Renters insurance: where and how to start

More voters in a recent Collegian Twitter poll did not have renters insurance than those who did rent and have insurance.

After the fire at the Founders Hill apartment complex Monday afternoon in Manhattan, a concern for students, parents and landlords is how to protect valuables and what happens when they are not protected.

For many renters in the area, renters insurance is mandatory. Renters insurance can help replace or cover the financial costs of damaged or stolen property, among other things. Having insurance can help in instances of water damage, fire damage, damage from windstorms and many other hazards, according to the City of Manhattan’s website.

The 2014 national average policy cost for renters insurance is about $15 a month, according to Forbes. The price also varies within the insurance provider and students interested can visit an insurance provider’s website to find out information.

Students looking to get more information about the general ideas of renters insurance can visit the Office of Student Activities and Services or visit their website for tips and advice. On the website is a tab with information pertaining to students who are living in off-campus housing or those who are considering moving to off-campus housing.

The City of Manhattan also has a page on their website concerning renters insurance under the Manhattan Fire Department subcategory. There, renters can find a inventory sheet to help them make a list of valuables to determine the amount of coverage.

The first step toward getting insured is to value assets. Many students do not think they have much, perhaps just a television and a computer. However, things add up.

Electronics, beds and desks, academic supplies like textbooks and backpacks and an entire wardrobe of clothes and shoes are a few things that a fire or other unforeseen circumstance can take. While buying a shirt does not seem like it would cost much money, buying an entire new closet of clothing can be costly and time-consuming.

The second step toward getting insured is to compare prices of insurance policies. The Kansas Insurance Department has a tool that will compare insurance policy prices based on the county a person is renting in. This can be helpful in the next step toward getting coverage.

After determining the worth of the valuables in the apartment or home and then comparing insurance policy prices, talking to an insurance provider is the third step. While there may be bundles with health, life or auto insurance policies, there are multiple companies that offer only renters insurance.

Finally, some helpful questions to consider asking an insurance representative may be: what proof is needed when making a claim, what exactly is covered—for example, if a flood is covered, is a sewage backup covered?—and what help or support will be available from the insurance agency.