Graduation season is upon us. Lots of young people are getting ready to strike out on their own. For many of them, that means getting that first apartment. As they look for furniture and other necessities, there’s one big thing they need to consider—renters insurance.
A survey conducted by Cambridge Reports, Inc. for the Insurance Information Institute found that fewer than three out of every 10 renters purchase renters insurance. That’s probably because of two big myths about renters insurance: one is that it’s too expensive and the other is that it’s not needed.
“Not having renters insurance is a pretty big gamble, considering that without it, you face the cost of replacing your personal belongings after an event such as fire or theft,” says State Farm spokesman Kip Diggs. “What’s more, you could face the prospect of defending yourself in a lawsuit because of some accident for which you might be held legally responsible, whether it happened where you live or elsewhere. Renters Insurance also provides liability coverage.”
In many cases, for about a couple hundred dollars a year you can protect your valuables, like your furniture and clothes, from loss by fire, theft, wind and water damage or other covered hazards. But many renters still don’t believe they need such insurance. Recent college graduates may find that their parents’ HO/Condo policy no longer covers their belongings.
Many renters mistakenly believe their landlord’s insurance will cover their own belongings. In fact, it would be extremely rare for a landlord’s policy to extend to tenants’ property.
To determine how much coverage you’ll need:
- Take a complete inventory of your personal items. An insurance agent can help with this by estimating the total value of your property.
- You’ll also need to decide whether to opt for depreciated or limited replacement cost coverage. Depreciated coverage is the cost to repair or replace your belonging minus depreciation. Let’s say you bought a quality sofa with an expected useful life of 10 years. If it’s now five years old and would cost about $1,000 to replace, you could expect to receive about $500 (less deductible) if your sofa was destroyed by fire. You would pay slightly more for limited replacement cost coverage, but you could expect to receive $1,000 for your sofa minus your deductible.
Remember, you may not own the building in which you live, but you still need to have insurance to protect your property in the case of fire, theft or other hazards.
Kip Diggs, State Farm Insurance, Public Affairs