Author Topic: Do I even need renters' insurance?  (Read 10293 times)

Chrissy

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Do I even need renters' insurance?
« on: June 21, 2014, 04:03:44 PM »
I have a whole year's worth of expenses in my emergency fund, which is about $22k (and I was being generous to myself).  I'm single, no pets or dependents, and rent a one-bedroom.  If I faced a catastrophic loss of property, it would cost ~$15,000 for me to replace every last item I currently have... at retail!

I have $25,000 worth of coverage at $181 per year.  Should I cancel the insurance altogether, and be self-insured through my hefty EF?  I was about to call and have the coverage lowered to $15,000, when the thought to cancel occurred to me.  Maybe hybridize, and insure for $10,000, knowing $5,000 would have to come from me?

Is a total loss of property an emergency meant to be handled by my EF? 

Fellow Mustachians, lend me your wisdom!
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 05:00:23 PM by Chrissy »

Joel

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2014, 04:08:21 PM »
I receive a discount on my auto insurance equal to approximately the cost of my renters insurance. So make sure you consider that in the price.

phred

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2014, 04:10:26 PM »
Is a total loss of property an emergency meant to be handled by my EF? 

that's something only you can decide.  However, if a guest trips over the vacuum in the dark hallway because you hadn't gotten around to replacing the lightbulb, and sues you for a million dollars, could your ef handle it?

netskyblue

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2014, 04:14:32 PM »
You have $15k of property NOW.  That may not always be so.  (Plus I think your renter's insurance is a bit high.)  But you could rent for 138 years and not have paid out in premiums $25k.  82 years for $15k.  I think it's a good deal.

And yes, like a PP said, liability coverage.

Gin1984

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2014, 04:16:51 PM »
Also, many landlords require it.

Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2014, 04:17:44 PM »
Joel:  I don't own a car.  It's not a question of affording the insurance, it's a question of necessity.

phred:  Haha!  I've got $100,000 of liability and $1,000 of guest medical, so if I'm sued for a mil, I guess I'm screwed either way!


Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2014, 04:25:58 PM »
But you could rent for 138 years and not have paid out in premiums $25k.  82 years for $15k.  I think it's a good deal.


Thanks, netsky, I hadn't thought of it from that angle.  I'm not blowing off the need for liability coverage, I just don't know any renter who needed to use it; but I HAVE known a couple renters with total property loss.  One was my sister!

Definitely leaning toward keeping the insurance, and lowering the coverage.

I'm with Allstate, if anyone's curious.

Zamboni

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2014, 04:43:59 PM »
The renters who just burned down my loved one's dwelling through negligence (left a clothing iron on and unattended) are probably going to need their liability insurance.

In the case of a catastrophe, you will also incur the cost of finding a temporary dwelling (typically a hotel for a few days at least.)  Then you'll have all of the costs of renting another place (application fee, security deposit, perhaps a rent premium for a short term lease, etc.)  Having renter's insurance can help bridge all of that.

I think you should keep renter's insurance, but find a better deal.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 05:41:16 AM by Zamboni »

Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2014, 05:08:31 PM »
I think you're right, Zamboni.  Thanks.

Sorry to hear about the property that was lost through negligence.  My sister lost everything when her upstairs neighbor's pipe broke, and a friend lost everything when a neighboring unit caught fire.  It occurred to me that I could be the victim of similar circumstances, but I hadn't thought that I could be the cause!

MrsPete

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2014, 09:51:14 PM »
1.  The possibility of a worst-case scenario in which you literally lose everything is pretty remote.  Could you drop the 25K of coverage to perhaps half that amount?  That would mean that in a real worst-case, you'd have some protection, but your cost would drop too.

2.  Having said that, it did happen to one of my siblings -- it was a house fire, and it was caused by faulty wiring in the house.  Not carelessness with candles or foolishness in cooking -- it was something beyond a renter's control.  However, the Red Cross provided more help than I would've expected:  A new bed, two outfits of clothing and a new pair of glasses. 

3.  The poster who points out that you'd need money IMMEDIATELY for clothes, perhaps a hotel, etc.  When my above-mentioned sibling's house burned, he escaped with ONLY a pair of pajamas.  No shoes, no key for his car, no identification, no way to get money out of the bank, no glasses = no eyesight. 

Lutra

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2014, 07:56:45 AM »
A little peace of mind never hurts given that renters insurance is cheap per month.  Mine is $11.40 per month through State Farm.  If you were to lose everything due to unfortunate circumstances, not having to dip into savings or an emergency fund because you were insured will help you get back on your feet that much more comfortably.  Nothing wrong with some peace of mind. ;-)

Daleth

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2014, 08:07:51 AM »
Joel:  I don't own a car.  It's not a question of affording the insurance, it's a question of necessity.

phred:  Haha!  I've got $100,000 of liability and $1,000 of guest medical, so if I'm sued for a mil, I guess I'm screwed either way!

