8 Reasons to Get Renters Insurance

By Victoria Robertson on August 18, 2018

Renting an apartment is a big deal, especially for first-time renters that are attending college. For those unfamiliar with the renting process, it can be rather stressful and confusing, and you’ll often find that you aren’t sure what’s in your best interest, what’s required and what you should opt out of.

That’s why when it comes to renters insurance, it can be a confusing decision that you don’t have a lot of information about. What are the costs? Is it required? Why should you add renters insurance to your policy? So, in order to combat that common problem and answer your unanswered questions, here are eight reasons to get renters insurance.

Photo Via: Pixabay.com

1. Liability Protection

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, liability essentially refers to the idea that, should something happen on your property, in this case, you would be considered liable (or responsible) for damages. Of course, this is a very broad overview of the term, but generally speaking, this would mean that if you had company over, they were injured on your property and ended up in the hospital, those hospital bills could be your legal responsibility.

There is a lot of grey area here to consider, specifically in that there are rules as to what you could and could not be liable for. That being said, you’re more likely to be liable for damages than not, and renters insurance does provide you with liability protection.

The basic liability protection (available in most, standard renters insurance agreements) is $100,000 in damage. Referring back to the hospital example, think about your worst hospital bill ever. How much was it? Odds are, it was under $100,000. For this reason, this amount is sufficient and should have you more than covered.

That being said, you can still add additional coverage should you feel that your assets aren’t covered. For example, if you think there’s a possibility any liability charges would exceed the $100,000 threshold, it may be worth considering higher coverage (though you should also consider the fact that this will significantly increase your payments).

Again, the basic package should be more than enough to cover you entirely, especially given your college student status.

2. Access to Temporary Accommodations

Picture this scenario: it’s three in the morning on a Tuesday night, you’re fast asleep in your bed when the building’s fire alarms begin going off. You hear the fire department outside evacuating everyone, and you quickly jump out of bed and stand outside the building with the rest of the tenants. Shortly after, you’re informed that the sprinkler system in the building has gone off, and the landlord needs 48 hours to make reparations, which will require you to find different lodgings for the next two days, as it’s still unsafe to stay in the building.

Granted, the likelihood of this event is low, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. College campuses aren’t immune to surprise events such as this, and if you don’t have renters insurance, you may need to find a friend that you could stay with, or pay for a hotel for a couple nights.

With renters insurance, this isn’t a problem. Most standard renters insurance includes temporary accommodations in the event of an emergency, such as the one described above. While you may never find that you need these accommodations, it’s much better to have the option at 3 in the morning than it is to scramble and find a place to stay the night at the last minute.

There are different inclusions here, and you likely won’t be offered a stay in a 5-star resort, but you’ll have a place to lay your head until you can return to your apartment, and that peace of mind is well worth the price of admission.

Infographic Via: Canva

3. Protection for Stolen Items

Theft on college campuses is abundant, which is why many students purchase locks for bikes, laptops and other personal items that are more likely to be taken while in class. Think about it: how many times have you heard friends tell you they had something stolen? It could be something as simple as a package outside the front door or even a TV directly out of the living room. Plus, preventing theft isn’t always easy (you can lock the apartment up, but there are still points of entry that a desperate burglar will have no problem utilizing). You can add whatever safety features you want to the apartment, but typically, if someone wants to get in, they won’t have a problem doing so.

Luckily, most renters insurance policies offer protection for stolen items. Again, different policies will protect different amounts of stolen items, but this is also good peace of mind. This way, while you’re away at class for the day and you return to find your laptop has been stolen from your desk, you can call up your insurance agent and replace that item without the hassle.

Some points to know here are obviously that not all items are going to be covered and that replacing a stolen item will require paperwork, police reports and additional hassle, so it’s not exactly an easy process. But, the bottom line is that you’re going to be covered, and that alone makes renters insurance well worth it.

4. Relatively Inexpensive

Another great aspect of renters insurance is that it is relatively inexpensive. A common misconception here is that renters insurance is going to cost students an arm and a leg, so they are better off hoping that nothing goes wrong. This is largely false and the biggest reason is that renters insurance is very inexpensive.

