Austin, who occasionally writes here at PT Money, is in his 2nd year of teaching English in western Japan. With the Japan Tsunami fresh on his mind, he generously offered to write a couple of pieces on preparing for major disasters. You can check out his personal finance site for 20-somethings at Foreigner’s Finances.
One of my best friends lives in Birmingham, Alabama and was luckily 5-10 miles away from a destructive tornado this week that took out houses in seconds.
Some of his friends weren’t so lucky as he told me via email:
“All my friends from Tuscaloosa survived, but lost everything.”
The place you call home is your rock and the most valuable and expensive tangible item you will ever put money in to.
As valuable as a home can be, we sometimes don’t treat it that way and tend to look the other way when someone brings up the idea of theft insurance, lightning insurance, or any other insurance that will protect your home – and your wallet – against an unexpected personal disaster.
Last week we looked at how to protect your wallet in case a disaster hits. Insurance is a broad topic, so today let’s take a look at a few things you the tenant can do to protect your rented apartment or condo in case disaster or damage strikes.
Don’t Risk It – Get the Insurance
Often people who rent try to save a bit every month by forgoing renter’s insurance. Although your building is insured by the landlord, the items in your apartment are not insured. Meaning your 42 inch TV, your new sofa, your laptop and any other valuables are not covered by any insurance.
What you’ll need to purchase as a renter is HO-4 coverage or HO-6 coverage if you live in a condominium. You can purchase these coverages from any insurance company and it will protect your valuables in case of 17 different perils. Some of the big ones, according to InsuranceGuide101.com, are:
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Vandalism and theft
- Electrical surge damage
- Water related damage from home utilities
Contact any insurance agency today and they’ll walk you through the steps to purchase renters insurance – like listing the value of your items and deciding on a deductible price. If you’re wondering how much is renter’s insurance per month. Know that monthly coverage will run anywhere from $10-50 a month depending on the extent of your policy and situation.
Click here to get a free renter’s insurance quote from insureme.com.
The bottom line: don’t try to save money by forgoing renter’s insurance and risking it. Cut back in a variety of spending areas or try to pick up some side work to make money because the cost of insurance is worth it; regardless if you ever use it.
Insurance For Your Situation: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Floods
You may have noticed that in the 17 perils covered by the HO-4 renter’s insurance, none of the large scale natural disasters are covered. You’ll have to go a step further to protect your living area from these types of disasters.
Insurance for earthquakes, tornadoes, or floods is a type of property insurance. There is no all-reaching disaster coverage so you’ll have to figure out what disasters have the probability of affecting your area. See the probability of a tornado in your State.
Contact your insurance provider today and ask them to walk you through the steps for purchasing this type of coverage.
Once again, you may say “The chances of something happening to my apartment aren’t very high. I’ll pass on this one.” However, right now there are thousands of people who have lost all of their possessions in Alabama. They are going back to shattered houses to see if they can pick up anything after the disaster.
This is not an area of your life to skimp on. Get the insurance and sleep easy knowing your valuables are protected.
Keep Your Insurance Updated
A lot can change over the course of the year. Keep your list of insured items updated and fresh by going over your personal inventory every 6-12 months. If you’ve purchased a new $3,000 refrigerator but the insurance company doesn’t know about it, that item won’t be replaced after a fire or theft.
Tech tip: Create an event in your Google Calendar every 6, 9, or 12 months that simply states: “Check Insurance Inventory.” You can even create an email reminder and you’ll get an email on the day reminding you of your event.
When this happens, all you have to do is look around your apartment or condo and see if anything of large value has been purchased. If so, contact your insurance agency and inform them of the item so they can update your policy.
Remember that your insurance company works for you. Ask them for their opinion on different coverages and don’t be afraid to shop around for better rates. Never let an agent bully you in to coverage that you don’t want, but use their knowledge to better your situation. There are thousands of types of insurances for tenants who rent so just ask.
It’s not fun to add another bill to your monthly expenses, but it’s even less fun to live day to day knowing your entire life can be desecrated by one freak accident. Buy the extra insurance and forget about it. You’ll never regret the decision to go the extra mile to protect you and your family.
Photo by LakeMartinVoice