.
Well, you might be saying my landlord has insurance on the apartment, why should I get it on my own? The insurance your landlord buys only covers the apartment building which is the just the physical building structure. It does not include any of your personal belongings.
What will it cover?
STUFF: As mentioned above, renters insurance covers most of your personal belongings in the event of fire, theft, vandalism, and water damage. However, most renters insurance companies do not cover damage from more severe events such as earthquakes, flooding, landslides and so forth. You may need to check for a separate policy or an add-on to your insurance policy if you live in a part of the country in which such weather is prone to happen.
LIVING: If something were to happen to your apartment that made it completely unfit to live in, then renters insurance would cover any expenses incurred with moving to another place including certain bills at least for a reasonable time and in some cases, the cost of food and travel expenses.
LIABILITY: Negligence resulting in an accident to someone else physically or to property is covered by renters insurance.
What’s the cost? And where do I get it?
On average, renters insurance policies cover anywhere from $25,000 to $55,000 for apartments and upwards of $100,00 for homes. The first question you want to ask yourself is how much does your stuff cost. Make an itemized list of every important thing in your apartment — furniture, electronics, clothes, and any other personal items of worth. Second, take pictures or record video of everything so that if you don’t know the price, you can search for the item by photo or video and find the same or similar pricing. Take this list to your insurance agency and together you can determine how much coverage you need.
Insurance prices as well as liability limits vary by state. You can start by communicating with the agent who insures your vehicle and check for a bundle package. This will keep all your insurance in one place and give you a much lower cost per month. Almost all major insurance companies provide renters insurance. A basic policy should cost anywhere from $20 to $30 a month and that’s not a whole lot.
Think of renters insurance like a plan B. You may never even get to use it, but the pennies for peace of mind is simply smart and worth it.