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  Step 1 - Locate policies
  Step 2 - Get educated
  Step 3 - Determine needs
  Step 4 - Evaluate policies
  Step 5 - Make changes
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Renter's insurance

Being a renter makes you no less susceptible to theft or peril than a homeowner. Nor does it make you any less concerned for your personal property. Why, then, do so few people consider renter's insurance? Perhaps a lack of good information is the reason why people take the chance of leaving their property uninsured. Many renters mistakingly believe they do not need insurance. While your landlord most likely has a policy that covers the building itself, the policy does not cover your property nor will it provide any personal liability coverage.

Maybe you believe it's too expensive, or it's a waste of money. A "renters policy" (also called HO4) in most cases costs under $200 per year and provides around $30,000 worth of property coverage and $100,000 worth of liability coverage. This includes replacement cost for personal property, additional living expenses, personal liability and guest medical payments.

Now you are thinking that all you have is a few pieces of furniture that couldn't possibly be worth insuring. Besides, it is highly unlikely that anything will happen, right? Well, we hope that's true, but what if it does? Any chance that you will need to repair or replace your personal property that is damaged, destroyed or stolen as the result of fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism, theft, damage by glass, electrical surge damage, or water-related damage from home utilities?

The real question should be whether or not you can afford to purchase new furniture, towels, sheets, a telephone, dishes, utensils, groceries, pots, pans, clothes, toiletries, shoes, and coats all at the same time? And those are just some of the bare necessities. What about your stereo, TV, CDs, pictures, vacuum, books, camera, computer, etc. There are also additional costs you may incur when you have to relocate to a new apartment such as higher rent or additional connection fees for utilities. When you start adding every item, the amount could be staggering and few people could actually afford this type of catastrophic loss.

In addition to providing coverage for your contents, an HO4 policy includes Personal Liability coverage to protect you in some common situations. If you cause a fire, (for example: light a candle too close to curtains, overload an outlet or extension cord), the landlord's policy would pay the loss but his insurance carrier would look to you to repay the loss and may obtain a judgement against you. You may also be held liable if someone is injured while they are visiting you. The cost of the attorney alone is expensive.

Also consider that many of your neighbors may not have a renter's policy. You may believe that you are careful, but if they are careless and cause a fire that damages your property, you will have to pay to replace your damaged contents.

Whether or not you think renter's insurance is a good investment, it is worth your consideration. It may save you from paying out hundreds and even thousands of dollars in the event that an unforeseen peril destroys your property and leaves you without a place to live.

If you already have a renter's policy, then continue to the next step so that you can better determine your needs and evaluate your policy to make sure you have the right coverage. If you don't have a renter's policy, learn more about the benefits of renter's insurance so you can mkae an informed decision.

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