What Type of Affordable Renters Insurance Do I Need in Washington?
Washington residents can break down renters insurance policies in a number of ways. You can look into the type of calamities covered, the way your settlements are determined, and even the way your deductible affects payoffs.
We’ll look at all of those factors, but let’s start with a basic understanding of what renters insurance is for Washington residents and why having it is so important.
What Is Renters Insurance and Why Do I Need It?
Renters insurance covers such calamities and unexpected crises as fire, theft, vandalism, damage from storms, broken water pipes, and similar incidents that might ruin your possessions.
You might think that if something disastrous happened to your rented housing in Washington, your landlord’s homeowners policy would cover it. But that’s not always true. It depends on what kind of damage occurs and how it affects your individual living space.
Basically, your landlord is responsible for the structure. That means the walls, ceiling, floor, heating/cooling, electrical, plumbing systems, and all other landlord-owned and controlled elements of your living space.
So if a pipe bursts, your landlord would be financially responsible for fixing that pipe and whatever damage was done to the structure. But if that burst pipe destroys your electronic devices and the antique armoire your grandmother left you, that’s on you. Your stuff … your responsibility.
It’s also none of your landlord’s concern if a visitor trips over a child’s toy on an interior stair-step and breaks a leg. It’s you who’ll be held legally responsible, not the building’s owner.
Renter’s insurance can protect you from liability damage such as described above and can even pay for your living costs if the crisis results in you and your family having to relocate while your space can be rehabbed.
You get all of this protection for what typically amounts to less than a dollar per day. That’s why we think renters insurance is a no-brainer. Now let’s take a closer look at the types of coverage and the options you should discuss with your insurance agent.
The 3 Components of Coverage Under Renters Insurance
We touched upon each of these components earlier. These are the three types of claims your insurer can handle with a renters policy.
- Personal property: This concerns the possessions in your living quarters. Everything you own and keep in that rented space is covered, including furniture, art and jewelry, clothing, collectibles, electronics, and household goods.
- Liability: This is the lawsuit protection offered by your renters insurance policy. If a visitor trips and falls, burns themselves in your kitchen, or otherwise hurts themselves, this coverage will protect you legally in the same way that your homeowners policy would if you owned the space.
- Loss of use: If someone in another unit starts a kitchen fire, your unit might suffer significant smoke, fire, and water damage. The fire might be so destructive that you have to stay elsewhere for weeks or months until your unit can be properly renovated. Can you afford to stay in a hotel or executive housing for that long? You might find yourself living in your car unless you have renters insurance. The loss of use coverage feature will pay your additional living expenses up to the limits of the policy.
Perils vs. All-Risk in Renters Insurance
This is another set of factors that determine what your policy will cover and the cost. You can pick and choose some of what your policy will and won’t cover based on what you think are your biggest risks.
If you buy an all-risk policy, it will cover every type of risk up to your policy’s stated exclusions.
A perils policy, on the other hand, lets you pick and choose what it will cover. For instance, if you live where the weather can be damaging, your policy might focus on that risk. If your rental is in parts of Washington state where earthquakes are more common, you might consider paying extra for this coverage as an add-on.
If the neighborhood is questionable, you might feel it’s more important that your policy covers such man-made risks as break-ins and vandalism. You can save money with a policy that only covers the dangers you fear most.
Renters Insurance Actual vs. Replacement Value
How will you be compensated if you do have a property claim? Your settlement might be based on replacement or actual value costs. An actual cash value policy pays what the damaged or destroyed object is worth at that time. So if your computer is five years old, your insurer will factor in how much a five-year-old version of that make and model is worth.
A replacement cost policy will pay you what you’d have to spend today to get a new version of that lost possession. As you can see, a replacement cost policy can be pricier than an actual cash value policy because the settlements can be bigger, but the cost difference is only around 10% more. That nominal extra cost might be well worth it.
Your Deductible Amount Can Help You Get Low-Cost Renters Ins
This is the final factor that will influence how much you pay for your affordable renters insurance in Washington and how it will serve your needs.
Your deductible is simply the dollar amount that you agree will be your responsibility before your insurer pays the rest. If you have a $200 deductible on your renters insurance policy, and your living space suffers $1,000 worth of smoke damage, you’ll pay $200 out of pocket and your insurer will pay the other $800.
As you might assume, insurance policies of any kind (not just renters insurance) cost less in premiums if you pay more in deductibles. That’s because the insurer is responsible for smaller settlements if you agreed to be responsible for more. Your insurance agent can show you the cost difference at varying deductible levels for your Washington low-cost renters insurance.
Contact Vern Fonk for Cheap Renters Insurance Today
There are numerous cost and coverage variables possible in a renters insurance policy. Your Vern Fonk Insurance agent will be glad to go into the details and help you determine the mix of features and price points that work best for you.
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