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Renters insurance very important, often overlooked

GREATER SPRINGFIELD — Many adults and college students are moving into new apartments in September, but few have insurance for their possessions. Often overlooked, renters insurance is more important today because many apartment dwellers own expensive TVs, computers, furniture and clothing, according to John Laprade with Harrington Insurance Agency in Holyoke. “Most renters don’t have it because they mistakenly believe the landlord will cover their loss,” he said. Additionally, the parents’ homeowners policy doesn’t fully cover their kid’s property when the student moves into a dormitory or an apartment for the school year. Apartment insurance, as it’s also called, covers property when it’s damaged or destroyed by a fire, water leak or a storm, or is stolen or vandalized, whether in the insured customer is living in an apartment or elsewhere. Coverage for certain items, such as art and jewelry, is limited, but those who are interested can add extra protection for special possessions. Also, the policy will pay expenses to stay elsewhere, up to the limit the policy owner chooses, if he/she can’t live in his/her damaged apartment. The policy also provides liability coverage in case someone is injured in your apartment. “If a delivery man trips on a skateboard and gets hurt, the policy will pay his medical expenses and also cover you if he sues,” Laprade said. It also covers damage the policy owners or their children cause to someone else’s property. “You’d be covered if your kid accidentally hits a baseball into someone’s $4,000 stained glass window,” Laprade noted. Prices vary by town, but about $200 a year for a policy with the minimum $15,000 property coverage and $100,000 liability coverage is typical, according to Laprade. “When you buy renters’ and auto insurance from the same insurer, you’ll a get multi-policy discount. Insurers discount the auto insurance policy 5 percent to 15 percent, and also offer a discount on the renter’s policy,” he said. “If your auto insurance deductible is say, $500, you can increase it to $1,000, get the multi-policy discount, and use the savings to pay for the renters policy,” he added. The market for auto and renters insurance is very competitive in Massachusetts, Laprade noted. An agent should get quotes from multiple insurers and find the most competitive total package. Bookmark and Share