If you’re like most New Yorkers, you probably rent your apartment. And, if you’re like most New Yorkers, you probably don’t have renter’s insurance. In fact only 44 percent of renters have insurance. Whether you’re moving to a new apartment or staying in your old one, renter’s insurance provides quite a lot of benefits at a relatively low monthly cost.
Finding Renter’s Insurance
Much like finding good health insurance, finding good renter’s insurance requires you to know your needs and understand your potential risks. While crime has dropped significantly in New York City, break-ins have increased. In 2016, NYC experienced 13,000 burglaries and 44,000 thefts. If you live in a less safe neighborhood, chances are your risks are higher.
So while costs should figure into your decision, you should first ask the following questions:
What does it cover?
While most policies will cover the majority of your possessions there may be limits on jewelry, fur an silverware. Other policies might not cover business items, so if you work from home, you might need another policy for your business equipment. Generally included items are clothes, furniture, artwork and electronics.
What ‘perils’ are covered?
Most insurance covers you against theft, fire, smoke, explosions, wind and water damage from bursting pipes and overflow. Check the fine print when it comes to storm coverage. A lot of times they won’t cover water damage if water seeps in from roof or walls unless the roof was damaged by the wind. As well, if you live on the ground or basement level, you are NOT protected against flood damage.
Is there liability coverage?
Most policies do have liability coverage, but they typically start at $100,000. You can easily increase the limit to $500,000 by spending additional money. And depending on your needs, you might want to.
Renter’s insurance is fairly inexpensive even in NYC so if you don’t have a lot of pricey electronics and other items, you could potentially get away with the standard. However, if you do have a lot of expensive items, you can always opt for higher limits. The best way to figure out what you should pay is to take stock of all of your items and calculate the full replacement cost of all of them. If it falls between $25,000-$50,000, you can stick with the standard.
Still not convinced? Here are some reasons why you should get renter’s insurance.
Unlike car or health insurance, renter’s insurance is pretty cheap, even in NYC. The standard cost hovers around $197 a year – that’s cheaper than a gym membership at Blink! While this can increase based on your coverage needs, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
It covers liability
In addition to protecting your belongings, it also protects you in the cases of negligence. Say for example you forget to turn off the sink and the water overflows into your neighbor’s apartment. Your insurance can help pay for the damage. It can also cover pet injuries, so if your dog accidentally bites someone in your apartment, you can cover their medical expenses. Standard policies provide around $100,000 in liability coverage and $1,000 and $5,000 for medical payments. Most insurance also provide higher payouts for additional money.
It might cover you while you travel
Yes, your insurance will cover your belongings even if they leave your apartment. If you suffer from theft or other covered losses, you’re protected.
With that said, you don’t get as much coverage as you would if the items remaining in your home. There’s a much lower reimbursement limit and the “covered losses” vary from insurance company. Your best bet is to get an agent on the line and figure out what to expect while traveling.
It may provide temporary living expenses
It doesn’t happen often, but if for some reason your apartment becomes uninhabitable and you’re forced to stay somewhere else temporarily, some policies might cover the associated costs for living elsewhere including rent and even food. You’ll need to check your policy to see how long it will cover these living expenses and any caps you need to worry about.
You can take your insurance when you move
You don’t need to deal with a new insurance company or different policy when you move apartments. All you need to do is let an agent know the new address and the expected move-in date. Even if you don’t provide this, renter’s insurance covers you up to 30 days after a move, so you can use that time to make sure your new address is on file. With that said, your policy does not cover any personal property that’s damaged during a move. For that you’ll need moving insurance. If you’re using high quality movers in NYC, they generally have their own insurance to reimburse you for any breakage.
Renter’s insurance is one of the most underutilized insurance offerings on the market despite being the best way to protect your belongings as a renter. There’s no better time than now to get insurance. After all, you never know when something might happen and by the time it does, it’ll be too late to buy insurance. If you’re planning a move in NYC and don’t have renter’s insurance yet, add it to your checklist of things to do once you move into your new place. It’s peace of mind and in today’s world, that’s priceless!