If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC you may be considering purchasing renter’s insurance. If so, here are some facts worth knowing if you're still wondering about buying a renters insurance policy:
1. The landlord's policy will not cover your personal belongings
Contrary to popular belief, policies carried by landlords typically cover structural damage to the building and not your personal property.
"After acquiring a rental housing unit, landlords change their insurance policies from a traditional homeowners policy to a rental policy, and when they do that, it only covers just the structure, not the content or any of the tenant's belongings," James Emory Tungsvik, president of the National Association of Residential Property Managers.
So don't expect to have your sofa replaced if the living room catches fire.
Your renters policy will also cover theft of your belongings, whether they're stolen from your apartment or from anywhere else.
2. Your coverage likely extends beyond your personal possessions
Your renters policy likely will cover your legal costs if someone sues after having an accident at your place, and it will cover a certain amount of their medical bills.
It also will cover costs if you are responsible for damage to other people's property. A common example offered is when you (or your child) throw a baseball that breaks someone's window. Or perhaps you allowed the bathtub to overflow, causing damage in the apartment below.
3. Renters insurance isn't as expensive as you may think
Thinking the cost of coverage outweighs the benefits? Think again. While the price will vary depending on where you live, the various cost averages we've seen range from $12 to $30 a month, much less than you'd spend to replace your belongings.
4. Furry friends may hike up the premium
For all you pet lovers out there, especially those who own "aggressive breeds," don't be surprised if you're quoted a higher premium or denied coverage, depending on the dog. Check out this list from Forbes to see if your dog made the cut.
5. Luxury items may not qualify for standard coverage
Insurance providers often place limits on the replacement cost of luxury items such as jewelry, an art collection and other high-end items you may own. Purchasing an insurance rider to cover them may be in order.
How to evaluate policies
When selecting coverage for your possessions, you'll be choosing from two options: Replacement or cash value. The latter is less expensive because it pays out the depreciated value of the goods based on the date the damage occurred.
Once you determine which form of coverage best suits your needs, here are some other important considerations:
- What are the exclusions, such as damage caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, floods or other natural disasters?
- Do added safety features, including fire extinguishers, alarm systems and deadbolt locks, reduce the premium?
- Are relocation expenses covered while repairs are being made to the unit?
- How does the claims process work?
- Are bundle discounts available to those who carry multiple policies with the company?
Bottom line: If you skip renters insurance to save money, it could backfire and cost you more in the long run.