Whether you own your home or rent, insurance is necessity to protect your belongings. Renter’s insurance helps cover your property replacement when a covered peril occurs. It is important to have enough coverage for your property. To get a better understanding of your needs, ask yourself, “How much are my belongings worth?”
Your personal property is probably worth more than you think it is. The average renter has over $20,000 worth of property that would not be covered without renter’s insurance. The first step to determining how much insurance coverage you need is to take inventory. If you have recently purchased anything; furniture, electronics, clothes, or other household goods, save the receipts. Receipts are the best item to have in case something happens to your belongings. It has the date of purchase and how much you paid for the item.
It is important to take inventory of your belongings. Go through each room of your home and write down everything in that room. If you remember how much you paid for each item, this will help maintain accurate records of your belongings. However, you can also use the current value of each item if you don’t know the actual price. For any electronics equipment, make sure to record the model and serial numbers. There are more cases of burglary in a rental than in a home that is owned. Model and serial numbers may even help police track down your items.
While you are taking your inventory, it is a good idea to take pictures of your belongings or record your property on video. In the case of your personal property, you can never be too detailed. Photos or videos help substantiate exactly what you own. The time you take to compile a detailed inventory list with descriptions, receipts, and photos will save you time if something happens. Make sure to store your inventory in a safe place outside the home, such as a safe deposit box. You can also make a second copy to keep in a fire-proof safe within your home. Don’t forget to update your list as you acquire new goods or dispose of old goods.
Once you have your list compiled, add all your total amounts together. This will give you an approximate idea of how much your property is worth. At this point, you need to ask yourself if you could afford to buy it all back if everything were destroyed or stolen.
When determining how much coverage you need, you also need to look at special valued items. Family heirlooms may be monetarily replaceable, but would not be sentimentally replaceable. Therefore you may consider keeping those in a fire-proof safe. However, high valued jewelry, art, and other items may not be covered under a basic plan. You will need to get special coverage for these items and get these items appraised before insuring them. Also ask yourself what would happen if a liability lawsuit was filed again you. If this happened and you were without renter’s insurance, you would be saddled with large legal bills. With renter’s insurance coverage, you would be able to have assistance in paying those bills.
Now that you have considered your personal property and liability coverage needs, you are ready to sign up for renter’s insurance.