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Protecting Your Personal Property

Moving is always an exciting and busy time, no matter whether you’re buying or renting. Regardless of which you’re doing, there’s always bound to be tons on your mind as you prepare to move: changing over or setting up utilities, packing, procuring help to move, putting in your change of address, and deciding which wall you’re going to put your bed on are just some of the things you’re probably thinking about. However, many people unfortunately leave one of the most important things off of this list if they’re renting their home: obtaining renter’s insurance.

If you’re renting a condo or apartment, your landlord’s insurance will cover most damages to the building if something should happen, but what this essentially means for the renter is that there’s absolutely no coverage for what’s inside that building; meaning the renters’ belongings. If you were to turn your home upside down and dump out all of the belongings, do you know how much it would cost to replace everything inside? Also, could you financially handle large expenses if you were found liable for an accident that occurred in your home?

Renter’s insurance helps take care of both these situations within the policy’s limits. While homeowner’s policies provide coverage for the structure as well as the personal property inside, renter’s insurance provides coverage for contents as well as coverage for liability. Renter’s insurance allows you to choose an amount that you feel would cover the replacement of all your belongings/personal property, and you also choose an amount for liability coverage.

What does renters insurance cover?

Your personal property is literally everything inside your home: clothing, furniture, jewelry, electronics; all the way down to your toothbrush. Your policy would cover the losses of this property if it were damaged or destroyed from one of the following perils, including but not limited to:

  • Vandalism or theft
  • Fire, smoke, or lightening, including fire from electrical surges
  • Falling objects
  • Aircrafts
  • Water damage
  • Ice, snow, sleet, wind, or hail
  • Riots

This may seem like a long list, and in truth, the list of perils is often longer. If you noticed the absence of flood and earthquakes on the list, it’s because they’re not covered by renter’s insurance, and if you live in an area where you believe either could happen or are prevalent, then you need to look at obtaining separate coverage or perhaps adding a ‘rider’ onto your policy since these two things are ‘excluded perils,’ so if either happened and you experienced a loss, it unfortunately wouldn’t be covered.

Renter’s insurance will be written with either actual cash value or replacement costs; actual cash value means your policy will pay only your property’s value at the time of the loss and replacement costs will pay for what it actually costs to replace the item. Some insurance companies will only write a policy one way or the other, so it’s ultimately up to you to find what you feel most comfortable with. The average renter’s insurance policy usually runs around $20 a month, so it’s affordable and provides literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage; certainly worth an amount that could easily be saved by not eating out once a month, when instead, you can enjoy dinner in your home with your personal belongings and know that the dining room table you’re eating on can be replaced and that if you order a pizza and the delivery boy trips on the bike you left in the middle of the sidewalk and breaks his leg, you’ll know that you have coverage against his lawsuit. That’s a small price to pay for such great peace of mind.

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