If you think your landlord has you covered, think again.
Whether you live in a rented property or have a child renting an apartment at college, renters insurance is a must. It protects you from losses caused by theft, natural disasters or a lawsuit. Yet most tenants don’t buy it.
Data from a 2014 Insurance Information Institute poll revealed that only 37 percent of renters have insurance, while 95 percent of homeowners do. What’s stopping people from purchasing renters insurance? Here’s 5 of the most common myths…..
Myth #1- My landlord’s insurance covers my stuff
No. No. And a big fat NO. A landlord’s insurance policy doesn’t cover a renter’s personal possessions or liability. It only protects the landlord against structural damage to the property or a lawsuit as the owner of the building. So do NOT count on your landlord to protect your belongings. It is NOT their responsibility to do so, but yours.
Myth #2- I don’t need insurance because I don’t think my stuff is that valuable
Think about if you are burglarized. Or a fire destroys your apartment. How much will it cost you to replace everything that was stolen? Imagine taking your residence and turning it upside down. 99% of what falls out is yours. Clothing, furniture, kitchen contents, electronics are just the tip of the iceberg. Could you replace these items out of your own pocket? Most can’t. And even if you just go for the basics of clothing, groceries and personal care items, it adds up quick.
Compare that to the average cost of renters insurance in Ohio, about $169 a year in 2018, according to the latest information from Insurance Information Institute (2nd chart down). For less than $15 a month, Ohio renters insurance is worth it.
Myth #3- My apartment complex is densely populated. It’s unlikely I’ll be robbed.
It’s also unlikely a meteor will fall to earth, but it could happen. And that’s what insurance is for- the “coulds” that can wipe you out.
Renters often have a false sense of security, believing they are less likely to be burglarized, but the opposite is true. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, households that were renting the residence were burglarized at a higher rate than households that owned the residence. In 2011, the rate of completed burglary was 18.3 per 1,000 households
that owned the property and 32.7 per 1,000 households that rented.
Myth #4- Renters insurance only covers theft
Renters insurance provides far more than just theft protection:
- Liability. If you are sued because someone is injured in your apartment or your pet bites someone, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover the costs. Renters insurance provides liability protection that would cover your legal costs and pay the costs if you are found liable. There are limits, so call us for details.
- Protection from damage from other perils besides theft. Renters insurance protects personal possessions against damage caused by perils like fire, lightning, smoke, vandalism, electrical surges, windstorms, hail, water damage from utilities or appliances, and more.
- Temporary housing. Most renters policies have additional living expenses (ALE) coverage to pay for temporary housing if you can’t live in your rental due to a disaster. Policies differ in terms of limits and the amount of time coverage lasts. How long would you be able to stay with a family member or friend? Or want to? As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”
Myth #5- My college student is fully covered by my insurance
If you have a child in college, note that many Ohio homeowners insurance policies limit the amount of insurance for a child not living at home to a SMALL percentage of the total coverage for personal possessions (often only 10%!). Also, some policies provide this coverage only for college-owned housing and will not extend to off-campus properties. Your student may just need his or her own renters insurance to properly cover all their possessions at their campus residence, as well as provide liability protection for bodily injury or property damage to others. When in doubt, ask your agent!