Is Renters’ Insurance Really Worth It?

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By Jade Rich

If you are one of the 104.5 million people who live in a rental unit in the United States, it is imperative to be aware of your rights and responsibilities. For example, many people erroneously believe that their landlord’s property insurance covers their personal belongings in the event of a fire or flood, but this is not entirely accurate. Instead, you are required to obtain renters’ insurance if you want to make sure that you will never be put into the awful position of losing everything that you own due to a weather-related incident or the negligence of another renter.

A shocking 66 percent of renters are not currently covered by their own insurance policy, and the primary culprit behind this minimal level of protection seems to be a lack of understanding. For example, many people will refer to the myth that renters’ insurance is expensive as their reason for not buying it. However, industry statistics indicate that the average monthly cost is only $12 per month.

This basic level of renters’ insurance protection typically offers approximately $30,000 in property coverage, and it includes $100,000 in liability coverage. You can also add a larger amount of coverage for a nominal fee, and the vast majority of people who opt for a more extensive renters’ policy do not pay more than $25 monthly.

With that in mind, there are several good reasons to consider a renters’ insurance policy. Here are six compelling reasons to consider:

#1: Your Landlord Has No Legal Obligation to Help Out

If your apartment burns down tomorrow, your landlord has no legal obligation to help you or any other renters with the replacement of damaged or destroyed property. Additionally, they do not need to help you find a temporary place to stay, and they also typically have the legal right to void the rest of your lease term. However, if you have renters’ insurance, you can get assistance with replacing your lost belongings, and you will also have your temporary living expenses covered.

#2: Coverage for Your Mistakes

Anyone can make a mistake that could lead to a flooded apartment or a kitchen fire. To make matters worse, you can be held legally responsible for the damage that you cause to the landlord’s property. In other words, you won’t get a chance to debate hardwood vs. carpet in the living room, and instead you may have to pay to replace whatever flooring the landlord chooses. You could even end up being sued by any other renters who are hurt or lose property due to your negligence.

#3: Protection from Theft

No insurance policy can stop you becoming a victim of theft, but your renters’ policy will enable you to replace your items if someone breaks into your apartment. There are almost 2.2 million burglaries every year in the United States, and the average loss is $2,096. Therefore, even if you have a $500 deductible, you can still dramatically reduce your losses after a break-in if you are protected by renters’ insurance. And as an added bonus, your renters’ policy even covers theft of your personal belongings that takes place outside the home.

#4: Assistance with Disasters

Not all natural disasters are covered by every renters’ policy, but it is common for these policies to protect your belongings during a fire, snowstorm, explosion, lightning strike, electrical surge, smoke, and certain types of water damage.

#5: It Will Help You Avoid Financial Issues

Some people falsely assume that their items are not worth insuring, but this is not the case for almost every renter. After all, if your annual policy costs $150 and your deductible is $500, you would only need to lose $650 worth of stuff for your policy to be worthwhile. Unless the value of all of your belongings is actually less than $650, you need to have renters’ insurance. Also, do not forget that a renters’ policy will help you with liability issues.

#6: Protection from Injury Lawsuits

It’s important to note that if a visitor hurts themselves due to a building or property defect on the rental property, your landlord can be held responsible for their medical bills. Unfortunately, you cannot use your landlord’s property insurance if someone is injured due to an issue that you caused in your apartment. A prime example would be an injury that was caused by your television set falling on someone’s leg. The liability coverage portion of your policy will cover the bills associated with this injury up to your limit, which is usually at least $100,000.

As you can see, signing up for renters’ insurance is a smart move. An increasingly large number of apartment communities are making it mandatory to have one of these policies, but you should not wait for anyone to force you to buy it. Instead, take responsibility for your future by acquiring a renter’s policy as soon as possible. Keep in mind that many companies that offer automobile insurance also have options for renters, and this could even save you money due to a multiple policy discount. With the average renter having at least $20,000 worth of belongings, it makes absolutely no sense in most situations to decide against this affordable insurance option.

Jade Rich is a freelance writer and Social Services Director who currently lives in the Northeast Atlanta area. She has been a frequent renter in the past and gained valuable rental’s insurance know-how during her first tenancy in an apartment.  

