Finding the perfect apartment in New York City takes time. But once you find it, the next step to take is protecting yourself and your belongings by insuring your apartment. Keep reading to find out why New Yorkers need renters insurance and what can happen if they decide to forego coverage.
Reasons People Skip Renters Insurance
Less than 40% of renters have renters insurance. These are some of the most common reasons why renters skip coverage.
- They can’t afford it
An insurance policy that covers your belongings, pays certain medical bills, and protects you in court sounds expensive. But for about the price of Spotify or a Sirius Radio subscription, you can have all this protection. Skip a few expensive dinners out and you’re protected for a full 12 months.
- Their belongings don’t have enough value
Your couch is outdated. Your dining room table has chairs that don’t match. The style of your television isn’t even found on store shelves anymore. But this doesn’t mean your possessions are valueless. It still costs money to replace them if they’re damaged or stolen.
- They don’t own enough to qualify
Just moved into a larger space and see a lot of empty square footage? Or maybe you live a minimalist lifestyle and only have a few basic pieces. They still deserve protection! Remember, renters insurance covers more than just your possessions.
- Their landlord has insurance
Even if your landlord has insurance, don’t make the common mistake of thinking their policy will cover your items. The landlord’s insurance will only cover the structure you live in, not the items in your home.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Renters insurance covers three main areas.
- Personal Property Coverage
If your items are lost in a disaster or stolen, your insurance will protect them up to your policy’s limit. For example, if your apartment is burglarized while you’re on vacation or your pipes burst in the winter and flood your closet, your renters insurance can get you back on track. You should definitely talk to your agent to make sure that you are insured for replacement value of your personal property and not actual cash value. This will make a huge difference at the time of a claim. We can explain the differences in greater detail so that you understand which option will protect you better.
- General Liability Coverage
If a guest in your home is injured (say they trip over a rug and break their ankle or slip on your steps and fracture their wrist), your renters insurance can cover their medical expenses. This coverage will also protect you if you injure someone or damage something outside your home unintentionally.
- Temporary Living Assistance
When the unthinkable does happen, you may find yourself without a place to call home. Renters insurance will reimburse you for hotel, dining, and traveling expenses while displaced. This is a huge coverage that is often overlooked. When was the last time you checked out hotel prices in NYC? Make sure you talk to you agent to make sure you have enough coverage for this important portion of your coverage.
Why New Yorkers Need Renters Insurance – 5 Examples
Still want to go without renters insurance? Put yourself in the following situations. What would your options be if any of them happened tomorrow?
Overall, you think you’re a responsible tenant. You always make sure candles are blown out before bed and you double check that you’ve shut the oven off after dinner. You don’t smoke and you always unplug your curling iron before running off to work. But the same can’t be said for your neighbors. All it takes is one irresponsible action from a neighbor and you could come home to a smoldering building instead of your home. If a fire does take everything you own, how much would it cost to get it all back?
-New living room set – $4,000 and up
-New clothing – $2,000 and up
-New dishes and cooking equipment – $1,000 and up
-Artwork, décor items, collectibles – $2,000 and up
We could go on all day. Between furniture, personal items, and necessities, the monetary value of your items adds up quickly. Without insurance, how long will it take you to replace them?
- Damage to someone’s property outside your home
You’re headed out of town for the weekend. You yell for your 5-year old to grab their backpack and meet you at the front door. What you don’t realize is they were playing in the bathroom and left the sink faucet running with the drain plugged.
You blissfully head out while your apartment has been set up for disaster. Over the next several hours, water continuously pours onto your bathroom floor, eventually leaking through and dripping into your neighbor’s apartment. But they’re not home either and the damage continues for days. Your neighbor just so happens to be a collector of fine art. They’re remodeling so most of their art is resting against the wall on the floor. Now it’s all been ruined and you’re financially responsible.
What will you give up first to pay for their items?
You’re taking your dog for a walk one afternoon. Mr. Poodles is usually calm and mild-mannered. But for some reason, he snaps at a man walking nearby and gets a taste of his hand. It’s not long before the man’s lawyer is reaching out to you about the lawsuit his client is bringing against you.
In most cases, your personal liability protection will come to the rescue. Just speak with your insurance agent about this portion of your coverage, especially if you have a dog, as not all breeds are covered. But if you don’t have renters insurance at all, your day in court could leave your finances in jeopardy.
- Injury to another person while in your home
Your friends are all hanging out at your place. The weather is bad, and money is tight so you’re just going to have a relaxing night in. About halfway through your evening, one of your friends trips on the rug. They can’t catch themselves, fall to the floor, and break their nose.
You head to the E.R., get her fixed up, and apologize profusely. Even if your friend doesn’t put the blame on you, you’re technically responsible for her medical bills. An x-ray alone can run $1,000 while the average cost of nasal fracture treatment is just over $7,500. So much for that vacation this year.
- Damage to another person’s property while in your home
Same group of friends, same relaxing night in. You’ve fixed the rug but after your friend plugs in their laptop, you become the clumsy one. You trip, knock it over, and it cracks in half. Cancel next year’s vacation too.
If insuring your apartment was something you had done before all these situations, you would have been covered. Insuring your apartment costs about $20 a month (sometimes even less) . We think the wise choice is obvious.
How To Protect Yourself with Renters Insurance
There is more involved in finding the right policy for your needs than simply asking for and receiving a policy. It’s important to get the right kind of protection and you may need additional protection above and beyond a standard policy.
This includes things like additional protection for valuable items in your apartment. For instance, if you own furs, jewelry, antiques, art, and high value items along these lines, you might need additional policies or have to add a rider to your policy to provide extra protection.
The same holds true for liability coverage. The general liability coverage that comes with your policy is a great start, but you may want to purchase additional protection when insuring a New York City apartment. Remember, it isn’t about how much money you have it’s about how much you will be sued for.
The reason is that if a kitchen fire starts in your apartment and spreads to several apartments around, below, or above you, you may be liable for the fire damage to those apartments, the water damage from sprinkler systems, damage to property in common areas, and any injuries that occurred from the fire or attempts to evacuate the building. The costs add up quickly and may easily exceed the limits of your policy.
Don’t forget the legal fees. Liability coverage also extends to legal fees. In the scenario above, you could be facing multiple lawsuits from multiple people, and the apartment building owners as well. You may want to talk to your agent about purchasing additional liability coverage plan beyond the apartment insurance coverage.
We know, it’s a lot to take in. That’s why we recommend speaking with us directly about your needs rather than trying to find your way in the dark. When you work with a brokerage like Co-Op, we’ll take the time to listen to your individual needs and situation. While other companies rely on algorithms and assumptions when providing quotes and coverage, we provide custom quotes and policies that fit your budget and life. Because we aren’t tethered to any one carrier, we are able to customize plans and search for carriers that will get you the most value.
There’s no denying that New York City is an exciting place to live. But accidents, break-ins, injuries, plumbing problems, and fires happen all the time – even when they are no fault of your own. Insuring your apartment helps to protect you from the worst of the financial fallout that happens afterwards.
Still not convinced every New Yorker needs renters insurance? Speak with an independent NYC insurance agent to discuss your situation.