You seem like a fearless person. Courageous, even. You’re not one to be messed with lightly, and we respect that. We also know that neither Nostradamus nor your mother can strike fear into your heart, but what about the thought of parting with your 3-D, voice-activated super fancy television you just got with your first quarterly job bonus? Or your entire collection of vintage Supergirl comics all carefully encased and treasured accordingly? Slightly more fearful now?
Welcome to the insurance industry, preying on your fears, insecurities and unwillingness to gamble with your possessions since 300 BC when the ancient Romans took out insurance policies on their warships. Wonder what the deductible was…
Many people these days are very anti-insurance and view it as one big hustle intended to divest you of your hard earned money because something MIGHT happen to you or your stuff. If that thing never does happen, well, the money is still gone. However, those are the same people who eventually experience one of the following scenarios and desperately wish that they’d listened when someone suggested a renter’s insurance policy. Don’t be that guy.
5. Theft and stealing stealers who steal things
Thievery is awful. It makes people angry inside and they hulk out into giant green monsters looking to smash things. Unfortunately, it exists, and it sucks. Take the following scenario: Some out of town acquaintances are in the city for one night only and going out to sample the nightlife. They experience a bit too much nightlife and you invite them to crash at your place and drive safely home the next morning instead (how generous and safety-conscious of you). Perhaps you even set out little blankets and pillows for them, and some Advil, and even program the coffee pot for their early morning departure. Then perhaps, they walk out of your apartment with gratitude and your laptop…
Just like that, you’re out some serious dollars as well as all of your photos, documents, music files and other hard to replace items if you didn’t have everything backed up (if you don’t, try Carbonite). Renter’s insurance won’t pay to re-download all those James Taylor albums, but it would be paying for you to get a new computer. If you had it. (I didn’t…and yes, this is a true story.)
4. Natural Disasters, not including what’s in the dishwasher
In case anyone hasn’t been paying attention to the Mayan calendar, 2012 is shaping up to be a doozy. Last year alone saw a record number of tornadoes, floods, fires and overall apocalyptic destruction. Apartment fires are particularly common due to things like inattentive smokers, grillers of hamburgers and miscellaneous lighters of candles. Their mistake will often send their own apartment up in flames, and –since you share a wall– yours, too.
The same goes for washing machine explosions, plumbing incidents, flash floods, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes and other inconvenient occurrences. Damage to your building by nature (in insurance lingo, ‘Acts of God’) are your landlord’s problem, but not damage to your stuff. That means the entire apartment unit gets rebuilt, but if you don’t have renter’s insurance, you’ll be replacing your mismatched set of dishes and collection of beer bottle caps on your own dime.
It also wouldn’t hurt to invest in a small fire safe to protect important documents like your birth certificate, passport and/or the IOU you got from your roommate after the incident with the neighbor’s cat and the water hose. If your apartment goes up in flames or flood, these won’t.
3. Medical liability and when someone actually does shoot his or her eye out
One of the lesser known benefits to renter’s insurance is that is also acts as limited personal liability insurance. This may seem irrelevant unless you’re operating a small business out of your abode, but in actuality, you kind of are. Think of your business as Fun Inc., and your party guests as your customers.
If any of your loyal customers happens to slip and fall in your apartment, knocking out a tooth on the way down to the floor, YOU are technically liable. If you have renter’s insurance, you’ll be protected against suits for damages or medical bills. In our increasingly litigious culture, this is one area in which you really, really can’t be too careful.
2. Other happenings oddly covered and why that’s neato
Maybe it’s because the insurance industry thinks people with enough wisdom to take out a renter’s insurance policy in the first place are probably responsible individuals in general. Maybe it’s equivalent to the toy in the Cracker Jack box, but for whatever reason, renter’s insurance also covers a few things that have nothing to do with your apartment.
Among oddities covered are lost baggage from booking that suspiciously low-priced bargain airfare, items you may lose if your car is broken into, or even medical damages for the black eye you inflicted on a guy who totally deserved it in a bar room brawl. These scenarios don’t come up frequently, but when they do, you’ll be elated that your policy covers them.
1. It’s insanely cheap, that’s why.
Renter’s Insurance is cheap. It’s really cheap. In fact, it’s about the cheapest possible insurance you can buy, usually ranging between $10 and $20 a month. That’s less per month than you spend on gas, Red Bull, Cheetos, or toilet paper. You’re welcome to gamble on your future, but if you ask us, an average of $15 a month to protect you against theft, fire, flood, typhoon, hurricane, tornado, plumbing explosion, liability lawsuits, lost luggage, burgled vehicles and bar fights seems like a bargain. You’re crazy not get it!
The illustrious author of this article, Stephanie Huey, is an itinerant writer, sub-letter of apartments and lover of craft beers. Her favorite sentences are those containing syllepsis or ones that mention Vietnamese food, of which is she is inordinately fond.