You may already know something about renters insurance, which covers you for a whole range of potential losses, including theft, fire, and personal liability, such as an accident or dog bite. And you may actually be required to have that coverage anyways; around 44% of landlords say renters insurance is a must before you move in.
Still, knowing that renters insurance is a good idea isn't the same as doing something about it. You might think you have things covered, or write off getting it because you think your landlord's insurance will cover you. But the truth is, your landlord's policy protects them, not you and your stuff.
Carrying your own renters insurance policy will give you the peace of mind that you need, and it's not even a major expense. Many policies start as low as $5 per month, and according to Toggle, a new digital insurance startup from Farmers Insurance, the average renters insurance policy is around $10 per month.
To show you why having renters insurance is so crucial, we're going to try out a scared-straight tactic your mom might use. Here are three IRL examples of when renters insurance saved the day.
Fire was just the spark for major losses
"Years ago, in the middle of the night in my West Village apartment in New York City, I woke up hearing people screaming "FIRE!"
I immediately hopped out of bed and looked out the window, only to see fire trucks lining my entire block. I grabbed my handbag, ran out the door and down five flights of stairs. The second I walked out the door, glass started falling on my head - it was the fire department cracking open a window up above me. That's when I realized that the fire was actually in the apartment above mine, which was not a good sign.
When they finally allowed us back in the building the next morning, my entire apartment had been destroyed... not by fire, but from the fire department's water they used to put out the fire in the apartment above mine. The first thing I saw that was destroyed was my laptop, which was floating in a pond of water on my bed. Everything in my place was completely destroyed by smoke or the water from the hoses. I submitted all the receipts and photos I'd had to my renters insurance policy provider, and within a couple of months, I had the money to replace everything I'd lost.
For years my parents had hounded me to make sure I had every possible insurance policy available and after losing almost everything I had, I'm so thankful I did." - Lori Cheek, Founder & CEO, Cheekd
Your stuff might be covered outside, too
"When I was living downtown and renting an apartment, I was required to have renters insurance. I am so glad I did, because when my car got robbed, it totally saved me.
Although there was enclosed parking, [they] had stolen a laptop, camping gear, and some electronics in my glove compartment box and trunk. I lost over $2,000 in valuables. My car insurance did not want to payout for my stolen property. However, my renters insurance did - all of it was covered.
I was so happy we had renters insurance and highly recommend it even if it is not required. I only paid $30 a month and made great use of it when the incident occurred. By that time, I had already paid $360 in renters insurance and was able to get over $2,000 in damages covered. I'd say it was worth it!" - Alex Tran, review blogger at Schimiggy.com and digital marketing strategist
Property robbed, peace of mind restored
"I was living in a fifth floor walk-up apartment in Manhattan, and it never occured to me that I would ever be robbed - the stairs were old and spindly, and it seemed impossible for anyone to get all the way up to my place to steal anything. My landlord didn't ask for renters insurance, but my dad had hammered it in my head so many times that I just got it anyways.
I was SO LUCKY to have that policy! Some really daring burglars somehow got up on the roof of my apartment, and proceeded to use a garden hose to shimmy down the side of the building about three feet to break a window to get into my apartment. They trashed the place like rock stars; even drank almost a gallon of my orange juice and ate a bunch of my food! They got away with two valuable items: a gold ring (mine) and a really nice watch (my boyfriend's). We recouped the money for our losses, although I didn't put in for the orange juice or snacks. (I probably could have!) - Trudi Roth, Writer & Owner, It's the TruStory
The good news is, renters insurance probably costs less than you think — especially when you can customize your policy to get exactly the coverage you want. If you're not sure where to start, we recommend looking into Toggle Renters Insurance. They offer flexible coverage customized to you, plans starting at $5/month and our favorite perk: Credit Lift℠ by RentTrack to start getting the credit you deserve.
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