If you are a tenant and planning to rent an apartment or single family home, it is a good idea to buy renters insurance, an HO-4 policy according to insurance industry vocabulary. This idea may not have crossed your mind or you would think it is a waste of money, but it's not. The reason to purchase a renters insurance, just like landlord policy, is to protect your personal property or belongings should incidents happen. If that incident resulted in the loss of your property, the renters policy would cover you up.
In addition to covering your property or belongings in your possession, an insurance policy would offer some liability protection as well. For example, if someone slips and falls inside or outside your property, your policy will cover the expenses or cost of treatment for that injured person. If you accidentally flooded the property, the policy would pay for water damage and repairs. If there is a fire within the unit that caused extensive damage to the structure and items, your policy will cover as specified on the documents. Renters policy also pays for basic expenses such as food and shelter when your home is unusable for a time.
There are many ways to reduce your renters policy premium. First and foremost, by taking high deductible, you will be able to keep the premium low. You can also compare quotes from various companies or insurers to bring down the rate. Companies or insurers like State Farm and AllState sell renters insurance policies to consumers directly without involving a local agent. Buying a policy through local agent is not a bad idea either. A local agent works directly with a single company or multiple firms to ensure better rate or quote for your possessions. The agent will also make sure that your possessions are covered when it comes to claim. Most often than not, the agent takes the responsibility of filing the claim on your behalf for speedy processing. State Farm and AllState also provide discounts to eligible customers like active duty personnel and their families. These discounts come in the form of additional coverage, low rate or quote, free perks among many other things.
There are also many other discounts available through companies or insurers like State Farm and AllState. For instance, if you have deadbolts on your doors, fire hydrant nearby, fire extinguisher inside the house, smoke alarm and other alert systems, you may be able to get a small discount on your premium through State Farm or AllState policies. For a few sophisticated systems in your possession like security cameras and hybrid sprinkler system, you can get a discount of up to 20 percent from State Farm, AllState or other insurers.
Another way to lower your renters insurance expenses, cost or quote is to choose the same company for your other needs, such as protection for your vehicles, life and health. Some companies will offer you a multi-policy discounts of as much as 15%, even more. If you wish to receive a quote to determine the best renters insurance policy for your needs and budget, check with your state's insurance department. There are many other ways to shop around for quote and discounts as well.
Remember that most renter insurance policies just like landlord policies are not disaster coverage policies, in the sense, they may not cover natural disasters like fire or volcano in regions those disasters usually occur. For example, if you are in California or Oklahoma, you may be denied coverage for earthquake or tornado in the respective state by default. The good news however is that federal government offers certain disaster coverage like fire through their own programs. Look up your home location and see if you are in one of the high risk areas for that particular disaster. If the answer is yes, make sure to purchase coverage. Even if you are not in the high risk areas, you may want to get an insurance policy for things like flood, melting snow or some other unpredictable events. You may be able to save something instead of losing everything.
One other important thing. As much as the insurance policy insures many of your belongings, it is smarter to use it for big-ticket items. If someone stole a bicycle from your collection of personal property or a single window glass is broken due to vandalism, it better to eat the expense instead of filing a claim. Why? Because companies or insurers will consider you a high-risk customer even if the claim is small. A better move is to cover minor repairs and damages out of pocket and only claim big losses through the insurance policy - like roof damage in the property from a falling tree or structural issues. Simply put, your insurance policy will come handy when you lose something that is of more valuable than you can right away afford.
To figure out how much personal property or belongings you want to be covered, take a inventory of everything you own. Find out how much it would cost to replace them. Make sure to list the market value of the items and the date they were purchased. And don't forget to include rate of expensive clothes and accessories like Gucci watch and Tuxedo suits.
Renters policy is sometimes offered by landlord as a way to attract tenants to their properties. Note that this type of policy may not cover the expenses, cost or rate of your personal property or belongings but items related to the personal property of the landlord such as items that are now in your possessions that are otherwise the assets of the landlord. The policy may cover the cost and expenses of repairing the home interior if it's destroyed or damaged as a result of space use or normal wear and tear. It may also cover the content of the home for a fixed dollar amount in the event of theft, disaster or vandalism. Most renters policy whether or not it is purchased by the tenant will come with protection from liability claim such as injuries to third parties, even when you are away from the location.