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Frequently asked questions about renter's insurance

What is renter's insurance?
If you rent your home instead of own it, you need renter's insurance to protect your valuables and safeguard against someone who might get hurt while on the property. If you rent an apartment or house, the idea of buying renter's insurance, also known as tenant's insurance, may not have crossed your mind. You may figure that because you have few valuables and little or no savings, you don't need it. But you're wrong. The first and most obvious reason to buy it is to protect your personal property. If all your possessions were stolen or ruined by fire, including your clothes, jewelry, stereo equipment, televisions, VCR, computer, camera, sofa, and bike, a renters policy would cover you up to a fixed dollar amount. A good renter's insurance policy also provides liability coverage that will protect you if someone is hurt while visiting your apartment, you accidentally damage the property yourself, or even if you cause certain types of accidents while you are away from home.

How can I save money on my renter's insurance?
The easiest way to save money on a renter's insurance policy is to increase the size of the deductible you must pay before the policy will cover you for a loss. However, it's important to remember this only makes sense if you have enough savings to pay the higher deductible if you have to make a claim. Also ask if you're eligible for any discounts. If you have dead-bolt locks on your doors or live in a doorman apartment building, you may be able to get a discount of as much as 10% on your premium. If you have a security alarm, a fire extinguisher, and/or a smoke detector, you can often get a discount of anywhere from 2% to 20%, depending on the type of system you have. Consider moving your automobile coverage and renter's coverage to the same insurance companies. Some insurers offer a dual-policy discount of up to 15%. Also contact at least three or four insurers -- including a few that sell their policies directly to the public, without paying a commission to sales agents -- as soon as your current insurer sends its annual renewal statement to see if you can get a better deal.