Renters must keep belongings insured

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So many home mortgage foreclosures have occurred that home ownership is down and rentals are up.

Not long ago, I was speaking with a TV news anchor about renters and their failure in many cases to get renters insurance. She told me that a few years earlier, her apartment was destroyed by fire. Also destroyed was the application for renters insurance that sat on her home office desk. She lost everything.

In the past several years, only 29 percent of renters purchased appropriate renters insurance coverage. That number has recently increased to about 49 percent of all renters.

Remember this:

- Landlords are not responsible for renters' property.

- Multi-family structures such as apartments are more vulnerable to fire that originated in another unit.

- Renters are subject to burglaries that don't involve a break-in since master keys are not always well controlled.

- The possibility of severe weather is always a problem regardless of where one lives.

The good news is that renters insurance is very affordable and it provides coverage that go beyond replacing personal effects.

As little as $25 per month can provide decent coverage which makes renters insurance an excellent buy for protection.

Most renters insurance provides liability coverage for a variety of mishaps including:

- Your pet bites someone

- Someone slips and falls in your apartment and sues you for medical care and damages.

Most renters' policies also cover lost or stolen items of value such as the theft of a laptop from a student away at school.

Two important steps all renters should take: First, have a detailed inventory of your belongings in the rental unit, with pictures of each, serial numbers, if any, and values of the items.

Speak with several agents and go online to find the best coverage for the price. If your auto insurer offers renters insurance, you would probably qualify for a multi-policy discount.

DAVID COLMANS IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GEORGIA INSURANCE INFORMATION SERVICE. CONTACT HIM AT (770) 565-3806 OR DCOLMANS@GIIS.ORG.


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