Folks, Get Renters Insurance


By Yolanda Spivey

Kimberly Wilkins, aka Sweet Brown, became famous for an interview she did for a news station after evacuating from her Oklahoma City apartment building that was on fire. Sweet Brown was the laughing stock to many as she described how she awoke to get a “cold pop” and thought someone was “barbequing” only to soon realize there was a fire.

Although she became a YouTube sensation overnight, having a song penned after her famous quote, “ain’t nobody got time for that,” what Sweet Brown experienced was no laughing matter.  The worst thing that could happen during a fire, besides losing your life, is seeing your home, along with all of your worldly possessions, go up in smoke.  Having no insurance to replace your valuables only exacerbates the situation. conducted a survey and found that only 34 percent of American renters have renter’s insurance.  That means if you ever suffer a loss and you don’t have renters insurance, then you are a$$ed out.  Your landlord’s is not responsible for replacing your belongings.

Renters insurance is cheap!  For only $10-$15 dollars a month, your belongings can be protected from theft, fire, water damage and more.  Your policy also offers you “loss of use” which is replacement housing if you have to live somewhere else while your place is being fixed.  Loss of use also pays for meals and travel expenses.

In my practice, I get a lot of questions concerning renters insurance.  Here are a few common questions I’m constantly asked by clients and the answers I provide them:

I rent my home.  Am I covered for losses under my landlord’s homeowners or landlord insurance?

No. Your landlord cannot insure your personal property, (your personal computer, clothes, stereo, television, jewelry, furniture, bicycle, artwork and other items), against destruction or loss. Renters insurance, however, will give you both property and liability insurance and its very affordable, typically costing less per month than a cable bill.

Is a renters insurance policy inferior to a homeowners insurance policy?

No. Renters insurance provides essentially the same coverage as homeowners insurance, but without coverage on the dwelling. It covers personal property, protecting the renter against many causes of loss, such as fire and smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, wind storm and water damage from plumbing as well as offering coverage for personal liability.

Does renters insurance cover all of my possessions?

It depends. Some possessions, jewelry, firearms, silverware, etc… are subject to a per category theft limit. Most renters policies set a $1,500 total limit on jewelry that is stolen, a $2,500 limit on firearms and a $2,500 limit on silverware or flatware. Many people feel that their pets are their prized possessions. Unfortunately when it comes to insurance, your pets are not covered. Other items, such as money, securities, personal records, and watercraft, are subject to special limits of liability. If your valuables exceed these limits, you may want to consider purchasing a floater, which provides additional coverage for some of your items.

What if my family and I cannot live in our home because of damage caused by a fire?

Your renters insurance will pay for your living expenses that exceed those normally incurred before the loss, if an occurrence renders your home or apartment unfit to live in. This is a true benefit if you are required to live in a hotel for any length of time or pay for meals at a restaurant while your place is being renovated.

Will I be covered under my renters insurance if I am sued by someone who was seriously injured at my residence?

Yes. If a lawsuit covered by your policy is filed against you or against a relative living with you, your personal liability coverage under a renters policy will pay for legal defense costs and attorneys fees. It will protect you if you accidentally cause bodily injury to others or damage someone else’s property either at your residence or away from your residence.

 What should I be on the lookout for in selecting a policy or in checking my existing coverage?

When purchasing renters insurance, choose a policy wisely to be sure that all your possessions are covered. To begin, renters should take a home inventory, noting the description and value of their belongings. A copy of this inventory should be stored in a safe place outside of the home, such as a safe-deposit box. The inventory will be of great assistance later if you need to file a claim.

Also, be sure to inquire about property not covered under renters insurance, theft limits and other special limits. We’ll provide you with a list of standard coverage limits, so you know whether you’ll need to buy a floater.

If your apartment or home has a security system, smoke detectors or deadbolt locks, you may be eligible for discounts on your renters insurance.

Listen folks, you wouldn’t drive a car without car insurance so why would you rent an apartment without renters insurance.  It’s important to protect yourselves in all facets of your life.  Just imagine losing all of your possessions in a fire.  You are faced with having to start all over again.  Do you have enough savings and resources to start all over?  Renters insurance would be a very wise investment because like Sweet Brown said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”


Yolanda Spivey is the owner of Michael Whitney & Associates, a boutique insurance brokerage.  She also blogs and is writing her first fiction novel.  You can email her at or follow her on twitter at mwhitney7.   Please also like her page on facebook at


One Response to Folks, Get Renters Insurance

  1. Rhonda Mcneil says:

    This was an informative article!

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