Most renters go without renters insurance - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Most renters go without renters insurance

Dubuque (KWWL) -- Several recent eastern Iowa fires have been in apartment buildings, where some renters find they don't have sufficient insurance coverage. Only 3 out of 10 renters across the country have renters insurance according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Insurance agents say renters insurance is a pretty inexpensive way to make sure you'd be able to replace things lost in a fire, or even help you out if you caused the fire.

Insurance agents say renters insurance is one of the least expensive ways to protect your property.

"People assume that because your contents might consist of your grandmother's sofa, and that they don't feel that has much value that if there would be a fire and they would lose everything that actually they would have replacement costs," insurance agent Nancy Wallace said.

At Nancy Wallace State Farm in Dubuque, policies typically range from 8 to 15 dollars a month and give between 20 and 50 thousand dollars in contents coverage.

"If you think of a bedroom, you would have your comforter, your clothes, your shoes, your curtains, anything you actually bring into the apartment, and it's your property would be covered," associate agent Kimberly Burnett-Hackbarth said.

That 8 to 15 dollars also gives you 100-thousand dollars in liability

"Let's say the tenant causes the fire because they left a pan on the stove, then the apartment catches on fire, all of those things are lost, the liability would actually cover the tenant themselves," Burnett-Hackbarth said.

Agents say a big misconception is that a landlord's coverage also covers the renter.

"The landlord usually has a policy, but it only covers their own personal property, or interest that they'd have in that property, and it doesn't cover any kind of liability," associate agent Paul Haverland said.

Another consideration: what your neighbors are up to.

"I was renting an apartment and there was a neighbor that started a fire. He lit a cigarette, fell asleep while he was smoking and the cigarette caught fire to the couch, and caused quite a bit of smoke damage in the building. That's when I decided I knew that I needed to have it. Because it's not just what you do or accidentally do, it's what other people could do," Burnett-Hackbarth said.

Many agencies will also give you a discount on your car insurance by getting a renters policy. Another place Wallace says to look for discounts: If you buy renters insurance, most agencies will give you a lower rate on your homeowners insurance when you buy a house in the future.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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