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You’re a renter and these things happen: You were cooking a nice dinner and a grease fire got out of control. The washing machine started going berserk and flooded the entire first floor. Your foot slipped off the brake as you were pulling into the garage, making your kitchen a drive-thru. You come how and find your front door kicked in and all your valuables gone. You figure your landlord’s homeowners insurance has you covered, as well. It covers the building, but your personal possessions are your responsibility.
A premium for renter’s insurance is probably less than you think. With most policies, your possessions are covered against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and water damage (not including floods). Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance also covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.
Renters insurance covers your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your apartment because of a fire or other covered peril. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses.
Make an inventory of all your assets, especially valuables like jewelry, collections, art, etc. Video documentation is best along with a written list. Be sure to keep all warranties, receipts and any appraisals. This will help the claims process immensely. Next, make a note of any safety improvements, such as carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, etc. They can make a difference in your premium.
Ask your insurance professional which coverage is best for you. Don’t get caught short when you are already dealing with enough as it is. Ask about “actual cash value” versus “replacement cost.” Find out if you need a “floater” for any high-value items you have. Don’t say “I wish I would have.” Instead, say “I’m glad I did.”