Don’t be caught unprepared: renter’s insurance provides more than just peace of mind

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Renter’s insurance is inexpensive yet essential.

Last month, three local families lost everything when their multi-family home on Hudson Street caught fire. The family in the lower level, fortunately, had renter’s insurance. The two families living in the upper level did not.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, rented households are burglarized at rates 50 percent higher than residents who own property. Surprisingly, almost half of America’s renters have renter’s insurance to protect themselves against theft and other risks – a potentially costly oversight.

According to the recent MetLife Auto & Home “Insurance Literacy” survey, conducted by noted pollster Zogby International, fully 47 percent of renters who responded indicated they do not carry renters. One reason for the lack of coverage is that many renters mistakenly believe they are protected under their landlords’ policies. However, landlord’s insurance only protects the actual property – not the valuables inside or the renter’s personal assets in the case of liability claim. Still others have chosen to “opt out” of renter’s insurance because they don’t believe their possessions are valuable enough to merit insurance. However, that’s probably not the case.

Landlord’s insurance only protects the actual property – not the valuables inside or the renter’s personal assets.

“Just take a moment to think about how expensive it would be to replace all or your clothing or an apartment full of furniture.” says Diane DiTullio Agostino at Baystate Financial. “Believe it or not, the average person has about $20,000 in possessions. Without an insurance policy, a renter could be left with a hefty bill to replace just the basics.”

“Just take a moment to think about how expensive it would be to replace all or your clothing or an apartment full of furniture.” –Diane DiTullio Agostino

Another popular misconception – cited as the number one reason in the Insurance Literacy survey – is that renters insurance is costly. “The truth is, for a couple of hundred dollars a year or less, a renter can purchase a policy that provides up to $75,000 in personal property coverage, as well as personal liability protection for their activities.” says DiTullio Agostino. “ For only pennies a day, this protection is well worth it in the long run.”

Baystate Financial offers these suggestions to help renters select an insurance policy for the best value:

  • Ask whether the renters coverage pays actual cash value or replacement cost. With actual cash value, your coverage will pay only for what your property was worth at the time it was damaged or stolen, due to depreciation. Replacement cost coverage will replace the item at current prices, less your deductible.
  • Take advantage of a discount for multiple policies, such as renter’s insurance, car insurance, or life insurance.
  • Add extra protection for unique items with special value. For expensive items such as jewelry, furs, fine arts, sterling silver flatware, antiques and other collectibles, renters should add an endorsement, which provides additional protection above the monetary limits of a traditional policy.
  • Keep track of possessions with a personal property inventory and keep a copy in a safe place outside the apartment. By having a list of valuables written down or photographed, it is easier and more efficient to place a claim.

About our Expert:

Diane DiTullio Agostino of Baystate Financial is educated about various insurance policies and assist clients in choosing plans that suit them. Diane can be reached at 617-585 -4546 or [email protected].

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