The Perils of Not Having Renters Insurance

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nobody gets up in the morning thinking, “I think I’ll have a natural disaster today.” So why do so many people turn down an affordable opportunity for protection against some of life’s most unexpected events?

Disasters rarely happen on schedule. They’re not penciled on our calendars. They have nothing to do with convenience. (In fact, they’re usually most decidedly the opposite.) And they occur with zero regard for how close we are to payday, how much we have in savings, or what balances we’re carrying on our credit cards. There’s no harnessing nature, but renters insurance can help us control the personal fallout of its fickleness.

Now more than ever, the media is a font of scary scenarios about homes destroyed, possessions ruined, and billions of dollars lost, all in the name of disaster. We grow up knowing our home states are vulnerable to certain patterns: California, earthquakes and wildfires; the Midwest, blizzards; the coasts, hurricanes or typhoons; the Deep South, tornadoes. Thanks to modern meteorology, seismology, or the scientific community’s countless other “ologies,” we have the ability to anticipate and prepare for many of these events, sometimes to the tune of false alarms. But what happens to your possessions or resources in the event it’s no false alarm?

Most people understand the need to insure a car. Yet many don’t recognize the need to insure a home, particularly a rented one. In case of an unforeseen event, having apartment renters insurance can mean the difference between being reimbursed for damages, versus having to replace assets – clothing, electronics, furniture, the list goes on – completely out of pocket.

True, most of us don’t walk around with a constant “sky is falling” mentality, worried that the next great disaster is going to smite our area at any given moment. But renters insurance isn’t just protection against “The Big One.” Apartment fires are just as inconvenient. Water damage happens, too. And for city dwellers, break-ins can result in the loss of countless possessions that aren’t financially feasible to replace. Think of everything you have in your home at this very moment. Then, recall the number of years or dollars it’s taken you to acquire those things. Could you replace them all now, if you had to? Most of us would answer in the negative.

Call it bad luck, call it forces of nature, or call it just a really bad day. But misfortunes happen, and they don’t have to have a name. We can’t control the events of our lives, but we can be proactive and smart when it comes to how those events affect us. Don’t wait for “The Big One,” when a “Little One” could uproot your life just as easily.

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