Tenants Dropping the Ball on Renters Insurance

Despite the rise in  rental occupancy rates, tenants are dragging their feet when it comes to insuring their possessions against fire or other losses in rental properties.

A recent survey by Allstate Insurance reveals that while 54 percent of renters say it would take three or more years to replace everything they lost if they didn’t have insurance, only 45 percent have a renters insurance policy to protect their personal possessions and collectibles.

“It’s important for renters to know that their landlord’s insurance most likely will not cover the tenant’s personal belongings. A landlord may have coverage that can help cover the cost of structural damage to the dwelling if the unexpected happens, but renters may be faced with significant replacement costs for their furniture, clothes, electronics and other belongings,” said Keith Rutman, vice president of Allstate’s Consumer Household unit. “The average renter owns about $30,000 worth of possessions, and a renters insurance policy can help cover losses due to common perils like theft, fire and smoke, vandalism and water damage.”

A renter’s insurance policy can help reimburse tenants for the cost to live in a hotel or another rental unit if they are temporarily forced out of their rental dwelling due to repairs. Renters can opt for additional liability protection and guest medical coverage in case someone gets injured.

Many landlords require tenants to obtain renters insurance, while others lean heavily on tenants to secure such a policy.  While landlords ordinarily are not liable to the tenants for lost possessions, the existence of renters insurance reduces the likelihood that a tenant who is facing a catastrophic loss will lawyer-up and look for a deep-pocket.  Also, a sudden loss will strain a tenant’s finances, and increases the likelihood of a rent default.

Additionally, the survey found that only about a third of renters have completed a home inventory to catalog their possessions, compared to 44 percent of homeowners.

Renters can visit Allstate’s What’s Your Stuff Worth tool online to calculate the cost to replace clothing, electronics, kitchenware, furniture and more. The interactive tool walks consumers through typical rooms in a home and helps count the number of items and their estimated value.

Renters insurance from Allstate costs an average of $15 a month.

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