ALEXANDRIA, Va., August 19—A new independent consumer survey conducted for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) has found that nearly two-thirds of those living in U.S. rental properties are currently risking severe financial loss by going without renters insurance.
The national consumer telephone survey of 1,000 people was conducted by International Communications Research (ICR)—an independent survey firm based in Media, Pa. When survey participants living in rental properties were asked whether they had renters insurance, 64.4 percent said no and 2.2 percent answered “Don’t Know.”
“IIABA and its Trusted ChoiceSM agencies are surprised by the survey result because our society pays such careful attention to securing auto insurance for our vehicles, yet we have millions of renters neglecting the need to insure the rest of their possessions,” says IIABA CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt.
“Consider the value of your furniture, television, stereo, computer, jewelry, clothes, and other items. They likely add up to more in value than your automobile,” Rusbuldt says. “And without renters insurance, what liability coverage do you have in the event someone is injured in your rental unit and sues you for damages?”
More than 81 million Americans rent homes in the United States. A frequent reason many renters give for not purchasing renters insurance is the expense. However, renters insurance policies cost as little as $10 per month. The average cost of renters insurance is $12 per month for about $30,000 of property coverage and $100,000 of liability coverage.
“The risks for our personal possessions are many: theft, vandalism, fire or lightning, hurricane or tornado, explosions, damage from smoke, damage by broken glass, water-related damage from home utilities ... and the list goes on,” notes Rusbuldt.
The most common misconception among renters is that they are covered under their landlord’s insurance in the event of fire or theft. Not so, verifies Doug Culkin, executive vice president of the National Apartment Association.
“The landlord’s insurance covers the building and the infrastructure of that building, whether it is the elevators, the air conditioning, or the structure itself,” Culkin explains. “That coverage does not extend into the homes of the individual residents and the possessions they maintain in their units.”
That’s where renters insurance comes in.
“Renters insurance covers the items you have in your apartment, condo, or other rental home should those items be stolen, destroyed or damaged,” explains IIABA President-Elect Louise “Bebe” Canter of Patterson//Smith Associates, a Trusted ChoiceSM agency in Falls Church, Va. “Renters insurance also includes some liability coverage should someone be injured in your home and you are held liable, or even in the event you accidentally burn down your apartment and the landlord’s insurance company sues you for damages.”
The survey results suggest that many families with college students could unknowingly put themselves at risk when they send their kids off to school this fall. While homeowners coverage extends to students who live in campus dormitories, there is a gray area for students living in off-campus housing. Students renting off-campus units need to check with their insurance agent to make sure their parents’ homeowners coverage extends to their possessions. If not, they would need to purchase a separate renters insurance policy.
Apartment renter Meg Gallogly admits that she is one of the more than 50 million Americans going without renters insurance. “It’s something I never really considered,” Gallogly says despite owning a stereo, large TV, laptop computer and lots of jewelry and clothes.
“Living in a small apartment by myself, I didn’t know it was something I needed. I’m not even sure how to get it.”
Renters can obtain renters insurance by calling or visiting a Trusted ChoiceSM agency in their area. An agency locator is available at www.TrustedChoice.com.
A Trusted ChoiceSM agent can help a renter evaluate the value of their possessions and determine whether renters insurance is a worthwhile purchase. In most cases, the answer is yes.
“All renters must realize that going without renters insurance means they would have to start from scratch in the event of a tragedy,” notes Rusbuldt.
“For as little as $10 per month, renters can rest assured that their possessions are covered in the event of a loss, and they will have liability protection if the pizza delivery man, a door-to-door salesperson, or any visitor is injured in their home.”
For additional tips about renters insurance and other consumer insurance topics, visit www.TrustedChoice.com.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.