Homeowners generally know to carry home insurance -- heck, it's often required by law. But too many renters live without insurance on their homes. If you rent, don't assume that insurance is unnecessary -- keep reading. (And if you're a home owner, then pass along this advice to a renter you know.)

It's true that it's mostly the landlord's headache if your apartment burns down. But you'll bear a cost, too, besides the emotional trauma and relocation hassle. Here's what renter's insurance can do for you:

  • Protect you against theft of or damage to your personal property.

  • Cover some or all of your personal liability.

  • Sometimes pays for temporary housing, if your rented home is damaged.

With renter's insurance, you decide how much total dollar value of property you want to insure. Some policies will pay you enough to cover the depreciated value of various items at the time of loss, while others will cover replacement costs. This can be a big deal. Let's say you bought a computer for $2,500 a few years ago and it's now worth $250 (don't laugh -- this isn't an extreme situation!). It's suddenly ruined by water dripping onto it from an apartment above you. One policy might pay you just the $250 that it's worth, while another policy may pay you enough to buy a new computer with similar features.

Renter's insurance can cost as little as $100 or less per year. Compared with the losses you might incur, it can be well worth it.

Learn more about insurance in our Insurance Center. You may not have thought about some kinds of insurance, such as disability or long-term care insurance, but they're vital for many people. Take a little time to learn more and you may be very happy you did, if some calamity occurs in the future.

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