Your dog bites someone in your apartment — are you covered by your renters insurance policy? The answer generally is yes, but if you didn’t know that, you’re not alone. More than 90% of people with renters insurance aren’t aware they’re covered if their pet bites someone.
A May survey of 894 people conducted online by Assurant, a New York-based provider of property and casualty insurance coverage, found a number of misconceptions about renters policies.
“Having [knowledge] gaps isn’t surprising but the extent to which people are unaware is definitely surprising,” said Steve Hein, senior vice president of Multifamily Housing at Assurant.
The survey found that 81% of respondents with insurance didn’t know that a rug ruined by an overflowing toilet is covered, while 84% were unaware that a guest tripping and breaking ankle in their apartment is also covered. In addition, 57% didn’t know renters insurance will cover temporary housing if a home becomes uninhabitable due to a fire in a neighbor’s apartment.
Respondents also indicated that they were unaware of what won’t be covered: Twenty percent incorrectly believed a window they accidentally broke was covered, and 10% incorrectly believed wood floors were covered if their cat damaged it.
There were also misconceptions about cost. Assurant found that 51% of respondents without renters insurance do not know its average cost, which is about $16 month, according to consumer-spending data site ValuePenguin.
Here’s some steps to take to get the most out of your policy.
Pay for higher liability coverage
If you’re responsible for a fire or leak in your apartment, you don’t want to be on the hook for the bill.
Liability insurance, which can protect you from claims like personal injury and property damage, should be a high priority and can be relatively inexpensive, according to certified financial planner Scott Frank, founder of Stone Steps Financial in Encinitas, California.
Renters and homeowners insurance typically covers liability only up to a certain amount.
“It’s relatively inexpensive to go from having $100,000 to $500,000 of liability coverage,” Frank said.
“If we cause an accident, we want to make sure people get compensated as they need to,” he added. “We don’t want to work for the next 20 years to repay them.”
Keep track of what you have
If disaster strikes and you lose items that are important to you, you want to be able to prove that you owned them.
“Take pictures of things that, if the house burned down, you would be devastated to lose,” Frank said.
This can become important when you file a claim for damaged or stolen property and you want to be compensated for your loss as soon as possible…….Read More>>