By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two words: Renters Insurance. Two more words: Get it.
A class action lawsuit was just filed against the owners of a luxury New Jersey apartment building that burned to the ground, causing no human fatalities although pets were lost in the blaze, and left 1000 tenants homeless. Who is legally responsible to pay for the damage to the tenant’s personal property?
While the plaintiffs in this case claim that the owner’s maintenance workers were negligently using blow torches to fix plumbing, most apartment fires aren’t caused by the owner’s negligence but by accident. One of the most common misperceptions of apartment dwellers is that the landlord’s insurance will cover them in the event of a fire or other damage the tenant did not cause.
The landlord’s insurance will pay for the damage to the building, but not to the tenant’s personal belongings. A recent survey found that despite the fact that renters insurance is one of the least expensive policies, nearly two thirds of all renters – fifty million of eighty million renters nationwide – don’t have renters insurance.
Renter’s insurance is a package policy, which is a combination of personal property insurance to cover your belongings and personal liability insurance in case a guest of yours is, for example, bitten by your dog or trips over your lamp.
Consider a replacement cost policy that covers not what you paid for your property but what it will cost you to replace it.