Most of us are familiar with the saying, “There’s no place like home.” Unfortunately, unforeseen incidents, such as fire or water damage, can quickly turn your home upside down. While most homeowners have insurance to cover them in case issues arise, many renters don’t believe they need insurance.

Every day, I hear from people who don’t believe they need a renter’s insurance policy. Many renters believe some or all of the following, and subsequently don’t purchase insurance:

  • My landlord’s insurance will cover me.
  • My stuff isn’t worth very much.
  • I don’t entertain or have company.
  • I don’t have a pet.
  • If something happened to my apartment, I could stay with a family member or friend until repairs are made.

The truth about these myths

1. Your landlord’s insurance policy will cover neither your personal property, should it be damaged, or your living expenses, should you be displaced for some reason. Your landlord’s policy also will not cover your furniture, your clothing, or anything else that you brought into the apartment. To have this protection, you must purchase your own renter’s insurance. Depending on where you live, some landlords even require you to have renter’s insurance.

2. If you think that your belongings aren’t worth a lot, think again. The costs of even the most inexpensive items can quickly add up when you need to replace all of them in the event of fire, theft, pipe break, vandalism, or some other catastrophe. Having your own renter’s policy is the only way for you to be sure you have protection for these situations.

3. Even if you don’t entertain, you still have liability exposure. For example, if you are at the store and someone trips on your purse or handbag and gets injured, he or she could sue you. The medical payments coverage on your renter’s policy may cover the injured person’s medical expenses, even if the incident happens off premises. In addition, if the person is seriously injured and sues you, your renter’s policy will provide defense for you as well as pay any judgments or awards made against you. If you don’t have renter’s insurance, you could be forced to pay these expenses out of pocket.

4. You do not need to have a pet to need liability protection. Do you have children? If your child is out playing ball with friends in the neighborhood park and the ball accidentally shatters a neighbor’s window, your personal liability can cover the cost to repair or replace the property, as well as cover any legal costs.

5. If your apartment is damaged, you may not realize how long it can take for repairs to be made. If there is a fire in your apartment, for example, you could be out of your home for more than three months. Wouldn’t you rather have your own space than need to depend on friends or family to put you up? An important coverage on all renter’s insurance policies is loss of use coverage. Loss of use coverage will cover your expenses for temporary housing until your apartment is once again livable.

Renter’s insurance is a cost effective strategy to protect your current and future financial security and also provide you with invaluable peace of mind. To get more information, call your local independent insurance agent or do some online research using reputable insurance companies as resources.

Heidi Petschauer graduated from St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., in 1983 with a B.S. in management. She joined her late father’s firm, Petschauer Insurance, in 1982, became principal in 1995, and now shares ownership with her partner and cousin, Erwin Petschauer. She received her Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation in 1997. She currently facilitates the professional and creative development of the entire Petschauer team and manages the personal lines and social media departments