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Don’t get caught without renters insurance

Apartment living is great, with close neighbors and shared amenities. However, there are still risk exposures you should understand so you can protect yourself and your belongings.

When you don’t own your home, you may not think about insurance. Your landlord probably is insuring the asset he or she owns, which is the actual structure you rent, but not your property inside. Your contents are your responsibility to cover.

Also, in most cases, you are the liable party if someone is injured at your rented residence. The average renter’s fire policy ranges from $30-50 per month. If you think about it, you can’t afford not to have that protection.

Why do you need renters insurance? Consider that one wall away, a kitchen fire could arise that engulfs your home within moments. The water dripping from the light fixture above your head while you’re brushing your teeth could be caused by the neighbor above you with an overflowing tub. What possessions of yours could be damaged as a result?

Bad things happen to responsible people every day. Renters insurance can protect you from terrible incidents such as fire and water damage, weather catastrophes and more. Coverage for clothing, furniture, appliances and computers is an important part of why you should have this insurance.

Also, in today’s litigious society, you should be protected in the event you find yourself legally responsible for someone who incurred harm resulting from your property, even if the damage was accidental. You need protection if something happens in your apartment that detrimentally impacts other apartments. A renters insurance policy can offer you that kind of coverage at a very reasonable rate.

Take a few moments to do a quick inventory of your belongings. Don’t do it in your mind, but physically go around and list your possessions — every fork, sock, DVD and item in between. Can you afford to replace it all yourself? Many people don’t realize how quickly this adds up. The average renter has $50,000 in personal belongings at stake.

Now, consider your valuable items, like fine jewelry, art, collectibles and even your car. Renters insurance doesn’t protect your car from collisions or comprehensive claims, but it does protect items for theft that you may be carrying in your vehicle. Suppose a door-to-door salesman comes to your residence on a rainy day and slips on your wet doorstep. The injured party decides to sue you for medical expenses. Is this your landlord’s problem or yours? If you didn’t have a proper rug in place to prevent slips, and you didn’t dry the step after a hard rain, you could be considered the at fault party. Can you afford to pay thousands for his medical bills? You may not have that kind of cash on hand, but your assets could add up to that much.

How much coverage do YOU need? As a renter, ensure you are adequately protected.

Written by Angelyn Treutel Zeringue

Angelyn Treutel Zeringue is President of SouthGroup Insurance Services, a CPA, PWCAM, CBIA and licensed Trusted Choice Insurance Agent. Reach her at www.southgroupgulfcoast.com, (228) 385-1177 or azeringue@southgroup.net.

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