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What One Shouldn’t Overlook When Renting an Apartment

85861896_417351848a_zWe all know that finding an apartment can often be overwhelming, not only for the fact that there are seemingly endless options to choose from, but also because you will have to sign a long-term lease that will hold you to this place for an entire year. Because of all this, you should establish what exactly are you looking you for before you begin the search. These hints should help you in your quest to find a new place.

Location

It goes without saying that the location is the first thing to consider when looking for a new place. Whether you want to live in particular neighborhoods or you are searching for an apartment which is close to specific points of interest or, you should determine the general area for your new place. In case you have a particular area in mind, examine, make sure to get a good sense of the overall character of the surrounding areas, getting acquainted with the environment and absorbing the feel of the neighborhood, prior to making your decision. Do some research by, for instance, visiting the area, talking to your friends, reading online discussion boards, or checking out local websites. Once you have narrowed down your search to a specific area, you have to decide where exactly you want to live in that area. Think of particular points of interest you want in your vicinity. Do you want to be within walking distance of, say, work or nightlife, or you need a park in which you can walk your dog? Identifying specific points of interest will further narrow down your searching area.

Rent

The next thing to consider is the rental fee you are willing to pay each month. You have to establish a price range, setting a maximum amount for the rent. Searching within a particular rent range will enable you to look only at viable options. This range should be determined based on the constraints of the lowest maximum if you are planning on sharing the place with others. Now establish the length of your rent, as many landlords will require of you to stay at least 6 months or a year. In case you want or need a month-to-month rental for any reason whatsoever, know that your options are likely to be reduced and expect higher fees, as well.

 

Amenities

The type and size of a rental building can significantly affect the range of amenities available. For this reason alone, you should specify the amenities that are important to you, making sure to distinguish your wants from your needs. First, establish what features must be there for you to even consider renting a place, ruling out all properties that can’t provide for your needs. Now, think of the features you would like to have, but could easily live without. If you successfully separate your wants from your needs, it will be much easier to determine what a desired place absolutely must have. It can be helpful to further sort the required amenities according to their degree of importance.

 

Potential Problems

When you visit the place you are considering, don’t forget to examine the condition of the appliances, plumbing fixtures and cabinetry. In case something is not in good condition, this can give rise to additional expenses. If a tap is leaking, for instance, you’ll pay more for the water bill than you actually have to. Even the smallest issue that you notice can easily lead to a bigger one with the passage of time, so it is better to learn about all potential problems before signing the lease.

 

Author Bio: Lillian Connors is a blogger and home improvement enthusiast ever so keen on doing various DIY projects around her house. She is also an online marketing consultant, closely collaborating with a number of companies from all over the globe.

 

Disclosure: Some of the info for this article was provided by Permanent Plumbing Solutions.  

Five Great Tips for New Landlords

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A landlord’s responsibilities run the gamut of planning, maintenance, safety, and legalities. Most new landlords just don’t realize how much really goes into renting their property. Safety is one of the most important priorities, but a new landlord should also be careful about choosing the right tenant, keeping the property safe and clean, following state laws and regulations, and even creating a solid lease agreement. Before you list your property on Rentalroost.com to find potential tenants, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Safety. Before even thinking of leasing out your property, bring in professionals to make sure it is safe and suitable for a tenant to live there. In particular, hire someone to look for bug infestations, electrical issues, gas leaks, plumbing problems, building code violations, and fire safety issues.
  2. The contract. This is another of the most important steps a new landlord can take. The lease agreement is a great way to specify your rules regarding rent payment, policies on pets, damage, and renter’s insurance. It is also good to outline the eviction process you have in place and any other specific details you have for your property.
  3. Insurance. Landlords must have special landlord insurance on all of their properties to cover the buildings and sometimes even the contents inside if the property is being rented furnished. You may need to check with your state, as most states have differing rules and regulations regarding landlord insurance.
  4. Repairs and renovations. As a new landlord, you must get the property for rent suitable and ready for habitation. This can mean making necessary repairs, changes, renovations, and improvements to the property before even beginning a tenant search. This could also potentially attract a lot more interested potential renters.
  5. Screen tenants correctly. Always be sure to check references (past landlords) and income information, and to run a credit and background check. If they’ve had any past bankruptcies or foreclosures, both should come up under the credit check.  This is one of the most crucial steps for new landlords, and many do not conduct a strenuous tenant screen like they should. Houserie.com can help landlords perform background checks quickly and easily, with minimal paperwork or time wasted! You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your tenant is reliable.