What is renter’s insurance? Should I get it?

Living in an apartment near USF, you want to keep your things safe. If you own a home, you buy homeowner's insurance. If you rent, you have the option of buying renter's insurance. Many renters don't quite know what renter's insurance includes. Others wonder if it is a good value. Many renters simply forget to consider renter's insurance.

Every renter's insurance policy will have some differences, but there are some basic things that all renter's insurance will cover. First, you must understand what insurance your landlord has. You can ask them specifically, but, as a general rule, their insurance only covers your Tampa apartment's structural elements. Their insurance will not cover your belongings. Some apartment complexes actually require you to have renter's insurance and provide proof.

If there is a fire, hailstorm, lightning, or other such natural disaster, your belongings may be seriously damaged. Tampa is a place to be concerned about lightning, as well as hurricanes. Renter's insurance will help you to replace your belongings in such an instance. A pipe bursting may flood your house, which should be covered by your renter's insurance. Renter's insurance can also cover injuries suffered in your home. For example, if your friend slips on your wet kitchen floor and breaks his ankle, your insurance may cover his medical expenses.

Another area that renter's insurance is useful is in case of theft. Your landlord will not cover your belongings if they are stolen from your USF apartment. Renter's insurance will. Some will even cover identity theft. Some policies also cover your items if you lose them while traveling. Each policy is different, so figure out what you need before you buy. If you travel frequently, you may want to find insurance that covers your belongings during travel. If you don't, that's probably coverage you can skip.

You can easily get quotes for your renter's insurance online for your USF apartment. You may want to start with any companies you already have insurance with, like car insurance. Bundling multiple insurances with the same company can save you money. Renter's insurance is very affordable – depending on what coverage you want and the value of your items, it's generally in the $10-$20 per month range.

Even if you don't have a lot of expensive or nice items, renter's insurance is still something you should seriously consider. If a fire did destroy all your possessions, even if you get cheap replacements, costs add up. Think about re-furnishing your apartment, buying all new clothes, a new computer, television – it adds up quickly. If you don't have the money to cover these expenses, renter's insurance can be a lifesaver.

When buying a policy for your USF apartment, you will have to give an estimate of the worth of your belongings. This will affect the amount you pay, but also the amount of coverage you are receiving. Policies come in two types – actual cash value and replacement cost. If your policy is the actual cash value type, you will get the amount that your item was worth at the time it was stolen. If you had a two-year-old flat screen that you paid $400, you might only get $200, due to depreciation. If your policy were for the replacement cost, you would get $400, as that is what it would cost to actually replace your television.

If you are living in an apartment near USF, I would definitely recommend renter's insurance. If your apartment comes furnished, check to see if those items are covered by the landlord. If they are, you might be willing to go without renter's insurance, but your personal items, like clothes and electronics, will be at risk. If you are unsure, get a few quotes. Renter's insurance can be incredibly affordable, and it gives you peace of mind about your belongings.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentTampaBay.com or any of our advertising partners.