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Do you need renter's insurance?


Your landlord's insurance will cover the structure itself, but not much more.
Your landlord's insurance will cover the structure itself, but not much more.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

There's a lot of confusion about renting and insurance. It's a popular misconception that, since the landlord has insurance, you don't have to worry about coverage of your own. If your apartment's living room sustains fire damage, the walls, carpeting, ceiling and floor may be covered by the landlord's policy, but your couch, chairs, electronics, books and other personal items won't be. The distinction is pretty simple: If you brought it with you when you moved in, you're responsible for insuring it.

Only about a third of renters have insurance in place. This is partly due to a poor understanding of their responsibilities. But the cost of insurance also plays a role. Students and low-income families are often renters. When money is tight, insurance can be one of the first things to fall off the to-do list. The good news is that a renter's policy is relatively inexpensive. Depending on where you live, you can get $30,000 worth of personal property coverage (the amount often recommended for the average renter with a two-bedroom apartment) for less than the price of a monthly trip to a pizza joint (about $250 a year).

We'll help you become an informed and well-protected renter.