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Renters Insurance Protects You in the Event of a Fire

February 2, 2011

We often work with insurance companies after structure fires.  They use our fire reports and investigator’s reports to help in processing their clients’ coverage and needs.  Usually the insurance company represents the owner of the structure.  Just about as often, we deal with renters, who do not own the structure.  Most owners have insurance because a bank will not offer a loan on a structure that doesn’t have insurance.  Renters don’t have to get insurance to rent a house or apartment and consequently we see a lot of renters with no insurance coverage at all.  A study by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) estimate that only a third of renters have an insurance policy to cover their belongings.  That leaves two-thirds of the renters in this nation with no insurance coverage for their belongings.

Apartment Reviews indicates that the number one reason renters don’t have insurance is that they mistakenly believe the property owner’s insurance will take care of them.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  The property owner’s insurance will replace the building.  Everything you moved in is yours to insure and if you didn’t insure it, it won’t be replaced.

Some people don’t believe the have enough personal property to insure.  Take a moment to think about that.  Go through the things you own that you rely on in life.  Clothing, a bed and a computer system are things all of us need to continue functioning for our job and keep a paycheck coming in.  You may also have jewelry, sporting equipment or electronics that may not be essential to function in life, but will take money to replace.  IIABA calculates that the value of your furniture, television, stereo, computer, jewelry, clothing and other items likely add up to more than your car.  Yet we all have car insurance.  Recognizing the need for insurance coverage after a fire has destroyed your belongings is unfortunate timing.

Another misconception is that renters can’t afford insurance.  Renters insurance is not as expensive as homeowners insurance.  Jay Romano writing for the New York Times (2007) indicated that renters insurance could be secured for as little as $250 a year (that’s $21 per month).

We seem to stay pretty busy putting out fires, and a large number of our taxpayers are renters.  It seems prudent for renters to consider renters insurance.  Otherwise everything you own may be gone and you’ll be left to rebuild your life on your own.

References

Apartment Reviews.  (n.d.).  Why you need renters insurance.  Retrieved February 1, 2011 from http://www.apartmentreviews.net/renters-insurance.htm

Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.  (n.d.).  New national survey finds nearly two-thirds of U.S. renters living without renters insurance.  Retrieved February 1, 2011, from http://www.iiaba.net/na/02_News/02_PressRelease/ NA20030819124343?ContentPreference=NA&ActiveState=0&ContentLevel1=NEWS&ContentLevel2=NEWSPRESS&ContentLevel3=&ActiveTab=NA&StartRow=0

Romano, J.  (2007).  Why renters need insurance.  The New York Times.  Retrieved February 1, 2011 from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/realestate/ 07home.html?_r=1

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