We know apartments have a higher risk for burglary than homes. But how can you protect the most important things in your apartment? Renters insurance exists for this reason. Unlike homeowners insurance, renters insurance primarily focusses on protecting your stuff. We’ve listed tips to properly protect all of your belongings, including your valuables:
Lock them out.
First, here are a few tips for keeping your apartment safe in the first place:
- Lock windows and doors.
- Hide or lock up your cherished items when you have many people coming over – if, for example, you’re hosting a party.
- Get to know your neighbors and light outside entryways.
Yes, you do have valuables.
We know what you’re thinking: You don’t have any valuables! Don’t get hung up on the details. The word “valuables” can mean more than your grandmother’s china, old furs, or valuable art (though if you have those things you need to properly safeguard them). You may have multiple valuable items in your apartment or rented house that you won’t even notice until they’re gone.
Following are three scenarios and how you would use insurance to fully safeguard your higher-value items:
For many city-dwellers, biking is an essential part of a commute. If you have a bicycle, make sure it’s protected with renters insurance. Bike theft has risen more than 7% in the U.S. since 2010, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. And those are just the reported thefts. According to bikelaw.com, thieves nab between 800,000 and 2 million bikes each year.
To protect your bike, you could simply rely on your renters insurance. Nonetheless, examine your policy to determine your limit for high-value items. These strict limits can sometimes reach as low as $200. According to Uniform Crime Reports, the average value of a stolen bike is $384, so you may need to add to your coverage.
Your bling or ring:
Got expensive jewelry or a high-end cell phone? Add those to your list of valuables. In fact, jewelry ranked first among claims made by homeowners, totaling 16% of the value of affected items, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). If you don’t have renters insurance, jewelry could disappear from under your eyes.
And if you don’t wear jewelry, but you’re planning to propose soon to your girlfriend? Better get an endorsement on your renters insurance. Engagement ring prices (along with rent prices) have soared in the last few years as men try to follow the two- to three-month rent rule. You buy a separate personal articles floater for the ring or schedule an endorsement.
An endorsement also could help if you have a high-end computer, phone, jewelry, and speakers. You can pay a little more each month to raise your current policy limits, and you’ll only be dealing with one company to cover your possessions.
Your hobbies can include valuables too. For example, a baseball card collector, a part-time DJ or movie maker, and an avid kayaker all have expensive hobbies that need to be covered by renters insurance. Collections, technology, and sporting equipment can fall under the high-value category and raise the value of your possessions past your limits.
To protect your hobby’s equipment (or inventory), you may want to purchase a personal articles floater. It’s a more costly way to increase your limits, but it comes with some definite perks – limits that can exceed $1 million, no deductibles, and coverage for items stored away from home, to name a few.
How you decide.
Remember when your renters insurance provider urged you to take an inventory of your stuff? You should do that. Why? Some of your stuff might not be covered.
A real advantage of having renters insurance is that it protects your stuff even when it’s in your car or when you’re wearing your favorite necklace on the subway. If you don’t have a record of owning it, chances are it will be much harder to get it back. Your inventory should include the purchase date and price, a photo of the item, an approximate current value, and any receipts or proof of purchase.
Potential theft isn’t the only reason you should purchase renters insurance or increase your current limits. It’s neither the most frequent type of claim nor the most expensive, according to the III. Your belongings are more likely to suffer water damage from a pipe leaking or smoke damage from a kitchen fire. The good news: renters insurance will cover your stuff in those cases. Just make sure you have enough coverage before problems strike.
Katherine Wood writes for HomeownersInsurance.com, an online insurance resource for homeowners and drivers across the country. Offering comparative automobile and homeowners insurance quotes, consumers rely on HomeownersInsurance.com for the most competitive rates from the top-rated insurance carriers in the country. The HomeownersInsurance.com blog, Square One, provides tips and advice on a range of financial topics to help homeowners and homebuyers make educated decisions about their insurance purchases.