Renters Insurance will protect you against losses from: fire
or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm
and water damage from plumbing.
Renters Insurance also covers you if someone slips and falls
in your home or is injured by any of your possessions and
then sues. The insurance covers your responsibility of other
people injured at your home or elsewhere and includes coverage
for legal defense costs if you are taken to court.
Most renters policies have a $1,000 total limit on jewelry
that is stolen, a $3,000 - $10,000 limit for computers and
$2,500 - $10,000 for silverware or flatware. Policies vary,
so be sure to ask for a list of standard coverage limits to
know whether you'll need to buy a Floater, which provides
additional coverage for some of your items.
- Cash or Replacement Value
You can insure your possessions in one of two ways - for
either the cash or the replacement value.
- Cash Value coverage takes into account the age
and condition of items at the time of damage or loss.
- Replacement Value pays today's cost of a new item.
For instance, if your five-year-old TV is stolen, a Cash
Value policy will pay part of the original purchase price
while a Replacement Value policy will pay the current price
of a comparable set. Replacement Value policies tend to
cost more, and there may be other requirements as well.
- Deductible Options
Find out the cost of your deductible, the amount you agree
to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in. The higher
the deductible, the less you can expect to pay for your policy.
Be Sure to:
- Shop Around
Find an insurance agent or insurance company representative
with whom you are comfortable. Ask friends or relatives or check
the yellow pages for agents and companies in your area. Call
a variety of insurance companies and agents. Ask questions.
Keep an inventory of your possessions handy so you can purchase
the coverage that best fits your insurance needs. ($16,000 is
usually the smallest amount of coverage you can get)
- Seek Discounts
Insurance companies frequently offer discounts to their
auto policyholders interested in buying a renters policy. You
also may be eligible for discounts if your apartment or home
has a security system, smoke detectors or deadbolt locks. Additional
discounts may be available depending on your age or whether
you are a non-smoker. Policies vary so examine as many options
- Read Your Policy
An insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance
company. Read the policy carefully. If you have questions or
if something is unclear, call your insurance company representative.
Don't sign the contract unless you fully understand the company's
responsibilities as well as your own. An insurance policy spells
out several obligations for both you and your company. For example,
the company has a duty to defend you if you're ever sued.
- Take an Inventory
Before you buy a Renters Insurance policy, make an itemized
list of everything you own with price estimates and purchase
dates (if possible). Your inventory will help you determine
the right amount of insurance - not too much or too little.
Also, an inventory will help you file a claim easier and faster
if you ever experience a loss. Make copies of this inventory
and keep it in a safe place outside of your home
(at work, in a safe-deposit box or friend's house). Take photographs
or video of each item in your home. To get started in developing
a Home Inventory, you can access free, downloadable Home
Inventory software from this site to help develop an accurate
inventory of your belongings.