InsurancePersonal Finance

4 Mistakes You Could Make Buying Renters Insurance

Having or not having renters insurance can mean the difference between winning and losing when disaster strikes. If you’re in college, chances are that you live with friends and everyone has a few thousand dollars worth of stuff. The stories are all too common – person leaves the door open and a laptop’s gone in seconds (move-in day my sophomore year) or there’s a party and an Xbox disappears. You get the picture.

We pay less protection money these days than in mob times.

Fortunately, it’s actually really cheap to have insurance coverage for $10,000+ in goods. For a first time buyer, it’s important to be aware of some things you might miss or forget to do in the search, though. You can’t just go with the first company that shows up in Google or whatever coverage you just “think” you might need. That’s why we put together a list of five major mistakes to avoid when you’re choosing a provider and plan for renter’s insurance. We may or may not have made some of these ourselves.

Buying Too Much or Too Little

This could be a costly slip-up both ways. Some people might place more value on their possessions than they should out of sentimental reasons. Even worse, you might be deciding how much renters insurance you need by eye-balling your possessions. Just guessing at what everything’s worth because you don’t remember could lead to a lesser valuation – and less chance at having enough coverage to actually replace your item. The same way you would estimate a car’s value with a service like Kelly Blue Book, you should use a free tool like the one at Gadget Value if you really can’t remember an accurate amount.

guy overspending on renters insurance

Not Shopping Around

Your monthly price for renters insurance might not be very expensive, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at a few different companies in the process anyway. Use a tool like QuoteWizard or Coverhound to compare renter’s insurance and see everything on one page. That way, if you have a preferred carrier who quotes you more, it may be possible to negotiate a better rate using their competitor’s quote. Make sure you’re asking for the same levels of coverage, though. That could take the wind out of your negotiating sails pretty quickly.

Deciding It’s Not Worth It

We know first hand how boring it can be to shop for something that won’t deliver tangible results right away. It might be tempting to look at a couple of companies in one tab then dive into a YouTube or Facebook rabbit hole by telling yourself you don’t really need it. The tough part is you won’t have a YouTube rabbit hole anymore if your house burns down and the uninsured MacBook gets torched. Then you’ll need to distract yourself with squirrels like back in the old days. Those things were deadly!

Skipping The Bundle Option With Your Current Policy

After using the “Ask Kate” feature in my Geico mobile app, I managed to finally get into the renter’s insurance quote section. Your current car insurance provider (mine is Geico) probably has a discounted rate available if you bundle. Again, make sure all the right coverage is there before getting too excited about the price.

Tying It All Together

If you rent and have the usual electronics that most people do, you need to look at getting renters insurance right now. Unless you don’t care about your valuables anymore, (making them not very valuable!) this is something you can’t waste any more time without. There are a number of companies out there like Geico and Lemonade that make it easy to get coverage for yourself quickly. Just don’t make the four mistakes above when you’re shopping around!

Bob Buckley

Bob Buckley writes about food and business.