Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Chicago–According to a recent report by Apartments.com, most apartment dwellers don’t have renters insurance–some 67 percent, in fact. That’s the case even though renters are 50 percent more likely to experience theft than those who own homes, notes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a part of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Apartments.com, an Internet-based apartment listing subscription service, surveyed 1,400 apartment-hunters nationwide on the question of renters insurance. The top reason survey respondents gave for not being covered is that they cannot afford it, followed closely by many who claim they didn’t know this type of insurance existed. Other respondents believe they don’t need renters insurance because their possessions are not valuable enough to make the investment worthwhile and that “nothing bad has ever happened to them.”
While nearly a quarter of apartment-seekers surveyed are under the assumption that renters insurance costs too much, the average premium is under $200 a year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The majority of Apartments.com survey respondents who do buy renters insurance said they pay on average $12.50 a month or less, and one out of 10 renters said they have had to use their insurance at one time or another.
The survey respondents who have insurance cited the following hazards as reasons for buying their policies: theft (79 percent); fire/lightening (70.7 percent); water damage (52.3 percent); other weather damage (e.g. hail, windstorm) (40.5 percent); and smoke damage (40.6 percent).
Some multifamily management companies and landlords also see value in renters insurance for their tenants. While most would likely prefer residents to carry renters insurance, nearly 20 percent of survey respondents said it’s mandatory at their apartment community.
“Tenants should have renter’s insurance for a couple of major reasons,” Bruce Sutherland, an apartment landlord in Melbourne Beach, Fla., and keeper of the Successful Landlord Blog, tells MHN. “They should have it to protect their belongings from major perils such as theft and fire, and also carry it should they become liable for a visitor’s slip and fall, for instance. In fact, I feel so strongly that they should carry renter’s insurance that it’s required as part of the lease agreement I sign with them.”