Renting has its benefits. You don't have to pay property tax, you aren't stuck in one place as long, and you can leave the maintenance to someone else. One thing you'll still be on the hook for, however, is insuring your stuff. When things go wrong, renters insurance can keep you protected from extra costs and liability in the case of natural disasters, theft, or other accidents.
You've probably heard that you need renters insurance, though you may not be sure it's all it's cracked up to be. When you're on a tight budget, how can you know that renters insurance is really worth it?
Here are some things to keep in mind when considering if renters insurance is right for you:
Your landlord's insurance won't cut it!
True, your landlord has their own insurance, but in many worst-case scenarios that won't help you much. The insurance your landlord is required to have will probably only cover damage to the structure you're renting, not the stuff (or people) inside of it! Take the time to figure out what all is covered by their policy and make sure to fill in the gaps when you shop around yourself.
If your place catches fire, or gets robbed, chances are your landlord's insurance will only cover the damage to the structure and property. Any of your stuff that is lost to fire or theft will have to be replaced by you out of pocket. Renters insurance makes it so that your things are protected.
In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, the FBI recorded an estimated 1.5 million burglaries. Each burgled resident lost an average of $2,400 in stolen property. This means it's important to do an inventory of what you own. Though you may not think you have a ton of valuable things, it all adds up — and you won't want to be left having to replace it out of pocket. Tools like Allstate's "What's Your Stuff Worth?" calculator can be helpful if you want to get a rough estimate of the value of your things.
Cover yourself and your guests
If a guest at your place gets injured and you're found legally responsible, you could be on the hook for their medical bills. While most plans don't give you free reign to start serving raw chicken at your dinner parties, they will cover a whole range of other accidents. From accidental falls to cuts, renters insurance can help you be a responsible– and protected — host.
Be prepared for the unexpected
What would you do if you had to evacuate your apartment due to a storm? What if the home you were renting burned down? Most rental insurance policies will cover the cost of emergency housing in the case of a natural disaster or other event which caused damage to the property. This will save you money and stress when it comes to having a place to stay while things are being sorted out with your rental. Some, like Toggle's Pet Parent coverage, even include temporary living expenses for your pet, too.
It's not as much as you'd think
The average cost of a rental insurance premium was just $12 a month last year, according to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. And for that amount you'll receive $30,000 of property coverage and $100,000 of liability coverage. While this number can range a lot depending on the state you live in and the level of coverage you desire, you can typically be covered for less than $200 a year. This number can even go down some if you purchase your coverage from the same company where you have car insurance.
If you're just looking for basic coverage, you can actually get renters insurance for as low as $5 a month for up to $100,000 in liability coverage from Toggle Renters Insurance.
You can customize your coverage
When it comes to renters insurance, policies are definitely not one-size-fits-all. Depending on what you own, what your lifestyle is like, and where you live, you might prefer to have more or less coverage. For example, if you have a pet, you could add on coverage for damage they might cause to your rental. Or if you have a side hustle like selling items on Etsy or freelance photography, you could add additional coverage for your business equipment (which might not be covered in a traditional renters' policy.) Toggle offers customizable coverage, including Pet Parent and Side Hustle, so your renters' insurance policy can be as unique as you are.
As with any insurance, shop around and know what amount – and type – of coverage is right for you. Are you okay with having to pay a little more out of pocket when something goes wrong (AKA a higher deductible) if it means your monthly payment, or premium, is lower? Do you want Actual Value Coverage (AVC), where your insurance will pay for the present value of the item, or Replacement Value Coverage (RVC) where they will pay for a similar replacement? RVC will cost a bit more, but might be worth it depending on your situation. Knowing what you're looking for from your coverage will help you make the right decision when it comes to getting insured.
No one gets excited over insurance, but you know what's also not exciting? Getting hit with a huge cost all of a sudden because something went wrong and you weren't covered. Making sure you have the correct rental insurance for your needs means you'll not only have a peace of mind knowing you and your things are protected, but that you may stand to save big. And with companies like Toggle offering policies for as little as $5 a month, can you really afford not to be covered?