5 Things You Probably Don't Know About Renters Insurance

Two months ago my fiance' and I entered our home to find a torrential downpour occurring in our bedroom. It was absolutely awful. We aren't sure how long it had been pouring but one of our dressers and all of its contents were soaked.

  • Clothes? Soaked. Mattress ? Done.
  • Passports? Ruined.
  • Floor... currently warping.

I was immediately thankful that I decided not to cancel my renters insurance policy. I have renters insurance through my bank,USAA, and I've had the policy since we signed our lease back in 2013. Renters insurance wasn't mandatory (for some apartment complexes it is) but this is New York. It's better to be safe than sorry, because in New York ish can hit the fan real quick.

My claims experience was spectacular. That is what USAA does, spectacular ish). I filed my claim online the following day and uploaded pictures of the damage as per their request. A rep from USAA contacted me to discuss the cost of the damage. A week later the money was deposited directly into my checking account. They reimbursed me for everything including the cost of laundry, a replacement passport and the expedited processing fee.

If you live in an apartment you are playing roulette by not having renters insurance. Here are a few things you might not know about renter's insurance:

  1. It Covers Displacement
    Renters insurance will reimburse you for the hotel bills and restaurant receipts should an event take place that deems your home uninhabitable. While I tried to make the claim that my apartment was uninhabitable days following the tsunami in our bedroom, we still had use of our living room. Sleeping on an air mattress next to our couch was inconvenient, but not uninhabitable. I could see how this policy would be helpful if a building fire occurred or another large issue that affected the entire apartment unit.

  2. It Covers Theft of Items Inside & Outside of Your Home
    Almost like personal property insurance, renters insurance will replace items that are stolen inside and outside of your home such as bikes, luggage, laptops, etc. AND it will cover the item (-s) regardless of where the theft transpired. That means if your backpack was stolen in Hong Kong you can file a renter's insurance claim to have it and the contents replaced. IF someone breaks into your apartment and steals your laptop and any other items of notable value, you're covered.

  3. It's Inexpensive
    Renters insurance is pretty inexpensive. You can shop and compare policy rates according to your address at PolicyGenius. My renters insurance policy costs $240 a year for $8,500 worth of coverage. My recent claim was $1,200. Do the math. #iwon

  4. It Offers Liability Protection
    If someone is visiting your apartment and has an accident of some sort that requires medical attention and they decide to sue you, renter's insurance will cover the bill up to a certain amount. But seriously… if you are hanging with people who are going to sue you, you might want to get new friends and a policy (for all of the other reasons listed in this article).

  5. Renters Insurance Covers You, Not the Unit
    I learned this the hard way. When we moved into our apartment my now fiance was just my boyfriend and since I was paying for the policy I didn't add his name to it. When the leak happened my insurance company would only cover items that belonged to me. The agent didn't give me a hassle about shared property, but they wouldn't replace his passport. I added him to the policy immediately. If you have a policy it's good to call and double check who is covered by the policy and for items.

If you are uninsured and feel like a nincompoop, don't.

Only 37% of renters have renters insurance. Most don't realize its worth until it's too late.

I completely understand if you don't have the extra room in your budget to spare, but if you have wiggle room, it's a worthwhile investment. Let's put it this way, if you have a subscription box subscription, you might want to consider canceling that and replacing it with renter's insurance.

Hope this helps!
Tonya

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