What Is Renters Insurance & Do I Need It?

By: Dan The Roommate Man

Most renters use the homeowner's form of insurance known as the HO4 policy. This policy will typically cover furniture, clothing, and most personal property in the event of fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, or water damage from plumbing. In most cases, the insurance company will take your word for what you think your property is worth. However, if you're wanting to insure your jewelry, art pieces or other collected items, you might need to pay extra for what's called a "Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement." For this type of coverage, the insurance company will send out an appraiser. An appraiser will also be sent out to your property in the event that your insured items have been damaged.

For a little extra, most insurance companies will cover your things on a replacement-cost basis. For example, if your old microwave is only worth fifty dollars, but it would cost one hundred and fifty to replace it, the company will insure that microwave for a hundred and fifty dollars.

That way, in the event of an actual disaster, or if your property is damaged and your insurance company is going to cover it, you won't be reimbursed for a ten year old refrigerator or a five year old couch, but for what it will cost to replace them.

The HO4 policy also pays any necessary additional living expenses you are forced to make due to a natural disaster or in case your apartment asks you to move out for a short period of time while they remodel, fumigate, etc. If your apartment building is hit by a tornado, it's going to take more than a couple of days to rebuild your complex. Eating every meal out and living in a motel can add up quickly. By investing in this policy, you won't have to worry about these expenses.

Renter's insurance is typically priced around $200/yr for $30K worth of coverage and $100K worth of liability. However, the cost for renter's insurance may vary depending on several factors. For example, you will pay a lower premium if you're next door to the fire department than if you're two miles away. If you are in a high crime area, your premium will be considerably more than someone living in a picture book neighborhood. In older apartments without up-to-date wiring, the premium will be a bit higher. For complete details, contact your local insurance company.

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