Most renters are not required to buy renters insurance, but it can provide peace of mind and guard against accidents. Experts weigh in on when you need renters insurance, what it protects, and how to find the right coverage for your home or apartment.
Families understand the importance of protecting their assets and possessions. For a growing number of homeowners and renters, protection plans provide peace of mind that their possessions can be repaired or replaced if the unexpected happens.
For about 37 million Americans, renting a house or apartment is more affordable, and sometimes even preferable, to home ownership. But there are some disadvantages to renting. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, renters are 50 percent more likely than homeowners to be robbed. Likewise, the National Fire Protection Association reports that 270 apartment fires break out each day in the United States. While homeowners are required to have insurance against these types of problems, most renters are not. In fact, a survey by Apartments.com found that 67 percent of respondents did not have renters insurance.
"Renters insurance is one of those things you hope you never need, but accidents do happen -- and it pays to make sure you and your property are fully protected," says Kathy McDonald, president of Property Solutions at Assurant Specialty Property. "In addition to protecting your possessions, renters insurance can protect you against personal liability, too. If you accidentally start a kitchen fire or flood in the bathroom and it damages your apartment or a neighbor's apartment, you're the one that's liable, not your landlord."
How to Get the Right Coverage
Your insurance agent can give you specifics based on your state and the kind of policy you want. Ask questions such as:
-What hazards are included? Do I need a separate policy for specific circumstances?
-Are my roommates covered by the policy?
-What optional coverage is available (such as flood or earthquake coverage)?
-How much liability coverage is provided?
-Will I receive additional living expenses if I have to live elsewhere while my apartment is being repaired?
-Do I need additional coverage for damages or injuries caused by my pet?
-Does my policy cover items stolen or damaged while not on the property (i.e. stolen from your car)?
Learn more and get a quote at rentersecurity.com.
Protecting Your Possessions
Extended service contracts can help you protect your valuable possessions from mechanical failure, breakage, and other perils after the manufacturer's warranty expires.
"If you've invested your hard-earned money into an expensive electronic device, you want to know you can get it repaired quickly," says Joe Erdeman, president of Assurant Solutions' extended service protection business. "Extended service contracts provide important coverage for the items you just can't live without."
An extended service contract provides for normal wear and tear as well as accidental damage, and provides additional coverage that your renters insurance won't cover. You get 24/7 customer and technical support, coverage for 100 percent of the parts and labor cost, and assistance from licensed and insured trade professionals.
When looking for an extended service contract, ask yourself these questions.
-What are the terms and conditions of the coverage?
-Does it provide toll-free telephone and/or online access to technical support?
-Who pays for shipping and handling if a product must be returned?
-Does the contract include a "no lemon" policy?
-Does it provide in-home service?
-Does the contract include accidental damage coverage?
To learn more about protecting your possessions, visit assurantsolutions.com/extendedprotection.