According to research conducted in 2006 by the Insurance Information Institute’s Insurance Research Council, “96 percent of homeowners had homeowners insurance while 43 percent of renters had renters insurance.” Although this is the time of year when you may be thinking about what gifts to get your loved ones, if you rent or are considering renting a home, it’s time to give yourself the gift of renters insurance. It’s one of the most important pieces of credit counseling advice we give to consumers here at ACCC.
Part of my job here is to monitor phone calls for quality assurance. Oftentimes I hear clients say they rent their home, but do not have renters insurance.
Renters insurance protects your personal property from certain types of loss. This is important for preventing debt. It also provides you with liability protection in the event you injure others or damage others’ property. The structure of the building where you rent is covered by the landlord’s insurance policy, but not your personal property. It also does not protect you in the event a guest in your home is injured and sues you for liability.
1) Protects your personal property from weather-related incidents:
2) Protects personal property damaged or destroyed by:
- Fire, smoke and/or water damage
- Building collapse due to weather.
3) Helps with temporary housing assistance should you become displaced during the event of a loss.
4) Protects you against personal injury or property damage liabilities inflicted on others in your home.
*Renters insurance is also affordable. After researching 3 major insurance companies, it was discovered that:
- GEICO offers renters insurance for less than $300/year
- Liberty Mutual offers renters insurance for as low as $18/month
- State Farm states their renters insurance policy costs less than $1 per day, and you can purchase identity theft protection for $25/year
*These are the prices at the time of publication. Always double-check to see if rates have changed.
To start the process, contact insurance agents and shop around for quotes. Ask about discounts you may qualify for, and find out about coverage limits and premiums.
Whether you are considering renters insurance or already have it, consider taking inventory of your items to get a better estimate on the amount of coverage you need. You can also search online for free online home inventory software, or contact an insurance agent for an inventory sheet. You can also document your items in writing or by storing receipts.
When determining coverage, consider and compare the replacement cost versus the actual cash value for your items. The actual cash value equals the replacement cost minus depreciation. For example, the $1000 sofa purchased 10 years ago may not be worth much today, and your policy may pay you the sofa’s actual cash value in the event of a loss. It may cost more to purchase a policy that will pay you the replacement cost of the sofa, but I would prefer a brand new $1000 sofa to no sofa at all. Some items more likely prone to theft, such as jewelry, might have coverage limits, so check with the insurance agent to find out if additional coverage is necessary. As always, contact your insurance agent for more information and to answer any additional questions regarding renters insurance.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.