Whether you're getting a first apartment after college or downsizing after the kids leave your home, for many adults, renting is the right option. Like with any home, your belongings are vulnerable and purchasing renter's insurance is the best way to protect your stuff and financial future if you are ever the victim of a burglary.
Ask your insurance provider these five questions before purchasing renter's insurance to ensure you get the right policy and coverage for you.
1. What Is the Cost and the Deductible?
Determining the cost of your monthly premium and deductible is probably at the top of your list. Your agent can explain what factors determine the cost of your insurance and what you can do to keep these costs down. For example, the size of your apartment building and the number of units can impact your monthly premiums.
The apartment's location will also determine how much you pay for insurance. If you live in a high-crime area or have a bottom floor apartment in a flood zone, you could pay more money for insurance. The apartment building's security, or lack of security, will also affect how much you pay.
Like homeowner's insurance, your credit score, age, and past insurance claims are factors in your insurance costs. Your insurance agent will help you find the best way to save money on your premiums, including raising your deductible.
Your renter's insurance deductible is how much you will pay out of pocket if you file a claim and receive money for your lost, stolen, or damaged items. Typically, the higher your deductible, the less you will pay for your monthly insurance premiums. However, be aware that if your deductible is too high, you might have trouble paying this cost upfront, so keep this in mind when making a final decision.
2. Are My Pet's Covered?
Your apartment complex allows pets and you are probably wondering if your pets are covered by your renter's insurance policy. If your pet is injured in your apartment, such as from a fall or chasing your neighbor's cat, you will have to pay the vet bills on your own. However, your insurance agent can help you determine if your policy will cover any damages or bills that occur if your dog bites your neighbor.
Like homeowner's insurance, you can purchase renter's insurance that provides liability protection for your pets, if they bite or attack a neighbor. Ask your agent how pet liability coverage will impact your monthly premiums.
3. Should My Roommate Purchase Their Own Policy?
After working with your agent to determine what is covered under your policy, what compensation you will receive if your stuff is damaged or stolen, and your deductible, you are ready to sign on the dotted line. Your roommate also wants to find a policy that works for them, but because you are purchasing insurance, they might assume they belongings are covered as well.
Unfortunately, just because you split the bills and share peanut butter, it doesn't mean that your roommate's stuff is covered by your renter's insurance policy. When you purchase a policy, it covers your personal belongings, not items that belong to your roommate. Your roommate will need to purchase their own policy, if they want the protection that comes from renter's insurance.
4. Do I Need Renter's Insurance If My Landlord Has Their Own Insurance?
Your landlord or property owner has their own insurance policy that covers the entire structure and protects them if there is damage or a tenant or guest is injured in a shared area, such as in the lobby or on the grounds. The landlord's insurance will not cover your personal belongings, injuries caused by your negligence that occur in your apartment, or any damage you cause to your apartment.
If there is an accident inside your apartment or someone is injured inside your apartment, don't assume your landlord's coverage will pay for any repairs or damages from a lawsuit.
5. Can I Get Coverage for Belongings Stolen Outside My Apartment?
Finally, if you are traveling and you lose or damage your cell phone, or your luggage is stolen, your renter's insurance may cover the cost of replacing your belongings. Ask your insurance provider about adding coverage for off-premises loss of damage of your items. This will provide you with additional peace of mind, which is helpful if you travel often or spend a lot of time outside your apartment.
Depending on your coverage, you may need to purchase a separate policy or additional coverage to ensure your belongings are protected inside and outside your home.
From inquiring about the cost of your policy and deductible to determining if your pets and roommate are covered under your policy, you need to ask your agent several questions before purchasing renter's insurance. If you have any further questions, contact LA Insurance.