The Wisdom of Renter's Insurance

Accidents happen, even to UC Davis students. That’s why they’re called accidents, not on-purposes. One evening we were making sushi in our apartment when the fire alarms went off and we noticed smoke pouring out of an apartment across the complex. Long story short, no one was hurt, but I’ll never forget the sight of one of the residents sitting on the floor leaning against a wall sobbing. Turned out, she lived adjacent to the burned out apartment, and even though she wasn’t responsible for starting the fire, everything she owned had been ruined from the smoke and water collateral damage. And she had no renter’s insurance.

You are one neighbor-who-forgets-about-his-hibachi away from disaster. But renter’s insurance doesn’t just cover fire, flood, and foolishness. For pennies a day, many policies also offer you theft, liability, and coverage for other losses and incidents that may or may not take place in and around your home. (One friend of mine was getting harassed on a mountain trail by a fellow jogger who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, and so she helped him “accidentally trip.” When he sued her for his sprained wrist and ankle – or ego, take your pick – her insurance covered it. Not that we advocate violence against clueless glass-bowls, but….)

Still having trouble imagining why you might want or need renter’s insurance? We like this blog entry.

Thievery is awful. It makes people angry inside and they hulk out into giant green monsters looking to smash things. Unfortunately, it exists, and it sucks. Take the following scenario: Some out of town acquaintances are in the city for one night only and going out to sample the nightlife. They experience a bit too much nightlife and you invite them to crash at your place and drive safely home the next morning instead (how generous and safety-conscious of you). Perhaps you even set out little blankets and pillows for them, and some Advil, and even program the coffee pot for their early morning departure.  Then perhaps, they walk out of your apartment with gratitude and your laptop…

It ain’t pretty, but it happens, and someday it may happen to you. If you want to read more reasons to give up three beers a month and invest in renter’s insurance, read the rest of the story at Apartment List Blog.