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Do I need renter’s insurance?

By Scottie McNelly

Renter’s insurance is an inexpensive way to protect you for personal liability and protect your personal property for damages from fire, smoke, wind/hurricane, vandalism, theft, water damage and a few other items. Sometimes you can even get a discount on your automobile insurance if you have them together. Renter’s insurance does not provide coverage for the structure of the home or apartment, the owner is responsible for that. In fact, more and more owners and property managers are requiring tenants to have renters insurance by protecting you both from the possibility of lawsuit. Renter’s insurance can also cover Additional Living Expenses that occur when your home is not suitable for living after a claim.

Here are some items to consider when determining if you are a candidate for Renter’s insurance:

  • Does my landlord require Renter’s insurance?
  • If there were a fire or tornado, can I afford to replace my items? Like furniture, clothes, linens, electronics.
  • Is there someone I can stay with if I am displaced from my home due to a disaster, or would I have to bare the expense of food and lodging?
  • Do I have assets to protect in the event of a lawsuit?

Here are some things to consider about the coverage’s you may need:

  • How much coverage do I need to replace all of my personal items, or all of those in my family? Take an inventory and keep it in a safe place.
  • Do I want Replacement Coverage or Actual Cash Value (ACV)? Replacement cost will replace your items with no depreciation, whereas and Actual Cash Value (ACV) policy will depreciate your items based on age, wear and tear.
  • How much of a deductible do is right for me? Higher deductibles keep your premium down and a lower deductible will make your premium higher.

Discounts to lower your premium are given for:

  • Having your auto insurance with the same carrier or agent.
  • Excellent credit history.
  • Alarms that are monitored.
  • Having a fire extinguisher or sprinkler system.
  • Having a dead bolt lock.
  • Living in a gated community.
  • Having a claims free history.

Additional charges may apply if you have a claims history, bad/not so good credit, certain breed of dogs, and/or if you are in a high crime, higher risk area.

In the event of claim, notify your agent or carrier as soon as possible. Always keep an inventory of personal property and keep it at an offsite location. Having receipts/photos/serial numbers of high items is very helpful in a claims situation. Make a police report if a crime has been committed. And takes steps to prevent claims, such as keeping your doors locked, utilizing your burglar alarm, check the batteries in your smoke detectors, and learn fire safety/prevention tips. Keep walkways, entry ways and other area’s clear of debris to avoid someone tripping and getting hurt.

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