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Everyone who rents a place to live should have renter's insurance coverage to protect their personal belongings and furnishings from a loss.
Thefts, fires and other disasters claim the property and homes of many people each day. Some are left empty handed with nowhere to turn because
they did not purchase insurance coverage that would have protected them from such a devastating loss. Most basic policies cost $100 per year or less.

Property owners and landlords are not responsible for insuring the contents of a building or home they rent. Their liability is limited as well. Renter's insurance policies can offer valuable replacement coverage for personal property, furniture, appliances and other valuables for a few dollars a week. A basic policy consists of four types of coverage which are Personal Property, Loss of Use, Personal Liability, and Medical Payments. Your policy will also be subject to a deductible at a level you designate. The deductible amount is what you are responsible for paying yourself before the insurance company picks up the balance of the claim.

Personal Property coverage is available at a minimum level of $4000. This is to insure your clothing, furniture, and other personal items that are in your home. Depending on the value of these items you may want to consider a higher limit on this coverage.

Loss of Use coverage is typically set at 20% of what your personal property limit is. This coverage includes such things as meals, hotels and other additional living expenses if you are forced out of your home due to a fire or other loss.

Personal Liability coverage usually has a minimum level of $100,000 and covers such things that you may be held personally liable for. Examples may include destruction of another person's property, causing physical injury to another person, severe dogbites or other damages you may be responsible for through your action or lack of action.

Medical Payments coverage is generally set at $1000 but may be purchased in higher amounts. This coverage would pay for accidental or minor injuries to a guest in your home or apartment. This may include things like an accidental fall on a wet floor or tripping over a lamp cord and breaking a finger while trying to catch the lamp. Certain limitations may apply to coverage values on some items such as computers, electronics, jewelry, art and other items. Supplemental coverage or riders may be purchased additionally to insure these items as well. This is called Scheduled Personal Property and a list of each item with its value is added to the policy for an additional premium.

Additional insurance coverage may also be purchased to protect a renter from flood and/or earthquake damage. Neither of these perils are covered in a basic policy.

There are two methods for calculating the value of a claim. They are Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value. Replacement Cost pays what it would cost to buy a new item to replace the item that was lost. Actual Cash Value pays the amount it would cost to buy a new item less the depreciation of the item that was lost. In other words, if your television was seven years old at the time it was stolen you may only receive half of what a new one will cost. Actual Cash Value policies are a little less expensive but in turn you receive less in coverage benefits. Most policies now include Replacement Cost coverage in basic policies or at a slightly higher cost.

Allstate, MetLife, Nationwide, Safeco, and State Farm are a few of the many companies who offer renter's insurance. Coverage may also be purchased through an independent agent. Shop around before purchasing a policy and ask for free price quotations. You should also ask questions regarding what is and is not covered with the particular policy you are inquiring about.