Click here to ediWhile owning a home is the American dream for many, renting has an advantage. Renting relieves you of a dwelling's maintenance (think plumbing, electric, HVAC, roofing, and yardwork). Renting also does not tie you to a single location with a mortgage for 30 years. Still, most people do purchase expensive items that need protection from unforeseen circumstances - renters insurance is a way to do that.
Homeownership in the United States is at its lowest point in 51 years, more Americans are renting and need the protection of renters insurance, yet 60% of renters don't have policies, versus only 5% of homeowners who don't have homeowners insurance..
According to stats from the United States Census Bureau, homeownership peaked in 2004 at 69.2%, but only hit 62.9% in the second quarter of this year. This makes homeownership the lowest since 1965, the year the census bureau started tracking homeownership rates.
Why should you consider renters insurance?
The owner of the property you rent usually has property insurance, but this will not help you if disaster strikes. A property owner's insurance policy only covers the structure, not the contents of the home or building. A renters insurance policy covers the things that you own when a covered disaster strikes, such as water damage from a flood or leak, fire, smoke, lightning, windstorms, vandalism or theft.
In addition, renters insurance can cover more than your personal property. Below are seven additional coverages:
Living expenses after a disaster
If a disaster strikes and your rental unit is deemed uninhabitable during repair, a renters insurance policy includes "additional living expenses" coverage for temporary living arrangements. The policy coverage can reimburse you for the extra expenses, like the cost of a hotel or renting another apartment.
Medical expenditures for injured guests
If a guest is injured at your home, renters insurance can pay the medical bills up to the policy limits you sign up for. A typical renters insurance policy includes $1,000 to $5,000 in medical coverage, according to I.I.I. (Insurance Information Institute).
Damages your dependent causes to others
Renters insurance provides liability insurance to cover property damage or injuries you or a family members cause others. For example, if your toddler breaks your neighbor's antique vase, your renters insurance policy could pay to have it replaced.
Legal expenses in the case of litigation
If someone is injured on your rental property or is accidentally hurt by you or a family member and brings a lawsuit against you, the liability portion of your renters insurance would pay your legal costs and court awards, up to the insurance policy limits. As with homeowners insurance, you can choose your amount of liability insurance when you purchase a renters policy. Liability limits usually start at $100,000.
Most renters policies provide coverage on the off chance your dog bites someone, both at your home or off your property. But, do check with the agent providing the policy, as occasionally some underwriters exclude or can limit coverage for dogs.
Things you have borrowed or rented
Your renters policy can also cover items "in your possession." This can mean property you own or that you rented or borrowed.
Personal property away from home
Your personal items listed on the policy are covered away from home as well. For example, if a thief steals your laptop out of your car or steals your suitcase from a hotel room, it can be covered under your policy.
Off-premises coverage is limited to a defined percentage of your total coverage for personal items.
What to look for when shopping for renters insurance coverage
Consider how much renter's insurance coverage you will need before you purchase a policy. The question at hand is – how much can you afford to pay out of pocket to replace all of your items if they were lost to a natural disaster, stolen or if you were sued for liability. Then choose liability limits high enough to protect any savings and property you could lose if you were sued or natural disaster strikes. Then shop quotes from a number of insurers, be sure to include the insurance company that provides your car insurance. Most of the time, insurers offer multi-policy discounts of up to 20%.
Better yet, look for an insurance broker that writes for several insurance companies and allow the broker to shop renters insurance in Lake Charles Louisiana for you.
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