Every tenant should give consideration to purchasing renter’s insurance

According to a recent article published on Insurance Quotes.com, a new survey reveals that six in 10 Americans who rent homes or apartments do not have renter's insurance. Forty-five percent of those who do not have renter's insurance say that their understanding is that renter's insurance may be too expensive. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of renter's insurance in the U.S. is actually just $187 yearly. Millennials are the most likely of all age groups to say that they do not understand how renter's insurance works.

There are two primary reasons as to why insurance is a good idea for those renting homes or apartments. First, as noted by the California Department of Insurance, while your landlord has insurance on the building, that insurance likely does not insure your personal property. Having all of your personal possessions destroyed in a fire or other insurable event, such as vandalism, plumbing failure or lightning, is "a tragedy that does not have to happen." To protect your personal property, having renter's insurance is imperative.

Second, a standard renter's insurance policy also includes liability coverage and would protect you against any lawsuit for injuries that others sustain while at your dwelling. For example, renter's insurance would afford you liability protection if a guest in your apartment slipped and fell or was bitten by your dog.

According to an article published on SFGate.com, when you insure your belongings with renter's insurance, you need to be able to prove what you owned so you can substantiate the loss. You can do this by creating an inventory of all the items in your rented apartment or home. If possible, document the date you bought items and keep any receipts for large purchases. Having a receipt not only proves that you had a television but that it was "a 60-inch 3D plasma from its manufacturer's higher-end line."

It is useful to make a video, or take a series of photographs, to document everything of value that you own. A digital inventory can be put on a CD or DVD and stored in a safe place. Perhaps better, the digital inventory could be uploaded to the cloud for safekeeping.

Disputing a claim

Renter's insurance, like other insurance, is purchased to protect against loss. Unfortunately, when a loss occurs, insurance companies often fail to live up to an insured's expectations. It is observed on the website 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy that, unfortunately, you may find yourself in a position of having to dispute the amount the insurance company wants to pay you on a claim. If you have a good insurance agent or broker, he or she can sometimes be helpful in resolving a dispute amicably.

Should your agent's intervention prove unsuccessful, you may have to contact the insurance company directly explaining why the compensation offered for your possessions is insufficient and what you think would be a fair amount of compensation. According to 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, if you cannot make any headway in resolving the dispute with the insurance company, you may wish to contact an attorney for assistance. Actual litigation may not be necessary since an attorney's intervention can often help you reach an out of court settlement with the insurance company.

Seek legal help


If an insurance company proves intransigent in its willingness to provide you with the proper compensation for a renter's insurance claim, you should contact a California attorney who is experienced in handling insurance law.