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75% of Renters Neglect to Insure Personal Property

March 22, 1992|Susan Jaques

Three-quarters of the nearly 35 million renters in the United States have no insurance to protect their belongings, according to a recent survey.

A basic renter's policy pays for personal property losses up to set limits, after a deductible. However, the payout is based on the depreciated value of your possessions, not replacement value.

A second option is to pay an extra 10% to 25% in premiums for a replacement cost policy. With this type of coverage, the renter may be asked to prove what was owned with sales slips, serial numbers and photos of higher ticket items.

"People tend to underestimate the value of their property," said Craig Srednick, associate with Michael Williamson's State Farm office. Srednick recommends that renters go through their apartment room by room, listing quantities, serial numbers and values of their belongings. This inventory book, along with photos, should be kept in a protected place, like a safe deposit box.

In addition to theft and fire, renters' policies protect against claims due to injuries to others. They may also reimburse for loss of use--the cost of living elsewhere when you can't occupy your apartment because of water or fire damage. Many carriers offer discounts when an apartment has a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, smoke alarms and dead bolts on the doors.

Selecting renter's insurance, like finding an apartment, requires comparison shopping. Prices can vary by area, size and age of the building and by carrier.

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