Is Renter’s Insurance Worth It?

Graphic image of umbrella that says "renters insurance" covering a houseWhile 97% homeowners have insurance on their homes, only 37% purchase renter’s insurance (Insurance Information Institute). The most common reason is that people don’t realize they need it. If you’re wondering what renter’s insurance is for and if you need it, read on.

First, it’s important to know that VIDA does not offer renter’s insurance. It’s something you purchase from an insurance company. If you own a car, buying renter’s insurance through your auto insurance provider is probably your best bet. Many companies offer discounts for bundling more than one type of insurance. In addition, know that VIDA does not require you to have renter’s insurance. It’s purely a matter of personal preference.

Simply put, renter’s insurance doesn’t protect the building you live in, it protects all the things you own that are inside that building – and it protects you against possible lawsuits (i.e. liability) if someone is hurt in your apartment or townhome, or something you do causes damage to others.

What’s typically covered?

  • Personal property. This protects your possessions against loss or damage due to things like fire or theft.
  • Loss of use. If your apartment becomes uninhabitable due to an event like a fire, your renter’s insurance can help cover living expenses like a hotel, clothes and food.
  • Personal liability. This protects you against the legal liability of an accident in your residence. For example, maybe your bathtub overflows and damages furniture in the apartment below you. Your renter’s policy can help cover the damages.
  • Medical protection. If a guest is injured in your apartment, renter’s insurance can help pay their medical expenses.

How much coverage do I need?

For personal property coverage, one of the first questions an insurance company will ask you is how much your things are worth. You can prepare for this by adding up what it would cost to replace everything in your apartment. You might be surprised at how high that number is; which is a big reason for considering renter’s insurance. In addition to the amount of personal property coverage you need, an insurance company can recommend the level of liability coverage and the deductible that makes the most sense for your situation.

How do I decide if it’s worth it?

Depending on the coverage levels you need, the cost of renter’s insurance will most likely range from $15-$30 per month. Given that, the most important question to ask yourself is “how easy would it be for me to afford to replace my things if anything happened?” The more difficult affording it would be, the more important renter’s insurance is for you. Either way, considering the cost is equal to about one dinner out a month, you may feel the peace of mind is well worth it.