The number one question renters must ask themselves: what are the chances your apartment will have a break-in? Flood? Explode? Chances aren’t likely, but when you’re looking into rental insurance, you’re betting that something terrible will happen to your home.
When you move into an apartment for rent, (found on PadMapper, naturally) every insurance broker in the country will try to tell you that you are absolutely, positively, a moron if you don’t have rental insurance. They use taglines like “Even renters are owners,” and “Own piece of mind with renters insurance.” But what does it really protect you from?
Many of the top insurers focus on selling Personal Property Protection, which covers the loss or damage of personal belongings like televisions, furniture, computers, clothing and jewelry. You might use this insurance if you weren’t paying attention to our crime map overlay and some joker broke into your apartment and swiped your MacBook Pro, or if you accidentally flushed your prized watch down the toilet. Most insurance companies will cover the belongings at replacement value, and lend protection to belongings outside of the home as well. That means, if someone breaks into your car and rips off your Ke$ha CD, it’s totally covered.
Insurance companies currently estimate the personal property value for a two-bedroom apartment is roughly $30,000. For most young adults entering their first college apartment, you might not need rental insurance because you just don’t have that much to lose. When I was in college, you could round up everything I owned at the time and it might total $2,000. And that’s including my iPod.
Since this is a well-known fact for the majority of renters out there, rental insurance agents try to sweeten the deal by including the following lesser-used coverage:
• Guest Medical Protection: This covers the cost of medical expenses like an ambulance ride if a visitor is injured inside the house for rent
• Liability Protection: Offers legal representation against judgments for incidences covered by the rental policy
• Reimbursed Living Expenses: Provides the cost for rental housing in the event that your property is deemed unlivable due to an environmental or structural disaster
• Discounted Multi-Line Coverage (Renters + Auto): Includes savings of up to 25% depending on what kind of property you’re currently renting
In the end, rental insurance is a financial lifesaver when you need it. Personally, I currently have rental insurance to protect against the somewhat likelihood of my fiancée losing her engagement ring. I live in an average Seattle house for rent, and rental insurance costs about $170 per year, which is a little more than $14 per month. I personally don’t really want to pay that much money for “peace of mind,” but making this bet isn’t a waste of money.