Did you know that about one-third of Baltimore housing is occupied by renters, according to U.S. Census data prepared by the Maryland Department of Planning? And while it’s unclear how many of these Baltimore residents have renters insurance to protect their personal property, research reveals that, nationally, 55 percent of renters go without.
The reasons are varied. For some, it may just be a matter of not having looked into it. Unlike homeowners insurance, which is typically a requirement of most mortgage lenders, renters insurance has no such directive, with little exception.
But renters also have many misconceptions about renters insurance. Below, we explore some of the common misconceptions about renters insurance and why it might be more important — and attainable — than you might think.
‘My stuff’s not worth much’
For instance, some renters simply think their possessions aren’t valuable enough to warrant a renters insurance policy. But, ask yourself this: How much would it take to replace everything you own in the event of a fire, burglary or some other disaster?
Seriously, add up the value of all your clothes, furniture, every laptop, phone or other electronic device (don’t forget all the angling gear you use to fish in those inland hot spots) — how much is all that stuff worth?
If you’re like most renters, that figure is likely higher than you might expect. Studies show that the average U.S. renter owns about $30,000 dollars worth of possessions.
‘My landlord’s insurance will cover it’
Other renters have the misconception that their landlord’s insurance will cover their property if something goes wrong. But the reality is that a landlord may have insurance to help cover the structural damage to your place if something unexpected happens, but it won’t likely cover any of your personal property.
You need your own renters insurance policy to cover your possessions in the event that they are damaged by certain events, typically things like a fire, theft, or water damage. Bonus tip: In some circumstances, renters insurance can also protect your things if you’re away from home … like, if your laptop is stolen from your car when you’re enjoying a game at Camden Yards (many people mistakenly believe their auto insurance would cover such a loss; it doesn’t).
If you’re paying high rent in Baltimore (the Baltimore Business Journal says Charm City is one of the most expensive areas in which to rent), you may think you can’t afford rental coverage. Many renters mistakenly overestimate the cost of renters insurance, or simply have no idea how much it costs. But the reality is that a renters policy in Maryland can cost as little as $10 per month for an apartment.
“Renters insurance is a small investment that can help protect you and your belongings,” says Carlos Sanchez, an Allstate Agent in Baltimore.
You can even reduce the cost of a monthly premium further in many instances; by bundling a renters insurance policy with an auto insurance policy, for example, or by setting your policy up with a higher deductible (the cost you agree to pay on a claim before your insurance kicks in).
Misconceptions about renters insurance aren’t limited to Baltimore residents — they’re common among renters nationwide. But, at the end of the day it’s good to know that renters insurance can be a good way to better prepare for the unpredictability of life — in Baltimore, or most anywhere.