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Consider the protections of renters insurance

Featured in Focus on Finances

Once in a while, we see some statistics that really cause us to scratch our heads. For example, the Insurance Information Institute reports that while the majority of homeowners have homeowners insurance, a whopping 69 percent of those who rent do not have renters insurance. 
You don’t have to be a financial planner to do the math, but by our calculation, that’s about 
28 million households that may not be protecting their stuff or themselves. With a typical price tag of around $200 a year (yes, we said “year,” not “month”), that seems like a large oversight of valuable protection at a reasonable price. If you’re a renter, here’s some food for thought as you consider renters insurance:

It protects you when your landlord won’t. Whether it’s a fire or some other catastrophic event, your landlord’s coverage likely covers the owner’s structure but not your furniture, electronics or other stuff. USAA protects you with replacement cost coverage even in the event of flooding or earthquakes – that’s very cool. With replacement cost coverage, at our option – subject to policy limits and policy deductible – if you actually replace the property, we will pay you the lesser of our cost to restore, repair or replace the damaged property, or the amount you actually spent to restore, repair or replace the property.

It covers you when you get kicked to the curb. What if a fire at your apartment leaves you scrambling to find a place to live? Your renters policy is there to cover those lodging costs, and even foots the bill for other expenses like dining out.
Who’s got your back? If that seemingly staid party at your place turns into an “animal house” with injuries, your renters policy offers liability protection and may even pay for others’ medical expenses.

It protects you when you’re on the move. Renters coverage through USAA can cover items listed on a shipping or storage document prior to the move. So even if your stuff is lost in transit or storage, you won’t be. For coverage to apply, property must be under a bill of lading or other professional shipping document before being shipped. The policy must be in force before goods are placed in transit. Breaking, marring and scratching are excluded.

It protects your stuff, even in your car. Ever had something stolen from your car? If so, you probably didn’t have much luck being made whole through your auto policy. Renters insurance can cover your stuff around the world. Every policy has limits and limitations, so check with your insurer, and if you have some jewelry or other high-value items, you may also want to look at a valuable personal property policy. Make sure you’re covered the next time you get caught up in a bad situation by adding renters to your insurance package. To find out more about renters insurance, give USAA a call at (877) 699-2654.

June Lantz Walbert and J.J. Montanaro are certified financial planners for USAA, The American Legion’s preferred provider of financial services. Submit questions for them online. www.legion.org/focusonfinances

This material is for informational purposes. Consider your own financial circumstances carefully before making a decision and consult with your tax, legal or estate planning professional.USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its insurance, banking, investment and other companies. Banks Member FDIC. Investments provided by USAA Investment Management Company and USAA Financial Advisors Inc., both registered broker dealers. USAA Financial Planning Services® refers to financial planning services and financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner TM in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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