You leave town for the weekend to visit family. You come back and a pipe has burst in your newly furnished corner unit. What do you do? If you have renters insurance you can stay calm knowing you have replacement options; if you do not have renters, you have a bumpy road ahead. While 95% of homeowners have homeowners insurance, shockingly, only 37% of renters have coverage. If you rent, get to know your available options and learn how you can benefit from proper coverage.
Renters insurance provides financial protection against loss or destruction of personal property. Coverage can include losses due to smoke, fire, natural disaster, theft, and vandalism. Also within most policies is coverage of additional living expenses if your property becomes unlivable due to fire or other covered issue. Additional living expenses are reimbursed as the difference between your normal living expenses. While policies provide protection for material goods, in my opinion, the most important aspect is liability coverage.
Together with protection against loss of personal property, renters insurance provides coverage to you when someone is injured in your home. Some policies follow you outside of your property in the event you cause an injury away from home (i.e. you accidentally hit someone with your shopping cart at the grocery store, causing injury). Coverage also extends to family members, pets, and can pay defense costs if an issue is taken to court. Without insurance, you run the risk of being personally and financially responsible for a myriad of issues that may arise inside or outside of the property you are renting. Medical bills, legal fees, and compensation for pain and suffering are only a few of the expenses you may be stuck with. If you don’t have insurance, the injured party could garnish your wages or attach your property as compensation for injuries
Renters insurance should be purchased by every renter. Landlords may have insurance on your building, but many tenants are unaware that this doesn’t protect the tenant’s belongings or accident injuries caused by the tenant. Be aware of the two types of policies available, “actual cash value” and “replacement cost”, and their differences. Policies can cost as little as $100-$300 per year with coverage of $50,000 or more. You can supplement your coverage with additional protection from a floater. A floater provides coverage for certain valuables from perils that are not covered on your specific plan.
When the chickens come home to roost, and there is two feet of water in your unit, you will want protection. If you already have a policy, be sure to thoroughly read it or discuss each element with your agent. Visit http://www.iii.org/ for more information about renters insurance and your options.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.