Yes, most home and/or auto policies (let alone medical insurance) can come with hefty bills attached, which can give the impression that insurance, in general, is too pricey. While this is largely true, renters insurance is different in that it’s inexpensive. Think about the costs: buying a home is pricey, which stands to reason that the insurance is just as high. Cars are used every day and can be very pricey as well, so insurance there is high. When renting, the odds of something happening are lower, which means the costs are lower as well. Depending on your insurance company, you could be paying less than $50/month just for a little protection/peace of mind.

You can always shop policies and compare prices to find the one that’s in your budget, but don’t simply opt out of renters insurance because of cost alone, as costs aren’t high enough to warrant it. Plus, most renters insurance is just a small, additional charge to any insurance policy you already have, which means you could potentially bundle your insurance plans and save even more!

5. Medical Expenses Coverage

Along the same lines as the liability statement, medical expenses are covered to a certain degree under most renters insurance policies. Using the previous example, should someone end up injured on your property, or if you yourself are injured on your property, you will have a certain amount of medical expense coverage, which ends up saving you some money in the long run.

Again, different policies mean different levels of coverage, but this is again something that you should be able to shop around for and find the deal that works best for you and the price that fits into your budget. This is yet another instance of “better safe than sorry,” so it’s worth at least looking into.

6. Covers Gaps in Other Insurance

To build on the above point, renters insurance can actually cover gaps that aren’t covered in other insurance policies. For instance, if your car insurance doesn’t cover medical expenses in the event of a car crash, your renters insurance may, which would mean that a bad car accident could actually be made better simply because you have renters insurance.

In addition, renters insurance will cover gaps such as with theft. If your car is parked in your driveway and a laptop is stolen from it, you could be eligible for coverage from your renters insurance, even if you don’t have theft insurance on your car. Again, this isn’t always the case, but it’s worth looking into, as insurance is very particular and it’s better to have too much coverage than it is to have too little coverage.

7. Landlords Aren’t Looking Out for You

A sad but true statement, the only person looking out for you in your apartment is you. Your landlord doesn’t have your best interest in mind, but rather his/her own, as they are a business person and therefore their business will always come before you. Many tenants make the mistake of thinking that, in the event of an emergency, their landlord will assist them, but this isn’t the case.

Think back to the fire example. In that example, many tenants will be left without places to stay for at least 2 days. Now think of the average number of tenants a landlord has, the cost of putting everyone up in a room for a few days, and the likelihood they’re going to do so if they aren’t required to.

In addition, think of the cost of the damages to the building that the landlord is responsible for paying. What this essentially comes down to is the cost of running a business, and being a smart business person. A smart business person isn’t going to put out more money than necessary to fix a problem; it doesn’t make sense. Their assumption is that everyone signed on for renters insurance in order to cover events such as this and, if you didn’t, that’s on you.

For this reason, most landlords now require a minimum renters insurance policy in order to sign a lease. If that’s the case, you don’t have much of a choice. That being said, some allow you to make that choice for yourself, and that’s when you really need to think about who the landlord is truly thinking about. Spoiler alert: they aren’t looking out for you, they’re looking out for themselves.

Photo Via: Pixabay.com

8. It’s Versatile

Last, but definitely not least, renters insurance is versatile. As mentioned about, renters insurance covers so many different elements that are important to consider. From medical coverage to insurance gap coverage to theft and emergency-related instances, renters insurance has you covered from more angles than you probably know and, to top it all off, it’s not a significant expense.

Most individuals choose to get renters insurance because of the array of coverage it offers in addition to the relatively low monthly fees. And, perhaps one of the best perks of renters insurance: an individual can choose the length of their policy to fit their needs. In other words, just because you need renters insurance for eight months doesn’t mean you need to add it to your policy for a whole year.

Leases have different terms, and renters insurance agents understand that and are willing to work around your needs. So if you’re going to study abroad and only need six months of coverage, that’s an option. Did you forget renters insurance and now decided you need it a few months into your lease? You can still get it. Change your mind and decide you no longer want to have renters insurance? Or maybe your financial situation changed and you can no longer afford it? Not a problem! Again, renters insurance is versatile and you can use it to fit whatever needs you may have, which means that you’ll be well on your way to a successful renting agreement.

Renters insurance is an additional cost to your monthly rent, but the cost is minimal and the perks are many. When considering whether or not renters insurance is right for you, it’s important to consider the full spectrum of benefits to adding renters insurance to your policy. Odds are, you’ll benefit from it far more than you’ll spend on it, so it’s worth the money!

So get to shopping policies right now! You won’t regret it!

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