We get it; renting an apartment can be expensive, especially in Boston. With median rent prices over $2000, Boston has one of the most expensive rental markets in the country. And that’s not even factoring in expenses like gas, electricity, cable and internet … or all of those parking tickets! But there’s one expense that renters should not pass up, and that’s renters insurance — especially considering that you could cover the cost of this critical protection by simply skipping a few trips to Starbucks every month.
According to a recent study, nearly 70% of millennials (who make up the majority of renters nationwide) don’t have renters insurance. Over 40% of young people interviewed in the study reported that they opted out of this type of coverage simply because they did not understand how renters insurance worked, which is something Lighthouse wants to change! We’ve put together 5 important reasons why you need renters insurance to help you understand what renters insurance covers and to help you make the right decision when it comes to protecting your possessions.
1. Your home may be protected, but your possessions are not.
Many renters assume that their homes are covered by their landlord’s insurance, which is only partly true. While your landlord’s insurance will cover damages occurring to the physical structure of your home, it will not cover damage done to your possessions or pay for your living expenses while your home is being repaired. Here’s an example: a pipe bursts during the winter and floods your apartment. Your furniture and an expensive rug are ruined beyond repair. Your landlord may only need to cover the losses for the structural damage; any of your personal items that were damaged will be your responsibility to replace or repair. This is one of many reasons why renters should protect themselves by purchasing renters insurance.
2. Renters insurance provides coverage for your personal possessions.
The Personal Property Coverage under your renters insurance policy is critical because, as the name explains, it provides coverage for your personal possessions. Depending on the policy you choose, you can receive up to 100% replacement cost protection for your belongings in the case of fire, smoke damage, vandalism, theft, and some damages due to a storm or natural disaster excluding floods or earthquakes. Renters insurance may even cover lost or stolen items from your gym locker, or if your bike gets stolen while you’re at a bar. And, when you make it home from vacation in one piece, but your luggage does not, yup you are most likely covered for that as well. We recommend taking an inventory of your belongings before purchasing a renters insurance policy to make sure you have enough coverage. Organize your inventory into categories or go room-by-room to make sure you account for everything; and don’t forget about more expensive items like your laptop or jewelry!
3. It protects against certain types of lawsuits.
The Liability Coverage of your renters insurance policy provides protection in case of a lawsuits resulting from bodily injury or property damage caused by you, a family member, or even your pet. This means that if any visitor is injured in your home, the cost of their care and legal proceedings may be covered up to your policy’s liability limits. A personal umbrella policy is always a good idea for an extra layer of coverage, however that is a different blog post. Another common situation that is covered under your liability protection would be if you, a family member, or a pet damaged someone else’s property (say your dog chewed up a friend’s expensive coffee table…).
4. It covers additional living expenses in the case of emergency.
If you are displaced from your apartment due to losses from fire, vandalism, a natural disaster or water damage (as specified by your renters insurance policy), Additional Living Expenses Coverage will help curb some of your expenses. Hotel bills, home rentals, and even restaurant bills can be covered during the period of time when your home is being rebuilt.
5. Renters insurance can help cover your roommate too.
A renters insurance policy can cover up to two unrelated people under a singly policy, which means you can add your roommate to your policy for no extra charge. If, however, you have more than 2 people living in your apartment, your other roommates would need to purchase their own policies. Keep in mind that your renters insurance will not cover theft or intentional damage done to your property by a roommate, regardless of whether or not they are covered under your policy. You should also know that if you ever file a claim, you will receive a check made out to all parties covered under the renters insurance policy. This means you will need your roommate to co-sign the check, even if it is to cover the cost of your belongings only.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when deciding on your renters insurance policy. Some landlords will actually require tenants to have insurance while occupying their property. If this is the case, make sure to fully understand what their property insurance does cover before deciding on a renters insurance policy. And never underestimate the benefits of working with an independent agent! Especially in more complex living situations, your insurance agent will be able to answer all of your questions and come up with a policy that fits your unique needs. Some carriers will offer discounts for their renters insurance clients as well. For example, at Lighthouse Insurance, we have relationships with carriers who provide discounts to clients who bundle their auto and renters insurance policies with one carrier. In some cases, for as little as $3 per week, you can protect yourself and your stuff.
Accidents happen, no matter how careful you are. But by having a renters insurance policy, you will also have peace of mind in knowing that the belongings you’ve worked so hard for are protected.
At Lighthouse, we know renters insurance inside and out. We represent many different insurance carriers, which allows our dedicated team to create a renters insurance policy that works specifically for you. Our expertise lies in providing guidance and comparing prices in order to give you the best option on your renters insurance. Give us a call today at (617) 464-3777 or visit our website to learn more about how to get rental insurance!