Do I need renters insurance for my Melbourne apartment?

It's definitely a good idea to carry renters insurance! Although you don't have to worry about a mortgage or maintenance, you are responsible for your personal belongings. And, if you have kids or a spouse, your personal belongings quickly add up into the tens of thousands of dollars.

A common misconception is that the landlord or property management's insurance will cover any loss you may incur. While it may cover your Melbourne apartment itself, their policies will NOT cover your personal belongings or liability. Whether a hurricane sweeps through Melbourne or you are a victim of a burglary, a renters insurance policy can help protect you.

Here are some things to look for when shopping for a renters insurance policy:

  • You should look for a policy that provides protection for your personal property against theft, fire, lightning, windstorm, riots, and vandalism. Be mindful during hurricane season. Many insurance companies won't issue a policy even if you had already started the process if a hurricane/tropical disturbance is 200 miles off the coast of Florida.

  • As a renter, you can also be held liable for someone's injuries or for damage to another person's property if an incident occurs within your rented residence. Perhaps someone trips over an area rug, your neighbor falls over your little dog, or your friend burns themselves on a hot stovetop --  you are responsible. Renters insurance also provides liability protection for injured guests, giving you peace of mind when you have visitors over.

  • Take a quick inventory of all your belongings to get an idea of what type of coverage you need. Many of the insurance companies have forms to help you figure this out. If you have a 3 bedroom apartment, chances are a $10,000 policy just won't cut it with the amount of stuff you own. Take into account clothing, electronics, furniture, computers, DVDs, eyeglasses, makeup – it all adds up quickly if you had a total loss!

  • If a catastrophe strikes, some renters insurance policies provide coverage for living expenses if you have to live somewhere else for awhile. There are also scheduled addendums you can add on for high-value items such as jewelry, electronics and more.

  • Renters insurance can be very affordable. Depending on where you live, and other factors, such as your history of claims, year-long policy premiums can be as low as 75 cents a day.

  • Insurance companies provide fast, free quotes online or over the phone. Shop around to get the best rate possible, but don't over shop as each quote you get may hit your credit report. When entering your information, be consistent with the coverage you want, so you'll get accurate comparisons. Be prepared to answer questions about the type of apartment you live, the construction materials used, distance to a fire hydrant or fire station, any installed safety devices as well as the names and social security numbers for all tenants.

  • Keep in mind too that some insurance companies may offer a discount on a renters policy if you have your auto insurance with them.
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