Washington renters at risk of loss if they skip buying affordable Renters Insurance
SEATTLE – If your rented home or apartment is destroyed by fire or all of your possessions are hauled away by thieves, will you be glad you’re protected by Renters Insurance - or kick yourself because you never got around to buying it?
In the Puget Sound area, 36 percent of residents rented a home or apartment in 2013, according to American Housing Survey (AHS). Statewide in Washington, 47 percent of residents rent a home or apartment, according to Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). Yet a 2015 survey by I.I.I. also shows that only 40 percent of renters in the United States have Renters Insurance. That means nearly 60 percent of renters are at risk of financial hardship if a loss such as a fire, burglary or storm damage occurs.
“Your landlord’s insurance covers the building, appliances, fixtures, cabinets and flooring but it does not compensate you for the loss of your possessions,” said Kenton Brine, president of the NW Insurance Council. "A Renter's policy also protects you if others are injured at your rented house or apartment – and it could pay your legal defense costs if you’re taken to court."
To protect yourself and your personal property, Renters Insurance is an affordable option. In Washington, the average premium for Renters Insurance is $173 a year. For less than $15 per month, you can protect your possessions and protect yourself if you’re found liable for injury to others. Also, you may earn a multi-policy discount when you buy Renters Insurance through the same company that insures your vehicle.
Renters Insurance covers:
- Personal belongings such as clothes, furniture, jewelry, computers, artwork, bikes, televisions, stereo equipment and accessories.
- Financial responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet.
- Additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home or apartment because of a fire or another covered loss. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses.
- Legal defense costs if you are taken to court.
- Personal property stolen from your vehicle such as textbooks, sports equipment, iPods or other sound equipment not permanently installed in the vehicle.
To help you determine how much Renters Insurance coverage to buy, ask your insurance agent or company representative to help you evaluate the cost to replace your belongings. Also, conduct a home inventory. Document and take video of each room – including cupboards and closets – and keep the inventory in a safe place offsite. You can access free, downloadable Home Inventory Software from the Insurance Information Institute’s website.
For more information about insurance, visit nwinsurance.org or call (800) 664-4942.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.