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by Ken May

Many of our clients over the years have said that they don't need renters insurance because they should be covered under their property manager's insurance. It's true that the building owner has insurance which covers the physical building and some liability insurance but does not protect the renter.

Here are some reasons to consider as to why you should have a renter's insurance policy (this obviously does not include people that own their own home):

• A renter's policy covers your personal property i.e. your "stuff". The minimum coverage on most renters' policies is $25,000. Do an unofficial inventory of your personal property and you may be surprised at how much stuff you own.

• Limited coverage for your personal property away from your premises - Many times, clients have had things stolen from their vehicle and believe that this is covered on their auto insurance policy. Unless something is part of the car, it is not covered on an auto policy. For example, a laptop is stolen out of the back seat of your car. Your auto policy does not cover this loss as the laptop is not part of

the car. However, you can file a claim with your renter's insurance company.

• Liability - What happens if somebody hurts himself while at your residence? Unless this happened in a common area away from your residence or the property owner is negligent, you are on the hook to pay for medical costs of the injured person. With a renters policy, you can have $100,000 or $300,000 coverage for very little premium especially compared to the medical costs you may have to pay.

• What if something happens which is a covered loss and you are forced to move out of your residence for a period of time? Renters insurance help defray the cost of living somewhere else temporarily including extra expenses that you would not have had if you were not forced to live elsewhere. This is usually a percentage of your personal property limit.

• Though this is not a great reason to have a renter's insurance policy, it may be required by the property owner who wants to insulate themselves from losses.

• A renter's insurance policy provides protection if a neighbor's unit damages your

unit. For example, your neighbor has a water loss which leaks into your unit.

• Did you know that if you insure your car and have a renter's insurance policy with the same company, most companies offer a multi-policy discount?

• The cost of a basic renter's policy is usually between $130 and $250 per year. Considering the coverage that you get on top of a multi-policy discount, this is a real bargain.

One drawback on most renters' policies is that they do not cover your roommates. It is up to each person living in the residence to have their own renter's policy.

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