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What to Consider When Getting Renters Insurance

How to Get the best deal before moving into an apartmentWhen moving into a new apartment, an often overlooked or undervalued step is obtaining renters insurance. While landlords themselves are insured, their policy only covers the building itself. Therefore, the responsibility of insuring your belongings and protecting yourself from a potential lawsuit lies with you the tenant. Renters insurance is designed to cover those belongings and personal liabilities in your new apartment or home.The good news is, policies are often inexpensive, usually going for less than $20 a month, a small price to pay to cover thousands of dollars worth of valuables. That may include a TV and stereo, clothes, or computer. The policies themselves protect against damage caused by thunderstorms, tornadoes, fire and smoke, and burglary or theft. Some may also cover medical and legal expenses, in case someone else is injured inside the apartment.There are quite a few companies that offer tenant insurance, but with so many options available, how does one decide what company to select? While it may seem like an extra pre-move headache, choosing the right policy is actually a simple process, if one remembers a few tips.Estimate the Total Value of Personal ItemsWhen getting started, the company will ask for a total estimate of everything the renter owns. This includes electronics and appliances, clothes, books, and even home furnishings. The monthly rate will likely depend on that total estimate. Make a list of everything owned, and if possible, figure out their worth. If possible, take pictures of the more valuable items.Take Advantage of DiscountsIf you have an automobile that you currently insure, make sure you mention it during the renters insurance quote process. Many companies will offer discounts for having multiple policies with them.Many companies offer discounts for having household safety features such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or security system, deadbolt locks, peepholes etc. Tenants may also get a lower rate by opting for a higher deductible. Senior citizens and military service members are usually eligible for additional discounted rates.Know The AreaIf the apartment is in a flood or earthquake prone zone, one may want to consider getting extra coverage against certain natural disasters. Some landlords may require a tenant to pay extra, due to the building’s location. It may cost more, but it is worth it in the long run, as opposed to having to replace everything out of pocket.Roommate PoliciesMost policies only cover the liability and contents of the individual that holds the Renters Insurance policy. Check with an agent to make sure the policy includes a roommate before you assume that your roommate’s possessions are covered by your policy. If apartment renters insurance covers roommates, consider splitting the bill like any other monthly expense, i.e. utilities, cable, or Internet.