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Most Americans Don’t Bother with Renter’s Insurance

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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A new survey from revealed that six out of 10 U.S. adults who rent don’t have renter’s insurance.

This includes both those who rent apartments and those who rent single-family homes.

In both cases, these tenants are simply letting their possessions ride in the event of a burglary or another covered event.

Ironically, renter’s insurance is one of the cheapest policies money can buy, yet is often overlooked.

Why Don’t People Buy Renter’s Insurance?

You’re probably wondering why most Americans forego renter’s insurance. Well, there are a number of reasons, and price wasn’t the most common answer.

The most common reason was that renters felt their apartment complex or rental home was adequately protected without insurance.

Indeed, 57% of respondents felt their security was enough to protect them in the event of an insurable event.

Too bad security doesn’t protect your belongings against fire, tornado, water damage, and other insurable events.

The next biggest excuse for not buying renter’s insurance was price, cited by roughly 52% of those surveyed.

As noted earlier, price shouldn’t hinder renters from buying coverage, as the average policy only costs $185 annually, per data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Meanwhile, 48% of respondents just assumed that their landlord’s insurance policy would cover them.

Unfortunately, a landlord policy only covers the structure, including walls, floors, cabinets, and so on.

It doesn’t protect your personal belongings, nor does it cover you for personal liability if someone happens to get hurt in your apartment or home.

Finally, 38% felt they just didn’t own enough to see the value of a renter’s insurance policy. But in reality, most renters (and homeowners) underestimate what they actually own.

Believe it or not, that big screen TV, computer, iPhone, iPad, couch, California King bed, expensive sheets, closet full of designer clothing, and jewelry all add up.

And again, your liability is very important as well if something goes wrong.

What You Can Do

It’s pretty simple really – buy a renter’s insurance policy if you don’t already have one.

The easiest way to do it is by calling your existing car insurance provider and asking about a renter’s policy.

Most sell all types of insurance, even if through an agency (like Geico Home Insurance).

In any case, you could actually receive a discount for bundling home and auto, which would lower your overall premium.

So that $185 in average costs could drop below $150, or about $10 a month to protect your belongings and protect you from liability. Not too shabby, right?

But always take the time to shop around to ensure you get the best price on the right coverage. It may not be from your auto insurance provider, even if it’s more convenient.

Read more: Is renter’s insurance required?

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