Renters insurance should be the first thing on your checklist for your new apartment. Though, roughly 40% of renters have renters insurance, this coverage helps keep your life together in a crisis so you don’t lose everything—and it can cost less per month than a takeout order. Ask yourself these four important questions to decide if you need renters insurance.
1. Does your property manager’s policy protect you?
Your property manager’s insurance should cover things like structural damage caused by intermittent weather, but it won’t help if you’re robbed, your belongings are damaged, or you incur legal expenses. If you flood your bathroom and cause water damage to your neighbor’s apartment below you, you’ll be responsible for any medical, legal, and repair bills without renters insurance. Your property manager’s insurance will rarely cover you extensively, so make sure to check what is covered before exploring options.
2. Does your property manager require renters insurance?
Before signing an apartment contract, ask if the property manager requires you to have renters insurance. It’s important to know if this is required before you sign a lease. Your property manager may ask to be an interested party on your policy so they are notified when you cancel the policy and understand your insurance company’s claims process. This helps them guarantee that you don’t terminate your renters insurance before you move out.
3. Are you away from home often?
While you should always check what each policy covers, most policies protect your belongings whether you’re at home, in the car, or traveling. This is an added incentive for regular travelers to purchase renters insurance. If any of your valuables are stolen while you’re out of town or away on business, they can be covered by your policy.
4. Do you have expensive possessions?
Determine how much your belongings are worth to evaluate renters insurance policies. How much you own affects how much coverage you need and narrows down your policy choices. If your furniture is new and expensive, it’s worth spending a little more each month to ensure it’s protected. If you have inexpensive and fewer possessions, you can pay a lower premium. Try to find a policy with replacement cost coverage (RCC), not actual cash value (ACV). RCC replaces your possessions at the current market rate while ACV subtracts depreciation from the RCC.
No matter what you own, renters insurance is worth the investment. You shouldn’t need to spend more than about fifteen dollars a month to protect your belongings and be covered for liabilities and loss of use. Do your research before you decide on a policy—there are many great renters insurance options—and always read the fine print.