Why You Need Renter's Insurance

Getting renter's insurance may be the furthest thing from your mind when renting a home or apartment, but it's essential if you want to sleep soundly at night.

Your landlord has insurance on the building, so you may think you don't need renter's insurance. But the landlord's policy doesn't cover your personal property, and if you have anything of value, then getting insurance is a smart idea.

You could lose your belongings in a fire, burglary or flood. You also need insurance if a guest slipped in your kitchen and was injured.

Without renter's insurance, your personal property wouldn't be replaced and you'd be liable for anyone who is injured inside your apartment.

If you don't think you have enough valuable personal property to protect with insurance and make the cost worthwhile, make a list of what you own. You'll be surprised at what would be costly to replace: Clothing, furniture, a TV, computer, iPod, sports equipment or jewelry.

When shopping for renter's insurance, also called apartment insurance, be sure you're covered for these "named perils," as they're called in the insurance world: Fire or lightning, windstorm, smoke, vandalism or malicious mischief, theft, and accidental discharge of water, among other common loss types.

Your coverage should also include liability protection, which covers if someone is injured on your property. You may also want to add coverage for legal defense in these matters, along with coverage for medical expenses of anyone who doesn't live with you but is injured on your property.

Getting a quote from an insurance agent should be pretty easy. Going with the same agent who you have auto insurance with might save you some money for having multiple policies with them.

It also helps to take photos and keep a list of your belongings so they can be easily replaced after a disaster. Just be sure to store them someplace else.

Aaron Crowe has lived in at least five rental properties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reach him at www.AaronCrowe.net

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