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WHY IS RENTER'S INSURANCE WORTH A SECOND LOOK?

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, about half of all renters donít take out any kind of tenantís insurance. Yet itís extremely important for renters to be protected financially in the event of major unexpected damages or losses. Tenantís insurance is reasonably pricedó a small price to pay for the financial protection of all the possessions that renters normally keep at home, as well as liability coverage to cover, for example, an injury suffered by a visitor who slips on a rug and breaks a hip.

Is it really worthwhile? My stuff isnít worth very much. Many renters choose not to take out tenantís they under estimate the value of their personal belongings. But just imagine if there was a fire in your apartment and you had to replace everything you own all at once. The average person would find that with a one-bedroom apartment, a policy for $15,000 coverage would probably not be adequate. To estimate what your belongings are worth, conduct a home inventory. List all your goods, including clothing and furniture, and estimate what it would cost to replace everything.

Possessions may be valuable, but liability costs can be enormous. As a renter, you are legally responsible for the harm you cause to any part of your building, and to others who live or visit there. Suppose your toaster oven starts a fire that damages not only your apartment, but also the entire complex. Not only would you have to replace your own possessions, you also could find yourself liable for the cost of repairs to the whole building, even if your landlord has fire insurance. As well, your responsibilities extend even beyond your own actions. For example, if you are hosting a party and your friends get out of line and cause damage to the building, you could be liable for the resulting damages.

As a student, Iím covered under my parentsí home insurance, arenít I? If you are a student studying out of town during the school year, your parentsí home insurance policy will usually provide some coverage for contents and liability while youíre away from home. However, this coverage often has limits. Itís best to check with your insurance advisor to determine whether you should purchase additional coverage for the years you are in school.

Get to know your stuff and keep your records safe. Taking inventory of your possessions allows you to evaluate the amount of coverage needed and helps minimize stress after a fire, break-in, or other type of loss. There are many ways to create a home inventory; choose a method that works best for you.

One particularly good option is available through both the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Insurance Information Institute. To access this free software for conducting a household inventory, visit: www.ibc.ca or www.knowyourstuff.org At both websites, the software can be downloaded for storage on a secure server. Itís also a good idea to keep receipts and warranties for large items such as televisions and computers, scan them to a digital format, and include these electronic records with the inventory. The receipts serve as proof of ownership and value if you need to make a claim. (...)

Tenantís insurance provides affordable peace of mind. A basic tenantís insurance package for an apartment in a building can cost between $125 and $200 a year. (...)

Get to know your policy and adjust your coverage as needed. No insurance policy covers everything. Take some time to review your policy and get answers to your questions. (...) The wrong time to discover what your policy does ó and does not cover ó is in the aftermath of an accident.