Monday, November 12, 2007

Renter Insurance

Renters insurance - Not just about price

Q: Is anything else important, other than price that I need to consider when shopping for renter’s insurance?

Top things: Price isn’t everything.

Property Coverage: make sure the coverage you have is enough for all your stuff. Make sure you have a replacement cost endorsement . Make sure your policy covers other high priced items you have: jewelry, collectibles, guns, computers; ask your agent about policy restrictions and get coverage for what you have. If your place has a basement, ask for a water back-up endorsement.

Liability coverage: Get $300,000 to cover for damages or injuries you may cause. The liability coverage will cover you if you cause a fire, someone gets hurt, or any other unintentional mishap.

For example, if you start a kitchen fire, which is very common in rental properties, the liability coverage will pay the landlord for the damages to their building. You don’t want to get stuck defending yourself in court or paying for this out of your own pocket.

Discounts: companies rate by territory, age, credit and a dozen other factors. Get some quotes. Also the company that handles your car may give a good discount both ways. Auto company doesn’t offer renters? Shop them both.

The future: Some home insurers will only offer their best packages to people with ‘history’; if the insurer does not offer homeowners coverage (like GEICO) they won’t be much help to you when you buy a house.

Service: is extremely important. How does the insurance agency treat you on the phone? Bad service while getting a quote may be a reflection of the agencies view of you. Ask about the insurers claims handling reputation. You don’t want to buy a policy with a combative company. Last thing you want is having to fight an adjuster for a loss.

Get Started
Don’t put this off till next week or next month. Deal with this right away. Get a referral to a local independent agent. She should be able to shop you with 6-10 good companies and serve as a first line adviser with you future questions, although feel free to stop back here with your questions.

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