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You can lose everything, even if you rent

I recently read an article about an apartment building that burned to the ground — so tragic. Almost 100 people are now without a home and have lost all their possessions. Hopefully, the impacted people had insurance.

When you don’t own your home, you may not think about insurance. That’s your landlord’s problem, right? Wrong! Your landlord probably is insuring his asset, which is the structure you are renting, but not your personal property inside. Your contents are your responsibility to insure.

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 all the items you possess. Every fork, every sock, every DVD and everything in between. Can you afford to replace all this yourself? Many people don’t realize how quickly this adds up. The average renter has $50,000 in personal belongings at stake. Now add to that your valuable items like your fine jewelry, art and collectibles. What could go wrong in your apartment? You could have a kitchen fire that burns the wall and causes smoke damage to your neighbor’s apartment, or your tub could overflow and flood the apartment below you — not to mention the risk of weather threats or burglary; you would have to pay for the repairs.

In other words, bad things happen to responsible people every day. A door-to-door salesman comes to your home on a rainy day and slips on your wet doorstep, causing an injury. He sues you for medical expenses. Is this your landlord’s problem, or is it your problem? If you didn’t have a proper rug in place to prevent slips, or you didn’t dry the step after a hard rain to prevent slips, you could be the at-fault party in a lawsuit. Can you afford to pay $30,000 in medical bills? With renter’s insurance, the question is not whether you need the coverage, but how much coverage do you need.

Renter’s insurance can protect you from the terrible incidents described above and more. The average renter’s fire policy ranges from $30-50 per month.

Bottom line: As a renter, you can’t afford NOT to have insurance.

Angelyn Treutel Zeringue is President of SouthGroup Insurance Services, a CPA, PWCAM, CBIA and licensed Trusted Choice Insurance Agent. Reach Angelyn at, (228) 385-1177 or