VOL. 130 | NO. 210 | Wednesday, October 28, 2015
What You Should Know About Renters Insurance
By Bob Renshaw
Did you know that only 31 percent of renters in the United States have renters insurance? Those of us in the real estate industry consider that startlingly low. But why should you consider renters insurance?
What is renters insurance? Renters insurance offers benefits and protections that landlords may not cover. For example, tenants may not be aware that landlords are only responsible for insuring the actual property against damages, not the contents inside the building. It’s your responsibility to ensure everything inside your home is protected.
How much does it cost? The average monthly premium is usually around $15. This can vary depending on the company you choose, the amount of coverage and the area where you live.
What do plans look like? When it comes to the purchasing a plan, the options vary. You choose the amount of coverage and the deductible based upon the value of the possessions you want to protect. Then, you’ll pay a monthly premium based on those choices.
There are three types of renters insurance coverage: personal property, liability and additional living expenses.
1. Personal property coverage covers the theft, loss or destruction of your personal belongings resulting from a fire, storm or other covered hazard. This protection replaces the items that you use on a daily basis.
2. Liability coverage is part of a standard renters insurance policy and protects you if one of your guests sues you for injuries incurred while at your home or from damages that are your fault and that affect your neighbors.
3. Additional living expenses coverage helps pay for temporary living expenses, hotel bills and restaurants if you are forced out of your home due to unforeseen perils.
Is there anything renters insurance doesn’t cover? It is important to remember that flooding and earthquakes are not included in most policies. You need specific policies to cover those damages. You should also consider extra coverage for expensive items that a normal policy may not cover, such as valuable jewelry.
What should I know before purchasing a policy? Your policy depends upon your age, location and what you need to protect. You should also find out what the policy covers and whether that coverage is actual cash value or the total replacement cost.
An actual cash value policy covers your belongings for what they are presently worth. You will recoup what the product is worth today.
Total replacement cost coverage pays the dollar amount that it costs to replace a renter’s property today. The premium is slightly higher, but many insurance providers suggest this coverage, as it has a better payout if damages occur.
It is important to understand every aspect of your renters insurance plan to ensure you are covered in the areas that are important to your home and property. If you have questions, contact your insurance provider for more information.
Bob Renshaw is the owner of Renshaw Property Management and Renshaw Rehabs in Memphis.