Author Topic: Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap  (Read 4607 times)


  • Stubble
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Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap
« on: January 08, 2015, 01:27:54 PM »
I've been in my apartment for about a year and realized that it might be a good idea to have some renter's insurance.  There's one problem, though, that I'm sure some of you have had.  Based on my research, it sounds like I should make a record of all my major possessions, including the purchase price and receipt, if available, so that if I need to make a claim, I can document the value of my belongings. 

Here's the issue: most of my big ticket items were super cheap (thrift store, flea market, Craigslist) or free (gifts, leftover from previous roommates, salvaged from dumpsters or bulk trash pickups).  This means that I would need to report an insignificant or nonexistent purchase price, and I have almost no receipts.  I'm afraid that if I need to make a claim, my insurance policy would pay almost nothing since I did the same, even though my items still have some value.   

I could technically replace all my stuff fairly cheaply, but acquiring stuff cheap/free takes time: you can't just walk into a thrift store and expect them to have everything you need at a decent price, and finding/being gifted things is all a matter of chance.  It may take months to get back everything I once had in this manner. 

If I need to make a claim, would I be able to get any significant amount of money to buy replacement stuff?  Or do I just need to save the money I would spend on the premium and hope that one of my neighbors doesn't accidentally burn down the whole complex?


  • Stubble
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Re: Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2015, 02:01:19 PM »
Generally they *should* only want receipts for high dollar items and may require things like fancy TVs, iPads, etc to be declared individually.  For items like clothes that you may have purchased cheaply but wouldn't necessarily be able to do so in a pinch (like if the apartment burned down or whatever) I always just took pictures inside my closet, open kitchen cabinets, each individual room, etc to document what I had that would need replaced.  Granted I never had to make a claim, but I can't imagine them wanting a receipt for clothes and basic living items unless perhaps you were trying to replace them with expensive designer bullshit.

I'd specifically ask an agent or CS rep what documentation the company you go with needs from you to ensure a smooth claims process in the unlikely event your neighbor sets the complex aflame or whatnot.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2015, 02:14:22 PM »
I've never made a claim on renter's insurance, but have made a claim on homeowner's, including what was (at the time) a ~$1000 TV. I just told them the make/model specs and what I thought it would cost to re-buy a comparable model, and omitted the fact that it was a gift.*

Your stuff has a "market value" (or "replacement value") whether you actually paid that much for it or not.

Also, maybe I've just been lucky, but I've always gotten fair payouts (from the incident above as well as from other incidents involving auto insurance) without having to negotiate or argue.

(*Actually, I was gifted an older TV with a "three-service-calls-and-you-get-a-store-credit" extended warranty that had already had two service calls, but that my unmustachian in-laws couldn't be bothered to deal with.)


  • Bristles
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Re: Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2015, 02:24:31 PM »
Renter's insurance typically covers actual cash value of belongings (meaning what the item cost minus depreciation), but you can pay extra for replacement cost value (what it will cost you to buy the stuff again new).

I doubt most insurers would require you to provide receipts for every item purchased. It's more likely that an insurance claim adjuster would review the police report of what was damaged/stolen and make you an offer to for $X to replace specific items.

I've rented rooms in different houses for about the last 8 years and didn't bother with adding replacement cost insurance. If someone stole my TV or something, I'd just do without until I could buy another one. I've always seen renter's insurance more as my own liability coverage in case of a fire.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2015, 02:26:49 PM »
Another aspect of renters insurance you might consider is liability insurance.  You will be covered if someone got hurt in your apartment of if you caused damage to someone's property even outside your home.  If you have a dog it will also cover your if they bite someone.

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2015, 09:36:30 PM »
Put the 300 per year you would spend on the insurance and call it good.  You're over thinking this.


  • Bristles
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Re: Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2015, 11:21:50 PM »
We require our tenants to obtain tenant insurance.
We are only concerned about the liability portion.If they, or a guest, does something to cause damage, their insurance provider pays.

Last year we had 2 tenants, who went away when it was -20 cel, and the pipes froze and split.
One had coverage, ad the insurance paid.
The other didn't, and we have a judgement against them.

For $200-$300 year...get the insurance.


  • Bristles
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Re: Renter's insurance for all my cheap crap
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2015, 05:43:27 AM »
Get the insurance. My daughter and her husband lost nearly everything in a fire 3 years into their marriage and everything they owned was either a gift (wedding/shower) or hand me down or purchased used.  They pegged their insurance claim and received a check for 50k.  They were shocked at how much of that they spent in the first couple of months reestablishing their home (and after lots of donations from friends, family, and work) because they were purchasing items new, not on sale, and as needed rather than when they found an awesome deal on it.  They were never asked for receipts for anything just a list of everything they lost.  Its well worth the cost per year if you have a loss.