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The Merits of Renter's Insurance

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Whether you have your own home or rent an apartment, one common fear is that someone breaks in and steals your belongings.

While homeowners are more inclined to protect their property and valuables with suitable insurance policies, it turns out that many renters are not as keen.

TD Insurance conducted a study in 2012 that found almost 47 percent of Canadian tenants under 35 do not have renter’s insurance and 32 percent incorrectly believe they are covered under their landlord’s insurance policy.

If we extrapolate to the United States, a more recent study from Princeton Survey Research Associates International, shows a mere 13 percent of millennials have renter's insurance.

It seems that many of the younger consumers have not fully thought over how much it would cost to replace accumulated possessions such as laptops, big screen televisions or smartphones. Protecting these items from theft alone seems as reason enough to seek out insurance coverage.

Perhaps the cost factor has dissuaded potential insurance buyers. Considering that the average monthly payment is in the $12 - $40 range, far less than a good meal out or a few drinks after work, it's likely a good time to do a reevaluation. Just the cost of replacing a stolen laptop or smartphone will exceed that yearly payment.

Also, renter's or tenant's insurance provides for additional living expenses if there was a fire or another disaster that would force you to leave the building. Depending on the policy, a 'loss of use' clause may cover hotel fees and meals in these circumstances.

Standard renter's insurance policies not only protect your belongings but also include liability coverage, in case someone is injured while in your home. If you throw a party and one or more of your guests become seriously injured because of a slippery floor, legal expenses and any court settlement lies with you unless you have the proper insurance coverage.

Should you be ready to seek out a renter's insurance policy, there are ways to save. For example, if you bundle it with car insurance, many providers will issue a discount. You should also inquire about raising the deductible as this is a good way to save on the overall policy cost. Likewise, be sure to mention any safety features such as deadbolt locks, fire alarms and extinguishers and smoke detectors, as having these in operation is looked upon favourably by insurance companies. Also, university or college students might be eligible for renter's insurance under their parent's homeowner policy.

Another important policy inclusion is replacement cost of your possessions. Do you want actual cash value or what it would cost to replace the item based on the current market price? You might pay a little more to include the replacement cost feature, but you may be fare better in the long run.