Why you need to get renter's insurance right now
A week ago today, the front yard and corner of my apartment unit was caught on fire. It was an accident caused by the landscapers who were trimming our palm trees. Somehow one of their chainsaws threw a spark and set a huge pile of dry palm tree leaves on fire, blocking both exits from my apartment.
I was able to escape with minor injuries. I burned the palm of my hands jumping over a fence to escape. A few seconds after I realized I had made it to safety, it suddenly dawned on me that ALL of my belongings remained inside. This meant that my entire wardrobe, cell phone, laptops, books, bedroom furniture, etc. was on the verge of disappearing right before my eyes. I cringed as I watched the front yard go up in flames and remembered that I never followed through on that renter's insurance quote I requested a few months back.Thankfully the firefighters were able to get there in time before any real damage was done to the interior of the apartment. The only damage we were left with was the stench on all of our belongings caused by the smoke.
IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED: DO NOT PUT OFF PURCHASING RENTERS INSURANCE
The reason I kept putting off purchasing renters insurance was because I didn't really think I owned anything of much value. My bedroom furniture was purchased from Ikea, I don't really own expensive clothing and my laptop is about 5 years old. BUT when you think about having to purchase EVERYTHING you own all over again, these items start to add up. So even though you may think you don't own anything valuable, you never know when disaster might strike.
Now onto some renters Insurance info I learned during my research these past few days:
HOW MUCH DOES RENTAL INSURANCE COST?
The day following this incident I immediately sat down to research my options and signed up for a renters insurance policy with Progressive. I currently have a Progressive auto insurance policy and it made my life easier to bundle my renter's insurance along with it. Renters Insurance typically costs anywhere from $15 – $20 a month. My monthly payment came out to $14 for $15,000 of personal property coverage and a $250 deductible! I don't know why I put this off for so long, the insurance and peace of mind it offers is well worth this amount.
These are a few items renters insurance covers in case you find yourself in a similar situation:
WHAT TYPE OF DISASTERS DOES RENTERS INSURANCE COVER?
Renters Insurance typically covers any damage to personal property caused by:
WHAT DOES RENTERS INSURANCE POLICY COVER?
PROPERTY DAMAGE CAUSED BY NATURAL DISASTERS
Our landlord's home insurance will be covering the repairs to the structure of the building but any damage that was done to our personal property is completely out of the question. This is where renters insurance comes in. If we would've had a policy it would have covered any items we needed to replace due to smoke & water damage. In our case, it was only a mattress and rug that were ruined from water damage. Of course, the compensation would depend on how much coverage was purchased and what the deductible is.
TEMPORARY LIVING EXPENSES
This was a big one for me. We weren't able to stay in our apartment for a few days after this incident due to the smoke and water damage. Our landlord took good care of us and paid for our hotel expenses for the week. We've probably spent around $700 just in hotel fees these past few days. If it weren't for my landlord reimbursing us for this, we would have had to pay this out of pocket. If I would have had the policy I recently purchased through Progressive, I would have been eligible for up to $3,000 in housing expenses reimbursements!
MEDICAL EXPENSES FOR INJURED GUESTS
Renters insurance will also help cover any necessary medical expenses if a person is injured in or around your place. Say someone (that doesn't live in your apartment) trips and falls while they are at your place, the insurance can help with the cost of x-rays or an ambulance.
PERSONAL PROPERTY STOLEN IN A BURGLARY
Renters insurance will help cover the costs of items that were stolen from your apartment in the event of a burglary. It's a good idea to make a list of your personal property and their value so that you will be able to accurately claim any stolen belongings to your insurance company.
THEFT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY (NOT OCCURRING ON YOUR PROPERTY)
This one really surprised me! Some renters insurance policies will even cover your personal items that get stolen outside of your apartment unit. This means if something gets stolen out of your car or say your laptop gets stolen at a coffee shop, you can file a claim and your insurance policy may be able to help recover the cost of those items.
WHAT'S EXCLUDED FROM RENTER'S INSURANCE:
FLOOD AND EARTHQUAKES
Renter's insurance does not cover the damage that is caused by a flood or an earthquake. You would have to do some research and purchase a separate policy to cover these items.
In any case, if you are renting make sure to look into this and do your due diligence in picking out a policy that is suitable for your situation. I regret not having renters insurance before this incident happened but I am also very grateful that I only lost minor items. It definitely could have been a lot worse.
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