Posts

Get Renters Insurance and Be Safe Southie

Don’t Be Like All Uncool; Get Renters Insurance and Be Cool.

Living in South Boston, or Southie to you and me, used to be the best-kept secret in Boston. Now that the secret is out, it’s not quite the same old Southie. “Apartments” for rent are now everything from renovated warehouses, churches or new construction tucked away between West Broadway and Congress Street.

Yet with all of the changes, in many ways it is the same Southie we’ve always known; a place many of us still call home, our real home. This is the place where we went to kindergarten, celebrated birthdays, learned how to ride a bike, had our first kiss, got married and had babies.

As your local insurance agent, Lighthouse Insurance has celebrated many of life’s milestones with you; from passing your driver’s license test, to buying your starter home, or, as exciting, renting your first apartment.

Like any good Southie neighbor, we are happy to share our wisdom with newcomers to our town whenever it’s needed. So if you’re just joining our community for the first time, welcome to the neighborhood. Or, if you’re a young Southie native venturing out on your own for the first time, don’t worry we have your back too.

No matter what your situation is, we want to make sure you protect yourself and the place you call home. This means having “the talk,” but this one’s about something not so sexy. However, it is very important. We want to discuss the value of having renters insurance. Was that just a big sigh of boredom from everyone? Okay, now that you have that out of your system, get ready to learn why renters insurance is actually much cooler than you think.

Why do I need renters insurance?

Great question and we are glad you’re paying attention! Of course the Bostonian in us wants to just say, “because we told you so,” but as your local insurance professionals we would be doing you a disservice so we are going to tell you why. Here are the three main reasons getting renters insurance is a smart move:

  • It covers all the personal property you own
  • It gives you a level of liability protection
  • It provides you with additional living expenses

So what does all this mean? Let’s look at each coverage separately. No this is not a waste of time; trust us, we will make this really interesting!

Coverage for your personal property.

Basically coverage for personal property means all the stuff you’ve worked so hard to buy, like your TV, computers, furniture, Xbox, headphones, street/mountain bike, snowboard, fancy handbags, shoes, and other belongings. These are all protected if stolen or damaged due to fire, smoke, vandalism or some other unexpected calamity. You may need a little extra protection for collectibles or jewelry, but that is an easy thing to add on for very short money.

Liability coverage.

Most people think this is something they don’t need, but we’re here to make sure you aren’t one of them. Instead, we are going to tell you why liability coverage is such an important coverage and why we think it’s the coolest part of your renters insurance policy.

Liability coverage protects you financially, no matter how much money you earn or the size of your bank account. When someone sues you they are not checking your bank balance for adequate funds; instead they are going after compensation that they believe to be fair for injury or damages caused by you, whether intentional or not. And no matter how much money you have, or don’t have, one thing’s for sure; you are going to have to find a means to pay for any judgments against you.

Liability coverage can save you from having to borrow money, look for a second job, or cut back on your expenses to pay the legal bills. Specifically, here are some examples of what kind of lawsuits this coverage can safeguard you from:

  • bodily injury you or your family members cause to others
  • property damage that you or your family members cause to others
  • damage your pet(s) cause

Liability protection in a renters insurance policy will also provide you with no-fault medical coverage which means that you can submit medical bills directly to your insurance carrier should someone get injured in your home. Liability coverage will also pay for the cost of defending you in court and for any money awarded to the complainants, up to the limit of the policy.

Yup, we just blew your mind didn’t we? That’s a lot of coverage but we haven’t even gotten to the best benefits of renters insurance yet.

Additional Living Expenses.

Now that you know you have your stuff and your money protected, what happens if you are displaced from your apartment due to circumstances outside of your control? Need an example? Unfortunately, home fires are more common in the city then you think. This past summer there were actually two serious blazes that prompted us to write a blog post about fire prevention for Southie residents, who as you know, live precariously close to their neighbors. But fire is just one reason you may be displaced from your apartment. There are other scenarios that are just as unsettling to think about. Consider what you would do if your upstairs neighbor’s commode burst and water flooded down into your apartment while you were both out of town for the weekend. That would literally stink!

If these or any other type of catastrophe wrecks your apartment, do you have a back-up plan? Well, if you have an extremely cool renters insurance policy, then you can be certain you will not have to go back to mom and dad’s or crash on a friend’s couch. A good renters insurance policy provides additional living expense coverage that could pay for hotel bills or temporary rentals, restaurant meals and other expenses you incur while your apartment is being repaired or rebuilt.

Okay, let’s get real, how much does renters insurance cost?

This is really the most awesome part of all! Renters insurance is cheap; hugely important, but, yes, cheap. For as little as $12 bucks a month you can get all the coverage we outlined here. As we like to say, it’s less than a skinny margarita or a craft beer at the trendy bar on the corner. So eliminate one of those beverages a month and you have your renters insurance covered. And if you own a car, you can save even more by combining your auto and renters insurance with the same carrier, in some cases as much as 20% on your auto insurance. Like a wise old Southie neighbor might say, “You can’t afford not to get this kind of protection.”

How many people are covered under one renters insurance policy?

We hear you, you have roommates to consider as well. It’s cool of you, and considerate, to wonder whether your renters insurance policy covers your roommate and their stuff as well? The answer is both yes and no. A single renters insurance policy covers two people, you and your significant other or one of your roommates at no additional cost. However if you live with more than one person, then someone will need to get a second renters insurance policy.

Also, we are going to give you some more neighborly advice about sharing a renters insurance policy; please make sure you trust that person. This might sound obvious; after all you’re living with this person so they must have earned your trust. But we mean really, really make sure you know your roommate or the person you live with. Because when you have to make a claim, any check you receive from your insurance carrier will be made out to all the parties on the policy. This means that even if the check is to cover damages or losses to only your belongings, your roommate will still have to co-sign the check. So choose your policy buddy carefully!

In the event that it’s your roommate that causes damage to your belongings, it’s important to know that these losses will not be covered if you are both on one policy. We can’t stress this point enough; be 100% certain that the person you decide to add to your renters insurance policy is someone you know well and can trust completely.

The big finish

In closing, we want to share one last piece of advice, to #BeSafeSouthie. Protect yourself whether walking home from the local watering hole late at night, driving to work in the morning, or cooking a meal for a group of friends in your cool new apartment. Accidents happen, and if they happen to you, your friends at Lighthouse Insurance want you to have the protection you need. If we’ve left you with more questions than answers, feel free to call us at 617-464-3777. Or, if you have a strong desire to see the faces of the people who wrote this insightful, and admit it, cool blog post, you can typically find us between the hours of 4:30 – 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday at our neighborhood hangout STATS. Where yes, everyone knows our name.

5 Reasons Why Renters Insurance Is Important

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!