Most Renters Don't Have Insurance

I suppose no one should be surprised by this: most renters don't have insurance.

I fell into this group when I was in university. There I was, renting an apartment, and I didn't have a single penny of insurance. What if someone had been hurt in my unit and decided to sue me? Well, I guess you can't get blood from a stone, so I wouldn't have had much to lose.

Frankly, I didn't have enough money left over to pay for insurance. I was budgeted down to the last cent. But that's everyone's excuse.

In my case, I persisted in this insane behaviour even after I was working and had begun to acquire some fairly expensive personal belongings, including a stereo, jewelry and appropriate business wardrobe! If all I'd had to do was replace all the suits that I'd been working so hard to buy in the first place, I'd have been out a fair bit of money. And then there's all those things you don't think about that you use all the time -- your bed, your furniture (it may have been Ikea, but I would have had to buy it over if it was destroyed or damaged), the kitchen table and chairs, your lamps, your winter coats, your shoes and all the little things that populate most people's homes.

Renters insurance is usually not that expensive. After all, you don't have to insure the structure of the building -- you're insuring your personal items and perhaps getting a bit of liability coverage just in case your best friend trips over a towel you left on the floor and breaks an ankle. You're also getting coverage if someone should choose to break into your home and steal that beautiful new stereo system. Otherwise, it's all out of your pocket.

The biggest issue is likely liability -- the whole problem if someone hurts themselves while in your apartment. Once you are working and have some money, if someone sues you, it can mean real trouble.

Most of us are likely lucky. We play the odds and find that nothing happens and our personal belongings and financial security remain. But having lived through a serious housefire when I was still living at home with my parents, I do know how fast things can change. Our home burned to the ground in a few hours, and we had to replace everything. It's astounding how that can get you thinking about the benefits of having insurance.


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