Renter's Insurance- is it worth it? How much can I expect to pay?
March 10, 2004 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Renter's Insurance- is it worth it? How much can I expect to pay?
posted by mkultra to Work & Money (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 

That depends on what you own, where you live.

Insurance is also good to protect against liability concerns.
posted by srboisvert at 8:52 AM on March 10, 2004


I say it's worth it. I've never had to file a claim [knocks on wood], so I can't vouch for any pain-in-the-butt factors there. A year's coverage was about $250 -- I broke it out into monthly payments of about $20 a month -- for what is pretty much a basic policy. There's a FAQ here that covers all the points I'd make in favor of getting a policy.
posted by kittyb at 8:53 AM on March 10, 2004


And where can you get it?
posted by scarabic at 8:54 AM on March 10, 2004


I pay something on the order of $150 a year. I live in a famously crime-ridden city, but am only insured against rather catastrophic loss. I've never tried to claim anything, though, and what's worthwhile obviously depends on yr own situation.

on preview: I get it through USAA, which I would recommend if you qualify for it
posted by mookieproof at 8:56 AM on March 10, 2004


I had a friend whose pipes burst, destroying computers, clothes and furniture. Renter's insurance was a godsend, helping her replace the stuff she'd lost.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:01 AM on March 10, 2004


I wholeheartedly endorse getting renter's insurance. My flat in LA was robbed and I didn't have it, and was SOL. A friend of mine had pipes burst in her place and thankfully she did have insurance.

I too have USAA, and HIGHLY recommend them for everything (banking, mortgage, etc) if you qualify.
posted by terrapin at 9:07 AM on March 10, 2004


I was burglarized a couple of years ago. My roommate, who had renter's insurance, received a check within a week and replaced his mountain bike, stereo, and misc. stuff without a hitch. I didn't have insurance at the time, and have yet to be able to replace two of the guitars I lost.

So yeah, you should get it. You can generally bundle a policy with your car insurance, and the added cost is pretty minimal.
posted by COBRA! at 9:10 AM on March 10, 2004


My friend ran a record label/online record store out of his apartment. He had more than $40,000 worth of CDs in his storage locker at his apartment, then the apartment complex burned down. Luckily he's been able to reform the label and record store, but without renters insurance, he was unable to make up the cost of the lost CDs...

The same goes for the time all my instruments were stolen. If you have anything really valuable, get it.
posted by drezdn at 9:24 AM on March 10, 2004


Get it. It's peace of mind if you don't need it, a huge benefit if you do.

Any insurance agent will sell it to you. You're likely to get a break if you go with the same company you get other insurance (ie, auto, life).
posted by me3dia at 9:26 AM on March 10, 2004


Incidentally, renter's insurance often also covers things -- such as a bike -- stolen outside of home.
posted by me3dia at 9:27 AM on March 10, 2004


If you can afford it, get it. Most people don't understand the dollar value of the normal, day-to-day stuff in their lives. Think about your closet - how many tshirts do you own? Now multiply that by the average retail cost of the same. Rinse and repeat for every type of clothing you have - socks, underwear, shoes, pants, accessories, suits, ties, etc. Can you afford to replace all of this out of your own pocket?

If so, then you're ready for the next step. Tally up all your DVDs, CDs and consumer electronics. Then your furniture, and then anything else you keep in the unit. Unless you live a *very* austere life, sooner or later you'll come to the conclusion that it's cheaper to have insurance than not.

In many cases, homeowners have insurance for the contents of the house equal to the value of the house itself.
posted by Irontom at 9:36 AM on March 10, 2004


You can often, with RI, get an inexpensive rider to cover losses on specific high-value items, like digicams or jewelry. My agent told me these items would be replaced without regard to the nature of the loss, whether it was on your property, etc.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:37 AM on March 10, 2004


Always, always buy renter's insurance. Relatively cheap and enormous peace of mind. It's worth the extra hundred bucks or so to buy riders for your jewelry, computer, etc. And never undervalue your possessions.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2004


I was surprised how high the coverage was with renter's insurance. With Allstate, I pay $167 per year. That covers $33,200 of personal property with a $250 deductible, and $100,000 of general liability. Computers are covered up to $6000 or so w/o needing a rider.
posted by smackfu at 12:11 PM on March 10, 2004


What they said. It's inexpensive enough to be painless (even in NYC) and will be worth it if anything bad ever happens.
posted by sad_otter at 2:01 PM on March 10, 2004


USAA. About $25 a month. Worth it since I was broken into in my last apartment with no insurance. Reasonable estimate was around $900 worth. My roomates lost more. Such a crappy feeling that I'm sure some renters insurance would have eased.
posted by brent at 9:26 PM on March 10, 2004


I vote yes for renter insurance. I think insurance for liability is more important than for possessions (but of course, get both). Back in the nineties someone in the next building left their apartment with food cooking on the stove. The damage was thirty thousand dollars. If you lost all your stuff you could be up and running with a three thousand dollar investment, but thirty grand is a lot of money to be held negligent for.
posted by philfromhavelock at 11:12 PM on March 10, 2004


Be very careful where you buy insurance. I got burned in California a few years ago because the company was "off shore", and refused to pay a legit claim. But that was car insurance.

Renters Insurance I always have when renting. And I always make sure the coverage is for the price of stuff NEW. In the UK, they say "new for old", meaning if my old synthesizer is stolen, they pay for a new one, not another old one.

Such policies often even include coverage if you get mugged on the street.
posted by Goofyy at 12:41 AM on March 11, 2004


Yes, make sure to get the policy for replacement value of the items.

NB: Some renter's policies don't cover certain items if you use them professionally. Musical instruments, audio and video equipment are the most common exclusions. If this is an issue, check it out in advance and if they say they will cover you, get it in writing and put it in a safety deposit box or wherever you keep your vital papers. There is nothing worse than having the tools of your trade damaged beyond repair, or stolen, and the insurer refusing to cover it with the justification that "you never told us you were a pro."
posted by Tholian at 5:29 AM on March 11, 2004


Wow, I'm amazed at the number of people here who have USAA. I've been using them for almost 20 years and love the company.

One note of merit, however, whether you go with USAA or someone else, is that you might need to get separate riders for additional coverage. For example, basic renter's insurance from USAA doesn't cover that much computer equipment or only limited types of loss. Getting the additional rider opens up a greater range of circumstances in which the equipment is covered. If someone sits on my powerbook while I'm riding the subway and it's hosed, I'm covered. If I leave it in the library because I'm incredibly stupid, it's covered. Etc, etc.

USAA being military based, however, has a unique part of the policy which makes it clear that they don't cover items lost as a result of war (nuclear included).

One final thing, when shopping for a policy, find one that covers the original value of the object, rather than a depreciated amount. With my policy, for example, if my powerbook is lost, the company will reimburse my original amount paid for the computer ($3000ish) rather than current replacement value ($1000ish). That's a godsend.
posted by warhol at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2004


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