Renters insurance protects renters in apartments, condos, townhomes, and other leasing situations in the event of accidental damage, theft, or other issues specified in the insurance policy.
Some apartment complexes require that all residents carry tenants insurance, listing the owners of the property as an interested party. Some tenants are not required to carry it, but they may be interested in the protection and peace of mind it affords. Whatever your situation, finding the best renters insurance is not difficult with a little research.
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Understand the terms
As with any category of insurance, there is a specific set of terms native to the renters insurance world.
Personal property insurance
This insures your own property against theft and damage. A common level of personal property insurance is $10,000.
Just like with car insurance, liability insurance protects you from financial ruin if you are at fault in causing some sort of damage.
Say you are leaving for work in a hurry and you forget to turn off the oven, which results in a fire, causing extensive damage to your unit and the apartment above yours. Liability insurance would cover you up to a certain point. A common level of liability insurance is $100,000.
Premiums and deductibles
The premium is what you pay for the services you receive, and often you can have this billed either monthly or annually.
Meanwhile, the deductible is the amount of money you have to pay before insurance kicks in. If $300 worth of electronics were stolen from your apartment, for example, and your deductible is set at $500, then you wouldn’t receive any compensation from your insurance provider.
There are also other coverages that deal with
sewer backup, medical payments, and loss of use that covers hotel costs, for example, if your unit cannot be lived in because of a fire or other tragedy. There is even unemployment insurance that pays you if you lose your job. Each of these coverages has special caveats and requirements, so familiarize yourself with these as well.
Know your needs
The only way to tell for sure what renters insurance is best for you is by evaluating your needs.
Get a rough sense of what your valuables are worth so you can decide what sort of protection you need, and be sure to consult your lease to determine what level of liability protection is required, if any.
If you have $50,000 worth of belongings, then you’ll need to up your personal property coverage. If you are living in an expensive apartment, then you may want to increase your liability protection, too.
All this really depends on your situation, but you should be brutally honest with yourself when choosing a policy. Since your premium will increase based on your specific coverage amounts, don’t go higher unless you need to.
Get quotes and compare prices
Once you have a firm sense of your needs, look online to compare policies and premiums.
Do a side-by-side comparison of each quote to determine what you are getting and for what price. If one plan is more expensive than another, this is not necessarily a bad thing; you could simply be getting more bang for your buck.
What’s important is that you are getting the best value for your dollar, and the cheapest plan is not always the best.
Check customer reviews
Go online and search for reviews of the company or companies you are considering.
A higher rating is best in any event, but it is always a good idea to see why some customers give poor reviews. If there is a consistent pattern, you can at least be aware going in if everything else about the company and their policy excites you.
Renters insurance is a great way to protect yourself. Even if you don't think you own that many valuables, having to replace all your belongings would be very expensive. Even a small fire could end up costing you a lot of money so it's wise to stay protected.
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