MISSION, KS -- (Marketwire) -- 08/02/12 -- (Family Features) American families understand the importance of protecting their assets and possessions. For a growing number of homeowners and renters, protection plans provide peace of mind that their possessions can be repaired or replaced if the unexpected happens.
For about 37 million Americans, renting a house or apartment is more affordable, and sometimes even preferable, to home ownership. But there are some disadvantages to renting. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, renters are 50 percent more likely than homeowners to be robbed. Likewise, the National Fire Protection Association reports that 270 apartment fires break out each day in the United States. While homeowners are required to have insurance against these types of problems, most renters are not. In fact, a survey by Apartments.com found that 67 percent of respondents did not have renters insurance.
Why don't more renters insure their valuable possessions? Here are three common misconceptions that could be standing in the way of peace of mind.
-- "I can't afford it." The average renters insurance policy costs less than $200 per year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
-- "I don't have anything worth protecting." Clothing, appliances and electronics can all be covered under renters insurance. The cost of replacing your computer, television, smart phone or gaming system will likely be higher than the cost of insuring them.
-- "I'm covered by my landlord's insurance." Landlords carry insurance to cover structural damage to the building, but it does not cover your personal property. Nor does it protect you from liability for structural damage you might cause.
"Renters insurance is one of those things you hope you never need, but accidents do happen -- and it pays to make sure you and your property are fully protected," said Kathy McDonald, president, Property Solutions at Assurant Specialty Property. "In addition to protecting your possessions, renters insurance can protect you against personal liability, too. If you accidentally start a kitchen fire or flood in the bathroom and it damages your apartment, or a neighbor's apartment, you're the one that's liable, not your landlord."
Get the Right Coverage
The amount of insurance you need will depend on what you want to protect and the types of hazards you want to safeguard against. Your insurance agent can give you specifics based on your state and the kind of policy you want. Ask questions such as:
-- What hazards are included? Do I need a separate policy for specific circumstances?
-- Are my roommates covered by the policy?
-- What optional coverage is available (such as flood or earthquake coverage)?
-- How much liability coverage is provided?
-- Will I receive additional living expenses if I have to live elsewhere while my apartment is being repaired?
-- Do I need additional coverage for damages or injuries caused by my pet?
-- Does my policy cover items stolen or damaged while not on the property (i.e. stolen from your car)?
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