Have you ever calculated the total value of your belongings? From your furniture to your underwear, the items in your house can add up fast. Now imagine if you were to lose everything. Could you afford to replace it all?
Why do I need tenants insurance?
If you're renting, tenants-or renters-insurance should be a no brainer. Not only will it help you get back on your feet after a fire or theft, for example, but it has numerous other benefits too. It can protect you if:
- someone were to get injured on your property (liability)
- something was damaged due to your negligence
- an event in your apartment (such as a fire) affected other units or even the entire complex
- you were to be displaced and had to stay in a hotel while your apartment was being repaired
- something happened to one your belongings outside of your property (example: your bike or laptop was stolen on campus)
Tenants insurance can cost as low as $200 a year, with most companies allowing monthly installment payments. It's a small fee to pay in comparison to the cost of replacing all of your belongings, or even staying in a hotel for a few days.
How much insurance do I need?
You want to have enough coverage to get yourself back to where you are today. Most insurance companies won't insure tenants for less than $30,000, and a quick inventory of your belongings will reveal why. Think about the cost of your bedroom alone-your mattress, bed frame, clothing and shoes, artwork, etc.-it could easily, and likely does, amount to thousands of dollars.
Tenants insurance is typically offered in a package that includes contents (or personal belongings) coverage and liability insurance. The former will replace items lost or damaged, while the latter will protect you if you were to be sued due to a mishap on your property.
What type of insurance do I need?
The next thing you need to decide is if you want all risks (also known as all perils) insurance, which protects you against a wide range of risks, or specified perils, which protects you against common risks such as fire and vandalism at your discretion.
You'll also need to decide if any valuable items that you have-such as jewelry, musical equipment, or artwork-need a separate policy to provide additional protection.
I live in a dorm room, do I need insurance?
If you are in college and under 21, you may be covered under your parents' home insurance if they have added "student away from home" coverage to their policy. However, if you have a number of expensive items, you may want to get your own policy to ensure your belongings are protected.
I live with roommates, do we each need our own policy?
This situation is a little more individualized and will likely warrant a phone call to your insurance provider. Some companies are fine with having multiple roommates on one policy, while others may advise you to have your own. It is important to note that a shared policy might mean that if something were to happen to someone or something on your property as a result of your roommate's negligence, you may also be held liable.
I live with my spouse, do we both need insurance?
Contents insurance protects the possessions owned within one residence, so it is unlikely you'll need two policies, especially if you share everything anyway. However, you will want to make sure both names are on the policy to ensure all of your belongings are protected.
What do I need to do to apply for tenants insurance?
- Take inventory of all of your belongings to determine the total replacement cost. It's also a good idea to take pictures. Consider hosting them on a cloud-based server so you can access them in the event something were to happen to your computer. Photographs will make replacing items easier in the event of a claim-especially if things are stolen
- Although you are insuring your belongings, you may still be asked some standard home insurance questions such as the year the property was built and what the building is made of. You can get this information from your landlord or property owner
- Know your discounts-some insurance companies offer discounts to tenants who are part of certain groups, are non-smokers, or who wish to bundle their tenants insurance with another product, such as auto insurance
- Compare rates. Like with any type of insurance, tenants insurance varies from company to company, so compare rates to find the best value for your dollar.