FFF University: Renter’s Insurance
First & foremost, if you live in a apartment or rental property of any type, you need renter’s insurance. Why? Well, you know that 400 pound man that lives above you? The one that stomps around in the size 15, steel-toed work boots at 3am. The one that plays fetch with his 3 german shepherds inside the apartment and every time he throws the ball, a stampede of footsteps runs from one side of your ceiling to the other (and back again). Well, what if he is cooking meth in his bathroom? Or has an extensive candle-burning shrine to Scott Baio? What if he decides that he can fix his own washer & dryer or doesn’t know the rule about throwing water on a grease fire? The possibilities are endless.
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
All of this is to say, you need renter’s insurance. There is no magic to it. How much would it cost to replace all of your crap? That is how much coverage you need. Go talk to your insurance guy and have it added. It is pretty inexpensive – roughly $150/year will cover $20,000 of your stuff. Well worth it. If you are reading this and thinking about how little you have to insure, think again. Go home and stop. Look around your apartment. Sure your furniture might be a little crappy, but if your pad burned down, you would still need a place to sit & play X-box. Speaking of X-box, it would be gone too. You would still need to replace your guitar or that closet full of clothes. I don’t know a person in American that doesn’t have $150 bucks worth of clothes in their closet and it is unlikely that you would be wearing them all the day your apartment explodes. All things considered, you probably need the protection.
The one nuance you need to be aware of, as it relates to insurance…you need to have a record of the stuff you are insuring. Just like insuring your car, when you have to show them the title, proving that you own your ride. Renter’s insurance is the same way, as is home insurance for that matter. You must prove that there were things in the apartment that need replacing and what those things were.
In this digital age that we live in, it couldn’t be easier. Just snap some photos of your rooms, closets, etc. Make sure your important stuff is in the photos. If you really want to cover yourself, maybe pull the receipts from some of your big ticket items and scan them on the computer. This way you have proof of ownership and proof of replacement cost, if something were to happen. This extra step would certainly grease the wheel of your claim, were lightning to strike (figuratively or literally). Just make sure you save those files on a computer away from home. Or maybe upload them on your MobileMe account, so that they are stored in the virtual heavens.
If you are not already, make sure you get yourself covered. Soon. Before Johnny Lead-foot upstairs decides to deep fry his Thanksgiving turkey in his living room.