Recently, UCLA caused a bit of a local stir when incoming students were taken off guard by an email sent in mass. Students staying in university apartments would automatically be placed in a renter’s insurance program unless they opted out by a cut off date. This surprised many students and confused others who were left feeling uncertain about the program or the implications. It left some with questions: why are we being signed up for renter’s insurance? Can I afford this? Do I even need it?
Though this is the first time the university decided to use school policy to get students signed up, UCLA has long advocated and encouraged renter’s insurance plans for off campus students. School officials did this for no other reason than they simply felt it was a good idea. Renter’s insurance is a good idea for all renters, young and old, student and professional alike. Though, by far, it’s a service that most renters don’t take advantage of. If you’re currently renting an apartment—or you’ve in the renting period on your rent to own contract—here’s what you need to know.
Most Renters Don’t Have it
Almost all homeowners in the US have some form of home insurance. Often times it’s required by law. Programs might include protection from fire, theft, or flood damage. Many programs are less specialized, but the numbers don’t lie. Over 95% of homeowners have it, which is a good thing. Tragedy can strike which is always difficult, but – in the event of the unexpected – most homeowners will at least have the cushion of insurance to help them rebuild or replace their possessions.
On the other side of the coin, only 30% of renters are insured. There are many reasons for this, but most of them involve a lack of information or misconceptions about renter’s insurance. Some believe they’re covered under their landlord’s insurance, others think it’s an unnecessary, costly expense, while more still aren’t even aware it exists. Unfortunately, for the high 70% of renters out there, if misfortune strikes, they stand to lose everything with no backup plan or support.
Money is one of the major factors renters identify for not pursuing insurance. Many people tend to believe that their belongings aren’t worth insuring because they aren’t too expensive or that the costs of insurance will be too high. The truth is that your things, which might not be that fancy on their own, add up when they all need to be replaced. If your apartment burned down, where would you be without all of your clothes, your computer, or the things you rely on everyday that you don’t necessarily think about? Re-buying your entire wardrobe isn’t something most people could easily do.
The good news is that most renter’s insurance programs are absolutely affordable. Average premiums are between 15 and 30 dollars per month. For the cost of a few movie tickets or a meal out you could have a little peace of mind.
Renter’s insurance tends to be much more flexible than homeowner’s insurance programs. Packages commonly include protection for a wide range of issues from fire to theft and damage and protection is often not limited to items within your home. If belongings like your car or bicycle are covered and your bike is stolen or your car is broken into when they’re off the premises you wouldn’t have to take the hit depending on your plan. Many programs will also lower your premiums if you install safety features like fire alarms, fire extinguishers, or burglar alarms
It Provides You Legal Protection
In addition to covering you as a result of loss or damage, renter’s insurance also provides an important safety net and legal protection. If someone injured themselves in your home and decided to press charges, renter’s insurance could provide you with an important legal safety net. In the event of any inadvertent damage that you might cause to the unit, it can also keep your landlord for holding you financially responsible. With the amount of protection renter’s insurance provides and the low costs, the only question any renter should ask is not whether or not to get it, but who to purchase it from.
Where can you find renter’s insurance rates? Well, why not start right here.