When’s the last time you thought about getting insurance coverage for your apartment?
If it’s something you actually think about, you’re no worse off, considering less than half of American renters possess renters’ insurance.
We see from these stats that there isn’t much awareness when it comes to such insurance policies. Or at least, not about its immense value.
Now, if you’re already weighing your options, congrats! You’re on track to save yourself from unnecessary financial liabilities.
However, you do want to ask the right questions before picking an apartment insurance provider. This is crucial, as providers have varying clauses, and you need to make sure you’re getting a worthwhile deal.
Here are questions to ask insurance agents about their apartment coverage:
1. What Does Coverage Include?
Renters’ insurance covers unforeseen damage that could happen to you in the building you’re renting.
Some of these circumstances are out of your control, and there’s always a chance that they may occur. Take, for instance, a break-in or a gas leak that ends up causing fire damage.
Also, there are different types of coverage under renters’ insurance. You’re going to want to know exactly what’s in any policy.
2. What’s Not Included in the Coverage?
You’ve asked about what your coverage includes. Don’t forget to ask what it does not include!
It’s worth keeping in mind that renters’ insurance does not cover many things. Replacing collectibles and damage due to flooding and pests are typically not covered.
Also, just because you get apartment coverage doesn’t mean everything in your apartment is safe. A standard renters policy rarely covers high-value items, such as jewelry.
You’ll notice terms like “limited” coverage. You should ask about this as it means you can receive coverage only up to a certain extent on certain items.
3. What if Something Happens in My Absence?
With renters’ insurance, you protect your items from damage, not knowing it’ll definitely happen. The whole point of insurance is not taking risks lying down.
Therefore, if damage does occur, it may happen regardless if you’re home or not – case in point, with theft or fire.
You have to make sure that an apartment insurance provider has policies that are not vague regarding your presence in the event of damage.
Standard renters’ insurance coverage should remain active even if you’re not home at the time of the incident.
4. Do You Cover Pets?
This is one of the most crucial questions people ask when considering apartment insurance, and rightly so. You must ask this if you have a pet.
Generally, renters’ insurance covers pets.
But not all of them.
People keep all kinds of pets, and insurance providers have varying policies on what they accept and don’t. So you’re going to need a clear answer.
Some companies will provide full pet coverage. Others will have coverage limits depending on the type of pet you own.
5. How Do You Handle Claims?
Like any other form of insurance, you must file a claim for the damages you’ve incurred.
Keep in mind that the damages have to correspond with the covered risks before the company approves your claim. Also, depending on the insurance provider covering your apartment, the process could be simple or quite tedious.
One thing for sure, you’ll need to have lots of information to provide the company.
It’s essential to ask about the process of filing a claim and what’s expected of you before you get approval.
6. Are You Listed in Any Comparison SIte?
A prospective insurance provider will probably claim they have the best deal you can find. But can they prove that?
Never commit to a company when you’re not entirely convinced they’re a match for your needs.
A reputable company will care about your need to make a choice that’s right for you and not just closing the deal.
If their deal is competitive, they should be happy to show you the figures compared to their competitors. Browse reviews on reputable websites or even ask your neighbors or friends their opinion.
7. How Do I Assess My Insurance Needs?
You’re applying for renters insurance for the first time. You’re bound to having limited knowledge of how stuff works, and it’s ok. This is what questions are for.
Think about it, if you’re new to this form of insurance, you probably don’t know how to go about assessing your items.
If you’re not sure how to appraise the financial worth of your items, ask your potential provider about it. You could end up undervaluing your items if you do not do so.
When you’ve undervalued your belongings, it’s going to be challenging to prove their true worth when making a claim.
8. What if I Have Other Existing Policies?
It may be insurance fraud to hold two renters’ insurance policies with two different companies simultaneously.
But you may have policies with other companies for specific valuable items you own, such as jewelry or a painting.
It’s vital that you disclose to an insurance rep that you have insured valuables in your possessions.
9. What if Damages Occur Outside The Apartment?
As a general rule, renters’ insurance covers personal property, even that damaged outside your apartment. You may think the chances of that happening are slim, but that’s not the case.
Stolen property is one of the things covered under apartment insurance, which happens often enough.
Still, this is a general rule. It’s vital to ask if they still cover your belongings when they’re outside the premises.
It’s easy to brush aside renters’ insurance as unnecessary. But if you have valuable items, you definitely need it. In fact, some apartment managers insist renters purchase insurance before moving in.
The thing is, renters insurance is one of the cheapest types of coverage around.
Our advice? Do the math and see if it’s a better option than forking out cash to cover replacement costs.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Chelsea Museum District to help them with their online marketing.