While moving into your apartment, you're probably not thinking about the remote possibility of your possessions being lost or destroyed in a fire or natural disaster. While not often, apartments do burn down and get flooded in hurricanes, so lets cover this again to be clear: If your apartment building is destroyed, the only thing the apartment’s insurance will cover is the apartment building being rebuilt. Nothing that you, the renter, personally own (TV, computer, clothes, furniture, etc.) will be covered under the apartment’s insurance policy. That’s the bad news.
Here is the good news: Apartment renters insurance that will cover your possessions is easily obtained and very affordable. A standard apartment rental insurance policy will typically protect you against fire, theft, vandalism and water damage. This will cover common household items. Check with your insurance agent if you have high end electronics, art, jewelry and so forth as you may need to purchase extra coverage for these types of non-typical items. Most apartment rental policies do not cover floods that result from natural disasters, so if you are on the first floor you may want to look into this as well.
Some apartment rental policies will reimburse you for the cost to purchase everything brand new, and some will only reimburse the actual cost of the item. This makes a big difference when you think about how quickly new computers become dinosaurs (and therefore not worth very much), but the cost of actually replacing you computer will likely be much higher. Before signing any apartment rental policy, make sure your agent goes through exactly what is covered, how much protection you will get and what happens if you need to file a claim.
The cost of an apartment rental policy will be determined primarily by how much coverage you need, the type of coverage you purchase, the deductable, and the type of apartment you live in (is it brick, wood, concrete block, etc.). Check with your parents’ homeowners’ insurance (if applicable) or your car insurance provider to see if they offer any discounts for bundling policies together. It is a good idea to get multiple quotes to make sure you are getting the best deal. As always the cheapest price does not mean the best policy, the value of having a local agent available to personally assist you during that terrible time you actually need the policy is hard to put a price on.
If you do opt for a policy, make sure to document all of your major possessions (list vendors, model numbers and serial numbers). An easy and quick way to do this is to take pictures or video of everything in the apartment. Just make sure you store the media (photos or video) somewhere other than your apartment. If your apartment burns down there is a pretty good chance the media will be destroyed as well. This type of information is invaluable to help you get reimbursed fully in the event of disaster.
Nobody likes to think about a disaster hitting their new apartment. But for just a few dollars a month you can protect yourself against this potential tragedy. There is plenty to know about apartment renter’s insurance, so before you make any major decisions, you should talk to a professional.
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