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If you are one of the 35% of the US population who rents instead of owning a home, this blog is for you, especially if you have been considering purchasing renter insurance.  Many renters incorrectly assume their personal property is covered by their landlord’s insurance policy, but most often that is not the case.  A landlord’s insurance policy generally only covers the building you are renting, which is why renter insurance is a great choice for you.

Renter insurance protects your belongings inside of the space you are renting, and some polices can even cover your living expenses if something happens to the building you are renting.  Some policies may even cover your liability in a lawsuit. For example, if someone slips on your icy driveway, or falls down stairs, that insurance policy may keep your personal assets safe in a related lawsuit for damages.  Your insurance policy may cover damages you may accidentally cause to someone else’s apartment, say if you overflow the bathtub, and the water leaks downstairs into a neighbor’s apartment.

When selecting a policy, be sure to ask questions about replacement-cost coverage, electronics coverage, and the deductible.  Replacement cost refers to the money needed to replace items, rather than an insurance company reimbursing you for what you spent on the items.  This is important to know, because if something happens to your television in the house you are renting, you want to be able to replace the television with a similar item, not be paid for what it cost you to buy it a few years ago.  Some policies have limits on any item that falls under the “electronics” category, so additional insurance may need to be purchased if your personal items exceed that limit.  Lastly the deductible amount is important to know because typically, the lower the deductible (your out of pocket payment amount before insurance pays to replace items) you pay, the higher your premium will be.  Keeping an inventory of your things, with prices, is a handy thing to have in case there is a need for you to use your insurance policy.

If you have a roommate or are someone’s roommate, the person listed in the policy will be who is covered by the policy.  If you and your roommate bought a couch or other item for shared use, the coverage would extend to those types of items.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, says the average renter’s insurance policy costs between $15 and $30 per month.  And, if you don’t think your belongings are worth very much, you may be wrong!  The average person has more than $20,000 worth of items that wouldn’t be covered without a policy!