RISMEDIA, July 27, 2010—Renters are 50% more likely to experience theft than those who own homes, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Despite these risks, most apartment dwellers are still living without renters insurance.
According to a recent Apartments.com survey of nearly 1,400 apartment hunters around the country, 67% said they do not have renters insurance. The top reason survey respondents gave for not being covered is that they cannot afford it, followed closely by many who claim they did not know this type of insurance existed. Other respondents believe they do not need renters insurance because their possessions are not valuable enough to make the investment worthwhile and nothing bad has ever happened to them.
Nearly a quarter of apartment seekers surveyed are under the assumption that renters insurance is too rich for their blood, yet the average premium is under $200 a year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The majority of Apartments.com survey respondents who choose to protect themselves with renters insurance said they pay on average $12.50 a month or less and one out of 10 renters said they have had to use their insurance at one time or another.
The two most common components of renters insurance include protection against theft and destruction to personal belongings, including televisions and computers, and liability, which defends renters from judgments that go against them in the event that someone is injured on their property. While a large percentage of apartment dwellers are not carrying renters insurance, 33% of survey respondents said they are covered and list the most compelling reasons for purchasing renters insurance as protection against:
-Theft – 79%
-Fire/Lightening – 70.7%
-Water Damage – 52.3%
-Weather (e.g. Hail, Windstorm) – 40.5%
-Smoke Damage – 40.6%
Management companies and landlords also understand the value of renters insurance. While most would likely prefer residents to carry renters insurance, nearly 20% of survey respondents said it is mandatory at their apartment community.
Renters may not want to think about what could go wrong at their apartment including the possible threat of a fire or burglary, yet apartment dwellers are encouraged to protect themselves from these potential perils by following these tips from Apartments.com.
Talk to Your Auto Insurance Provider: A good place to start looking for coverage is with your current auto insurance provider as your rate will often improve if you have multiple policies with one carrier. However, many of these same providers offer separate policies for renters insurance if you do not own a car. Decide how much coverage you want. Typically, you can purchase a policy that covers $15,000 in personal belongings and several hundred thousand in liability for a couple hundred dollars a year.
Picking Your Policy: There are two types of policies offered: Actual Cash Value (ACV) or replacement cost. ACV coverage will only pay you for what your belongings were worth at the time they were stolen or damaged. You will pay higher premiums with replacement cost coverage, but if something happens, you will be paid the amount that it will actually cost to replace your items.
Keep Detailed Records: Take inventory of all the items in your apartment. Insurers state that most people underestimate the value of their possessions, and therefore, do not have enough personal property coverage. Keep detailed records of each item including its value, serial numbers and receipts of major purchases. Also, take photographs of each room, making sure all items of value are clearly visible. Store your documentation in a safe place such as a fireproof box, digital file with online access or in a bank safety deposit box to protect against a fire or natural disaster.
For more information, visit www.apartments.com.