As a renter, incidents and events such as fire, theft, or even natural disasters such as earthquakes could put your possessions at risk of loss or damage. By carrying renters insurance, you can effectively and affordably protect your belongings if they are damaged in a covered incident. According to USAA, the average renter owns personal property worth at least $20,000. Therefore, without renters insurance, you may find it challenging to replace your personal property in the event of loss or damage.
Here is how to get the best renters insurance policy for your needs.
Understand the scope of coverage, then create a digital trace of your possessions
Your landlord’s policy only covers the physical structure of your rented property, including the foundation, walls, and roof. This means your landlord’s policy excludes your personal property, and you’ll need to protect it through renters insurance. To avoid under or over insurance, you should start by creating a detailed inventory of your belongings. While at it, collect all the receipts, particularly for high ticket items, and take photos or scan them to support any claim you may file. You should also take video footage of all the items to verify their condition. Ensure you store this information in a safe place that’s easily accessible, such as in your email account.
Do some research on renters insurance to know what it covers
Your renters policy covers your personal property if it is damaged in a covered event. However, your renters policy won’t cover damage resulting from flooding or earthquakes like homeowners insurance. If you live in a flood-prone area, you’ll need a separate policy. Renters insurance also covers accidental damage you cause at a different place and your belongings if they’re lost, damaged, or stolen while you’re traveling. Your policy can also cover living expenses if you need to stay elsewhere while your apartment is being repaired after a covered event. Finally, your renters policy comes with liability coverage that kicks in if someone is injured or their property is damaged while under your care, and you’re held liable.
Know how much renters insurance you need
To determine the amount of renters insurance to buy, you should add up the cost of your belongings, then decide if you want to insure them based on actual cash value or replacement cost. Actual cash value coverages cover the cost of items based on their condition and age, while replacement cost coverages cover the cost of replacing the items. If you have costly items like jewelry or musical items, you should consider adding an endorsement to your policy to increase your coverage limit of those specific items.
Request and compare quotes from different providers
Renters insurance rates vary by insurer. Therefore, be sure to shop around before making your final decision. Ideally, it would be best to work with an independent insurance agent who’ll help you compare prices from various insurers.
Start the application process
Once you’ve settled on a particular policy, you should provide all the necessary information. If you need specific endorsements, speak to the insurer’s personnel. Moreover, carefully maintain all the documents for items you need extra coverage.
Customize your renters insurance policy
Once you’re done with the application process, you should assess the policy documents to ensure all the adjustments, coverage extensions, and endorsements you requested are included. You should also inquire about available discounts and take advantage of them.