What you have is $100k liability, $1000 guest medical,* and an insurance company that will hire an experienced shark of a lawyer for you, at no charge, to help you avoid any liability whatsoever or, worst case scenario, to keep the amount of your liability as low as humanly possible. People always forget that aspect of car, homeowner's and renter's insurance--the free lawyer trying to get you off the hook (because getting you off the hook is synonymous with getting the insurance company off the hook).

And as a lawyer, I can say that the $7000 you would have left over in your emergency fund after replacing all your stuff is nothing. It's pocket change. But if you want to spend it on a lawyer, be my guest... I just personally don't think putting your entire emergency fund at risk is worth the $15/month you would save. I do agree that you could look into going down to, say, $15k in property protection (keep the liability and guest medical where it is). If you don't have $25k worth of stuff, you don't need $25k of insurance on it, and if that can save you $3 or $5 a month or whatever, go for it. But keep the policy so you keep your liability coverage and free lawyer.


* The point of guest medical insurance is to cover the deductibles, copays and such when your guest gets hurt. It's low because your guest is assumed to have health insurance, which will cover their medical costs minus copays and deductibles.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 08:10:49 AM by Daleth »

NorCal

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2014, 08:24:08 AM »
I would recommend keeping it.  Just because you can pay for damages doesn't mean you want to.  We did appreciate our insurance after a residential burglary.  The liability coverage is even more important.

To me, the most important distinction (which you didn't list) is the deductible.  If you're okay covering a larger part on your own, you can get a much cheaper policy with a higher deductible.

rusty

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2014, 09:26:24 AM »
Check around with other insurance carriers.  I would also look at increasing the coverage/liability coverage.  It's usually fairly cheap to do so.  Some insurance companies have what is called "minimum premium."  This means that no matter how small your coverage is, there is a minimum premium.  In some cases you could double coverage and pay the same thing.

Like other responses posted, renters insurance covers other things:
Liability
Loss of use
replacement costs for contents

Pull your policy out and google some of the coverage.  Many people don't realize all that is covered by the policy.  Sadly, my experience as an insurance agent was often people calling me only to realize they choose to save a few dollars years ago.  Now they desperately need that coverage due to some loss.  Insurance is only worthwhile when you need it...


frugaliknowit

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2014, 09:32:02 AM »
You definitely need liability protection and it would not be easy to get temporary furnished housing in the event of a disaster.

Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2014, 10:24:36 AM »
Mrs. Pete:  Yes, I'm keeping the coverage, just going to drop the amount of it.  Your 3rd point makes a good case for Lasik!

Daleth:  You're absolutely right about the lawyer.  I was only thinking about protecting myself from freak occurrences and other peoples' idiocy, and not protecting them or myself from my own!  I could easily find myself in a pickle much larger than my emergency fund could handle.  And, thanks for the info about the guest medical deductible.  I suspected as much, but didn't know for sure.

NorCal:  The deductible is VERY low:  $500!  Gonna see if I can get that raised substantially when I call on Monday.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2014, 11:10:20 AM »
It sounds like you've already made the decision, but I'll post the contrarian opinion:
I've gone without renters insurance in the past, I think it was a good idea (it obviously worked out for me) and think people should consider it.

In case of fire, burglery, etc the property replacement can and should be be done by yourself through savings. If you can't afford to replace your stuff, you have too much stuff (probably mainly crap.. I speak from experience) and not enough savings. Sell some of the former and build the latter.

As for liability, that is a concern, but as you've pointed out your not covered against a large lawsuit anyways (which is probably very unlikely), most things that will happen frankly the person suing will be holding the landlord/property company liable as they would have more assets and better insurance. If you are the party of a lawsuit, depending on networth there is always the option of paying it out or bankruptcy...

The latter is of course a real course, but I think very unlikely, and something you will over pay to insure

Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2014, 12:28:54 PM »
frugaliknowit:  I'm in Chicago where a furnished studio sublet start at ~$1,500/mo.  I'd try not to get a sublet--I have people and family I could stay with--but if I had to go that route, I'd only do it for a month, maybe two max, as they repaired the old apartment, or while I looked for a new apartment.  I could afford it without the insurance... not that I'd want to!

CanukExpat:  You're correct; odds are I'd never use any part of the insurance.  I view it as buying peace of mind.  I'll lower the amount of personal property protection, and raise the deductible, so that peace is as cheap as possible.

curler

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2014, 12:54:53 PM »

NorCal:  The deductible is VERY low:  $500!  Gonna see if I can get that raised substantially when I call on Monday.

Playing around with some of the free online quotes, I found many instances where raising the deductible did not change the premium, at all.  So check what effect the deductible has on the premium before you bother with that.

Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2014, 12:59:15 PM »
Curler:  Absolutely.

Jags4186

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2014, 01:47:00 PM »
Insurance is an awful idea until you need it. Most people don't need it and that's how insurance companies make money!

