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ISSUED 12/23/2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RENTER’S INSURANCE VALUABLE PROTECTION FOR MANY CONSUMERS

Unlike most homeowners, renters have a choice when it comes to purchasing insurance. While homeowners insurance is usually a requirement for a mortgage, renter’s insurance is an option many consumers forego on the assumption that it is an unneeded additional expense.

“Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about renter’s insurance and too many renters go without it. Renters need to understand that they face many of the same potential risks that homeowners face in connection with personal property and potential liability for accidents at home,” said Superintendent Eric Dinallo.

Among the most common misconceptions:

  • “Renter’s insurance is too expensive, and I already have enough bills to pay.” The fact is that most average renter’s insurance policies cost between $15 and $30 a month. The cost of replacing all of an individual’s personal possessions, or being liable for an accident at home, would likely cost much more.
  • “My landlord has insurance, so I’m already protected.” Your landlord likely has insurance for structural damage to the building and might even be protected against damage caused by tenants. However, that does not protect your personal property, nor does it protect you from being liable for something like an injury to a visitor who trips and falls while inside your apartment.

The Insurance Department offers these tips for consumers considering renter’s insurance:

How much renter’s insurance do you need?

Talk to your insurance agent about the property you want to protect and the hazards you want to protect against. Your agent can give you specifics based on the type of policy you should consider. The agent can help with such issues as which hazards are included in different policies, how you should determine the value of personal property, what optional coverages are available, and how much liability coverage is included.

Can you get a discount on renter’s insurance if your residence has particular safety features, like a burglar alarm?

Many insurers will reduce premiums if you have fire or burglar alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and/or deadbolts on exterior doors. Some companies might also offer discounts if you have more than one policy with them.

Could owning a pet cause your premium to be higher?

Certain municipalities require that owners of select breeds of pets have insurance policies to cover damages and/or injuries caused by the animal. This liability might be covered under a standard renter’s insurance policy, but some insurance companies might require the purchase of additional coverage.

Does renter’s insurance only cover you when you’re at home?

Many policies do not limit protection to home-based situations. For example, insured personal property is often covered if it is stolen by someone who breaks into your car, or if it is damaged while not inside your home.

Is personal liability included?

A renter’s insurance policy covers your property and your personal legal liability for injuries to others while they are in your home.

Will you receive additional living expenses if you have to live somewhere else while your apartment is being repaired?

Many renter’s policies will cover the cost of additional living expenses if there is damage to the property you are renting and you must live elsewhere while the property is being repaired.

More Information

Additional consumer information on renter’s insurance may be found at the following site on the Insurance Department’s web site, http://www.ins.state.ny.us/hmonindx.htm. The site includes a “Consumer Shopping Guide for Homeowners and Tenants Insurance,” as well as a home inventory checklist consumers may use to catalog their personal property. Consumers with questions should also feel free to contact the Insurance Department between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-342-3736.

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