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Peace of Mind for Renters Can Cost Less Than You Think

If you rent your living space, you might feel at ease because your landlord advertised it as being fully insured. Surely your possessions are covered, right? Wrong.

Imagine these scenarios: You leave town for a week and a pipe bursts above your room. Your flat is broken into and the thief makes off with your possessions. The resident in the next apartment starts a fire in their kitchen that spreads to your living room.

If you sleep on a bare mattress and only own enough stuff to fit into your backpack, you might not worry about any of these situations. Otherwise, you’ll be pleased to find out that renter’s insurance can reimburse your losses and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

What Insurance Will Cost You

Renter’s insurance is very affordable. According to the latest numbers from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), average monthly premiums hover around $15.  Where you live, how much you need to insure and your deductible are the major factors that affect the amount of your premium. Most providers offer quick online quotes you can complete in a few minutes.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “deductible,” that’s the amount you’re required to pay out of pocket for a claim before your insurance covers the cost. For example, let’s say your deductible is $500. Someone picks the lock on your door and steals your stereo that costs $100 to replace. It won’t be worth your while to file a claim. Alternately, if the thief makes off with your $1,000 laptop and a $600 guitar, your coverage will be a relief. A smaller deductible will increase your monthly premium, so you’ll have to decide the balance that suits you.

What It Will Protect You From

Renter’s insurance most commonly covers theft, vandalism, fire and personal liability. Policies often offer some perks: If you have to miss work because you’re required to spend a couple of days in court proving you’re not at fault for something that happened in the home you’re renting, or if you have to stay at a hotel while damage to your apartment is being repaired, chances are that you’ll be covered. It’s still worth your time to shop around and read the fine print for an insurance policy that best matches your needs.

Because policies cover personal liability (bodily injury to yourself or others), some possessions, like a big dog or a collection of knives, may have a significant impact on your premium. Similarly, insuring a hard-to-move collection of antique furniture will probably cost less than insuring the same value in jewelry.

Renter’s insurance is a relatively small expense. Naturally, if you’re having trouble making ends meet, you need to prioritize and may elect to forgo it. However, if you regularly fork over a significant fraction of your paycheck for premium cable, online gaming services or other memberships, it’s well worth cutting back a little and diverting some funds to your peace of mind.

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