Renters insurance is a smart, affordable way to protect your belongings, but only 37% of tenants have it.

Most people wouldn’t think of owning a home without homeowners insurance or driving a car without auto insurance. So why is it that so many renters go without renters insurance? According to the Insurance Information Institute, 95% of homeowners are covered while only 37% of renters have renters insurance. The reason may be due to some commonly held misconceptions. Here are 6 myths about renters insurance.

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1. Renters insurance is too expensive.
On top of rent, utilities, groceries, and living expenses, the thought of another bill terrifies most people. Truth is, the average price of renters insurance is only about $15 per month. For the price of takeout dinner, you could protect your belongings from theft, fire, damage, and more.

2. My stuff isn’t worth insuring.
It’s common for renters to undervalue their belongings. Just because your apartment isn’t decked out with priceless art and Oriental rugs doesn’t mean your things aren’t worth a lot. The average renter owns between $20,000-30,000 worth of possessions. Look at your TV, computer, bike, furniture, clothes, shoes—if all that was gone one day, how much would it cost to replace it?

Bonus Tip: If you have your own auto policy, adding renters insurance will give you a multi-policy discount.

3. My landlord has insurance, so I’m covered…right?
Your landlord’s insurance typically covers the structure of the building you live in, not the contents or tenant’s belongings in it. If your possessions are stolen or damaged, it’s up to you to replace them.

4. My roommate has insurance, so I’m covered…right?
Your roommate might be able to add you to his or her policy, but sharing renters insurance can cause a lot of trouble. Your premium is based on an inventory of insurable items. If your laptop, TV, and clothes are a lot more expensive than your roommates, how do you figure out how to split the premium?

Also, coverage limits don’t increase automatically when you add someone to a policy. If your roommate has $10,000 worth of coverage before adding you to her policy, she’ll still only have $10,000 of coverage afterward. This probably isn’t enough to protect both of your belongings. Even sharing a policy with a live-in significant other can be problematic unless you truly co-own all your possessions.

5. My parents have insurance, so I’m covered…right? 
If you’re a college student living in campus-owned housing, your parent’s homeowners insurance typically covers your belongings. Off-premises coverage may be a percentage of what it is at home, but it’s usually enough to protect the contents of a dorm room.

Off-premise coverage may not apply if you live off campus. Your parents will need to check their policy to make sure, but even if you are covered, a separate renters insurance policy offers a lot more protection.

6. Renters insurance only covers my personal belongings.
True, renters insurance does protect your personal property, but it does a lot more too. Your coverage doesn’t stop at the front door—it follows you anywhere you go. If your luggage is stolen while on vacation, it’s covered. If your laptop is taken out of your car, whether it’s down the block or out-of-state, it’s covered.

Renters insurance also gives you liability coverage. This protects you if you are sued for claims that come within the coverage of your policy. For example, if the mailman trips on a frayed rug and sues you for damages, liability coverage would protect you from paying out of pocket. Or if your washing machine breaks and floods the downstairs apartment, you liability insurance would cover the cost of damaged property.

Ask your Yetter Insurance Agent how much liability coverage they recommend. Medical and repair bills can add up quickly, and you’ll be responsible for any amount over your policy limit.

How do I choose a renters insurance policy?
Your coverage needs depend on several factors like age, location, and risk of natural disasters in your area. You may also have to decide if you want a cash value policy or an actual replacement value policy. A cash value policy reimburses you for what your items are worth today—so if you bought a $1,000 flat screen TV 5 years ago, it might only be worth $200 today. A replacement value policy reimburses you for the amount it would cost to purchase an equivalent item today.

Choosing the best policy depends on your belongings and individual situation, but a Yetter Insurance Agent can help make sure you’re getting the best policy at the best rate.

Contact a Yetter Insurance Agent today for a competitive quote on renters insurance.