Get Renters Insurance for about $15 a month — it’s worth it!|

by Insurance Agent Peter Wallin

John lived in side-by-side duplex. A small kitchen fire occurred while he was cooking with hot grease. The smoke and water damage from the fire was so bad that he could not live there. All of his personal belongings — couches, chairs, area rugs, kids toys and clothing — were ruined. John had no insurance. Not only was he forced to evacuate, but he had no money to replace his stuff.

In another incident, kids playing with matches accidentally set a mattress on fire. An entire 8-unit building burned to the ground. Fortunately no one was injured, but all eight tenants had to fend for themselves. Some had insurance. Some did not.

Even if you you don’t own a home, it should be part of your financial plan to secure your property in the event of a fire or theft. Unfortunately, many people don’t think this is a serious issue. Only 43% of renters in the United States actually buy renters insurance (according to National Underwriter Magazine). That’s not good.

There is a growing trend that more and more young couples are not buying a home right away and prefer renting. This allows for faster career moves if there’s a job opening in another city. They won’t have to worry about selling a house; instead they can just move. Others may simply prefer to rent and not have to worry about yard maintenance, snow removal and expensive household improvements.

Renter’s (also called Tenant’s) Insurance protects your personal belongings. The landlord generally carries insurance on the building but is not responsible for your stuff. You are responsible for your stuff! While the chances of a fire starting in an apartment building are about the same as a home, apartment fires have potential to spread fire, heat and smoke throughout the building affecting the safety of all the occupants.

What can go wrong?

  • Fire
  • smoke damage ruins your clothing
  • broken water pipe ruins your furniture
  • personal items stolen from your car
  • you get sued if someone comes in your apartment and trips over an area rug

What’s covered in Renter’s (also called Tenant’s) Insurance? Here’s what you are protecting:

  • your furniture
  • your clothing
  • your televisions, computers and smartphones
  • your jewelry
  • items you may temporarily keep in your car — music, wallets or purses, camping equipment, etc.
  • personal liability and medical payments if someone gets hurt in your apartment and sues you

What does this cost? The annual premium is very inexpensive and well worth it. $15 per month should get you a decent $20,000 policy. You certainly can increase this amount if you desire.

Note to Landlords: It is important for you to have a requirement in your lease that your tenants carry their own renter’s insurance. If an accidental fire starts because of a tenant’s negligence, you may be able to sue them for damages to your building.

Note to Renters: See paragraph above. You could get sued for negligence.


  • The price of a renter’s insurance policy is based on location, type of building (frame or brick construction) and how much insurance you need. Insurance policies always have a deductible. (A deductible is the amount of money you pay before the insurance takes over.)
  • If you can afford it, choose a policy that carries a $500 deductible. The annual price is less than if you have a $200 deductible.
  • Combine renter’s insurance and auto insurance with the same insurance company and you’ll get a nice discount — somewhere in the 10–15% range! — plus you’ll save money on your auto insurance!

For more information or to request a copy of my book “Insure Your Peace of Mind,” Contact me at You can also check out my website at


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October 2015
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