Renters Insurance to fit your budget and needs
Low Cost Renters Insurance
Last summer, I found an amazing condo in the perfect location for rent. Shortly after moving in, I felt settled, but that feeling wouldn't last long.
Right before Christmas, the temperatures in Atlanta hit single digits. Everyone was worried about their pipes bursting. While I was away visiting family for the holidays, I discovered that my condo had flooded.
The worst part about the flood was that it wasn't from my pipes; it started from the neighbor two floors up and eventually ended in my condo (on the first floor). The damage was extensive. An inch of water covered my entire place. My relaxing holiday was cut short, and the following months were nothing like I'd ever experienced.
I've had my share of car accidents and auto insurance claims, but this was my first time having a major loss and filing a renters insurance claim. Here are the most valuable lessons I learned.
1. Make sure you have enough coverage
When it was time to get renters insurance, I did what most people do when valuing my personal property: make a wild guess and hope for the best. I had never reviewed my belongings in detail to see if my coverage limit was sufficient, even after inheriting antique furniture and purchasing high-quality items.
After filing my claim with the insurance company, I had to make a list of everything that needed to be replaced, including the approximate value of each item. Seeing the amounts add up made me realize that I was significantly underinsured. I lost about half of my possessions, valued at nearly my full coverage amount. I would have been on the hook for thousands more if I had experienced a total loss.
After my claim was finalized and I started replacing items, I increased my personal property coverage to a more appropriate amount. The combination of a claim on my record and higher personal property coverage costs me more in premiums, but it's worth it to me now.
2. An emergency fund is a must
An insurance claim takes time. It could be months before you receive your full settlement, and as a result, you will have to pay some expenses out of pocket and submit receipts for reimbursement. In my case, I stayed in a hotel for the first two weeks. My insurance covered my relocation expenses. At the hotel, I had to pay for eating out and doing laundry since I had no direct access to a kitchen, washer, or dryer.
I realized I'd be in temporary housing for a while, and since I work from home, I opted to end my stay in an Airbnb. It was cheaper long-term than a hotel — which meant my living expense benefit lasted longer.
The relocation company only allowed direct billing for hotels, so I had to pay for the Airbnb upfront. I paid thousands out of pocket before getting reimbursed. Thankfully, I had an emergency fund that I started years ago for these unforeseen scenarios.
3. Document, document
To process my claim, I had to submit documentation of everything damaged or destroyed. The more details, especially for valuable items, the faster your claim is processed. I was fortunate to have access to my damaged items. I started by recording a video of the damage and all my belongings. I talked throughout the video, opening drawers, closets, and cabinets. I also took photos of high-cost items to provide evidence of their value. I used the recording to make an itemized list of what needed to be replaced.
When making your list, make sure to include a detailed description of the item, date acquired, and purchase price (with copies of receipts if you have them). If you have a video and photos to accompany the list, it's helpful to include the room or location of each item. In addition, be sure to keep receipts from any expenses you incur along the way so you can submit them for reimbursement.
4. Your payments come in stages
With renters and homeowners insurance policies, you can insure your personal property for replacement cost value or actual cash value (replacement cost value minus depreciation). Since I had replacement cost coverage, I assumed that I would receive a single check for the total value of items lost. My insurance initially paid only a portion of the claim and held back an amount known as recoverable depreciation. Once I could show that I used the money to buy new items, I received a second payment for the balance. This is to prevent insurance fraud.
You don't have to replace every item you lost. You can receive the total claim as long as you show that you used a significant portion of the insurance payment to purchase new items. If you have to relocate temporarily and receive reimbursements for additional living expenses (ALE), those payments might also come over time as you incur the costs and submit receipts.
5. Give yourself grace and time to adjust
Moving is already a stressful and emotional experience, but moving with no notice and losing a significant portion of your belongings is traumatic. At times getting things in order felt like a full-time job. Plus, some unexpected events delayed the process. My insurance adjuster got COVID and was out of work for a while. The person I hired to move items into storage got in a car accident, so I postponed the moving date. Months later, I'm still dealing with being displaced, putting things in storage, replacing belongings, finding a new place to live, and unpacking.
I learned to prioritize self-care and give myself grace as I caught up with work and restored my personal life. I'm forever grateful for friends and family who stepped in to help and clients who remain patient as I work to get caught up.
No one wants to think of the unthinkable, but the reality is that unexpected events take place. We must be prepared to protect our belongings and, frankly, our sanity. Getting through a disaster takes a lot of patience and time. Align yourself with resources upfront so you can get back on your feet and resume normalcy in due time.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
The average annual cost of renters’ insurance can vary based on the amount stuff you have (and how nice it is) as well as a number of other risk factors.
Why not call us for a quick no-obligation quote to see how much we can save you on Renter’s Insurance?
Protect Yourself with a Renters Insurance Policy
If you are currently renting a house or apartment, protect yourself financially with a renters insurance policy.
Insurance Considerations of Turning Your Extra Bedroom Into a Rental
If you live alone or have extra space in your home, you may have considered renting out a room in your house as an option to earn some extra income. Whether you live close to a vacation destination or are debating looking for a long-term tenant, renting a room in your home as opposed to an entire unit can often be a more affordable option for renters.
If you own a home, you already know you need homeowners insurance to protect your investment. But what insurance policy do you need to adequately protect your rental property?
Having the right insurance package can save you a headache in the long run. Here are a few things to know about insuring your rental property the right way:
Consider obtaining additional coverage. A standard homeowners insurance policy typically doesn’t cover damage that occurs when the space is being used as a rental.
Ensure your space qualifies as a rental. If you’re unsure about whether your situation is fully considered “renting,” contact your insurance provider. Different insurance companies have different rules for what qualifies as a rental, such as whether the person living there is a family member, whether the space has a separate entrance and how the space is attached to the main structure. Making sure you’re aligned to your insurance provider’s definition is key to choosing the right coverages.
Stay protected with Dwelling Fire insurance. If you are renting out your property for any length of time, you will need landlord insurance. Most landlord polices come standard with liability insurance, property damage and loss of income coverage, which reimburses you for rent lost as a result of the unit becoming uninhabitable. You can also take out additional coverages, such as flood insurance, to further protect your property.
Encourage tenants to get renters insurance. Although not required by state law, renters insurance is the only way your tenants can protect their belongings, because your landlord’s insurance won’t cover their personal property. It can also protect tenants from having to pay out of pocket for other common incidents like water backup damage and certain natural disasters – which helps you protect your investment.
Now that you have the full scoop on homeowners insurance for rental properties, it may be time to get a review of your homeowners insurance policy. We invite you to contact our office for a no-obligation review of all your insurance needs.