Renter’s Insurance: What is it? Why do I need it?
One of the most adult things someone can do is move out on their own. Leaving the nest can be so stressful. Moving is the least fun thing to do in the world. That first time you move out of your parent’s house is exciting and nerve-wracking. You finally are free from their rules, but with moving out comes a crap ton of responsibilities and stress. You now have to think about rent and utilities. You have to cook and clean for yourself. I swear 90% of being an adult is doing dishes and vacuuming. Hopefully, you know how to clean up after yourself. If not, read our blog on how often you should be cleaning things in your apartment.
As I said, living on your own has its challenges, but you shouldn’t be making it any harder than it has to be. One minor but important thing you can do when you move out is to get yourself renter’s insurance. Most apartment complexes require it, but just in case they don’t, get it anyway.
What is Renter’s Insurance?
It’s like car insurance but for your possessions. People who own homes have homeowners insurance, and it’s the same with car insurance. Your landlord’s insurance usually only covers the actual building from damages which leaves everything you own vulnerable. So unless you have the money to buy everything you own all over again, if your building burns down, then I highly recommend taking out a policy.
What does my policy cover?
Most renter’s insurance policies cover your personal property from fire, theft, water damage, and power surges. However, most policies don’t cover damage from floods, mudslides, and earthquakes, so if you leave somewhere that suffers from those things, you might need to take out an additional policy to cover those damages. The other thing to be mindful of is that most policies set a price limit on the types of personal properties covered. For example, your policy will only cover $2000 in electronics. Which, for most people, would be plenty, but if you have a custom PC that costs more than that, then you might want to consider getting additional coverage on it. Adding things like a PC or whatever expensive item you may own isn’t as pricey as it might sound.
Loss of use
Hypothetical, you’re chilling in your apartment with not a single care in the world when suddenly a tree is knocked over, and it crushes your window and wall. What do you do now? Loss of use is adult jargon. That means your insurance policy will cover your hotel and food if your apartment is unlivable while getting fixed from whatever accident happens.
Liability coverage is basically for when you mess up. It happens, but sometimes we, as humans, can be absent-minded and do some pretty negligible stuff. If you left the water running in your bathroom sink and it flooded not only your apartment but also flooded your neighbors’ apartment, then you are liable for the damage. I’ve had water coming out of the light fixture in my bathroom before, and my upstairs neighbor was found responsible for the damage, but their insurance covered the cost of fixing my ceiling.
Now that you know what makes up the parts of renter’s insurance, how much coverage do you need? Most apartment buildings require a minimum of $100k in liability coverage, but if your landlord doesn’t have any guidelines, it is probably best to ask the insurance agent. They know what they are doing.
When filling out the paperwork for renter’s insurance, one of the first things they ask is how much everything you own is worth. It might seem like an easy question to answer, but if you sit down and think about it, your stuff is worth more than you think. If you aren’t sure, you can guesstimate $30k-$50k for apartments and $100k for houses.
Tip: Take pictures of your most expensive items and most important belongings so that you have a record just in case something terrible happens.
To sum it up
Adulting is simultaneously the greatest and worst thing ever. You have more freedom than ever before, but you now have more responsibilities. It doesn’t help that you are also probably being broke. Good thing we are still young and can eat ramen without having to worry about our blood pressure.
Whether it’s for a job or school, moving out is a big step without a lot of unknowns. It is also really expensive, so the idea of paying for something extra like renter’s insurance doesn’t sound like fun, but the nice thing about renter’s insurance is that it is the cheapest adult you will ever buy. Car insurance costs way too much money, especially for us guys. Rent and utilities might as well rob me in a dark alley with the way it takes my money. With all the good stuff it does for you, renter’s insurance usually costs somewhere between $10-$15 a month. The most I’ve spent is $115 for the year. So if you are moving out or moving to a new place, look into getting some insurance. Best case, you won’t ever need to use it. Worst case, you will be thankful that you got it.