So, you just moved into a nice, upscale condo downtown, and you couldn’t be happier. You paid a little more than you’d budgeted for, but you’ve got a pool, a gym, some pretty cool neighbors, and you’re in the middle of everything. And, your mom is happy because you’ve got security out the ying. The front desk guys are on duty 24/7, the garage is gated, and you need a fob to get into the building and up the elevator. So why on earth would you consider adding renter’s insurance to your already swollen monthly tab. . . ?
It’s not an unreasonable question, but statistics suggest that very few people really understand renter’s insurance, much less carry it. Here are a few reasons why condo dwellers should consider buying a policy, and why it offers cost-effective peace of mind.
Renters Insurance: For Starters
All of the security features mentioned above are very real, and instances of theft in nicer buildings are not all that common. But security breaches can happen, and there’s nothing to suggest that a theft can’t be perpetrated by someone living in your building who already has all of those fancy fobs. Or what if your cell phone or diamond-studded watch gets swiped by the pool? Carrying renter’s insurance would make otherwise painful losses a little easier to swallow.
But wait, there’s more. . .
What Else Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Most folks think of theft when they think of renter’s insurance, but it covers much more. Policies differ, but it’s a good rule of thumb to assume that all of the stuff you keep in your apartment “from the paint in” is covered. If you should lose all of your belongings in a fire, you’d be compensated by your policy. Or, let’s say there’s a fire below you, and your apartment gets filled up with smoke. Damaged items, such as clothing, furniture, and pieces of art would all be covered.
Do You Need It If You Know Who Ruined Your Stuff?
Let’s say your lovely but attention-deficit afflicted neighbor upstairs decides to run a bath, and then gets sidetracked watching A Christmas Story seven times in a row. Your place is flooded, but you and pretty much everyone else in the building knows who did it. Sure, you probably have obvious recourse against her for ruining your stuff, but that doesn’t mean she has the money to pay you. Or, maybe she tells you that she reported the stopped up tub to her landlord, who never got around to fixing it. With renter’s insurance, you get compensated for your belongings right away, and then your insurance company sorts out whether your neighbor or her landlord should be on the hook.
Third Party Liability Coverage
So, let’s pretend for a moment that the Christmas Story ADD tub girl is actually you! Hey, stuff happens. (Plus, you love that movie, and there was eggnog involved. . .) If you’ve got a renter’s policy, the soggy neighbor below you has an immediate source of recourse, and can work directly with your insurance company to get reimbursed. And trust me, that makes for much happier encounters in the elevator every day.
One other thing about liability coverage – it doesn’t just have to be property related, either. If little Fido is feeling threatened, and nips your neighbor’s kid, the liability coverage on your renter’s policy protects you for that too. Injuries caused by dogs don’t even have to result from a bite. A happy pup who exuberantly knocks an older person down, or who is perceived as a threat by someone who runs and turns an ankle, can result in a claim being made against you. (Make sure your policy doesn’t exclude “damage by dogs,” if you have a pooch for a roommate. Some policies do.) Defending a claim or a lawsuit is no fun, but it’s a heck of a lot easier if your insurance company steps in. And, in circumstances like those, your carrier even pays for a lawyer to defend you if you get sued.
Great, but What Does It Cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average renter’s policy in Florida costs all of $210 per year. That works out to a little more than 57 cents per day. Or, put another way, it’s equal to about 3 or 4 days’ rent in many of the condos in downtown West Palm Beach. That, folks, is a very small price to pay for all of the ways that a renter’s insurance policy can save your bacon.