It's a necessary evil IMO.

dodojojo

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2014, 02:00:06 PM »
I've rented all my life and never had renter's insurance.  My logic is that I have very little of value and the only things I care about are my cats and insurance wouldn't cover them.  And no amount of payout is going to cover their loss anyway.

I've never thought about it in terms of liability though.  I didn't realize renter's insurance covered that.  I guess if I caused property damage or loss, I would be screwed.


Nords

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2014, 02:35:05 PM »
Mrs. Pete:  Yes, I'm keeping the coverage, just going to drop the amount of it. 
NorCal:  The deductible is VERY low:  $500!  Gonna see if I can get that raised substantially when I call on Monday.
You might want to check the premiums for different combinations of total coverage and deductibles-- for example the premium on $5000 with zero deductible versus the premium on $10K with a $5K deductible.

My opinion of insurance is that it should be used for catastrophes that would wipe you out, not just inconvenience you for a few months.  People need high-deductible health insurance, life insurance (for some phases of their lives), liability insurance, and home insurance (if they own a home).  I think people can do without most vehicle insurance or personal property insurance.  Personal property insurance could be seen as a waste of money because having that much property in the first place is also a waste of money.

My spouse and I carried $70K of personal-property insurance for a couple of decades.  The one time we had a claim (lost books during a military transfer) we were dragged through claims hell.  We were also subject to quarterly "reviews" of our possessions and occasional appraisals on spouse's wedding ring.  Then there was the annual begging letter reminding us that we were "underinsured" and should have replacement-cost coverage instead of actual cash value coverage.  There's the whole issue of "documenting" your stuff with spreadsheets and images and videos and even original sales receipts.

We finally canceled the coverage.  If we were hurricaned out tomorrow, we'd use our lanai furniture until we could rebuild our inventory from Craigslist.  Or we'd spend a month in Bangkok before returning to the islands to rebuild.

When my Dad's Alzheimer's finally forced him to move into a care facility, we had to clean out his 2BR apartment.  Having to go through all of his stuff made me realize that... it's just stuff.  When my daughter moved out last month (college graduation), we gave her 4000 pounds of our valued personal property (two bedrooms plus the diningroom and half of the kitchen cabinets), and we really don't miss it at all.  It's kind of a relief not to feel burdened by our possessions.  I think my spouse would be happy to sell her wedding ring and other jewelry tomorrow and replace it with the Diamonique equivalent.  And then there's the whole issue of inherited jewelry that you wouldn't have chosen to wear in the first place.

So if the personal property insurance seems like a hassle, then reduce it.  If it still seems like a hassle (or if you don't care much about possessions) then cancel it.

Daleth

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2014, 03:41:29 PM »
As for liability, that is a concern, but as you've pointed out your not covered against a large lawsuit anyways (which is probably very unlikely), most things that will happen frankly the person suing will be holding the landlord/property company liable as they would have more assets and better insurance.

$100k is a large lawsuit for someone with only $22k in savings, and in any case once the lawsuit filer's lawyers start haggling with the insured person's lawyers, they very commonly end up settling for an amount equal to the amount of coverage (so $100k here) even if they started out asking for much more. It is true that people would probably try to sue the landlord too, if possible, but not everything you might be liable for is something that your landlord could be liable for too.

If you are the party of a lawsuit, depending on networth there is always the option of paying it out or bankruptcy...

I just think it's nuts to see filing bankruptcy as a better option than just spending $15/mo on renter's insurance. The bankruptcy lawyer will charge you thousands and your credit will be grotesque for a while, which can affect not only your life (e.g. ability to buy a house when you want to) but also your job (some jobs do credit checks).

Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2014, 04:58:18 PM »
Nords:  Agreed.  Most stuff is a nuisance.  I'm comfortable with what I've got, but, if there was a catastrophe, I wouldn't replace it all.

Daleth:  A $100k lawsuit is a large lawsuit for anyone.  As a Mustachian, I don't want to lose a penny!  I agree that $15/mo (or hopefully $10-$11/mo) is a small price to pay to insure my assets as well as my property, which hadn't crossed my mind until I got these responses.  Although, I would clarify that even a $100k lawsuit might not qualify me for bankruptcy... $22k is my cash savings, not my net worth.

Daisy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2014, 06:11:03 PM »
My opinion of insurance is that it should be used for catastrophes that would wipe you out, not just inconvenience you for a few months.  People need high-deductible health insurance, life insurance (for some phases of their lives), liability insurance, and home insurance (if they own a home).  I think people can do without most vehicle insurance or personal property insurance.  Personal property insurance could be seen as a waste of money because having that much property in the first place is also a waste of money.

My spouse and I carried $70K of personal-property insurance for a couple of decades.  The one time we had a claim (lost books during a military transfer) we were dragged through claims hell.  We were also subject to quarterly "reviews" of our possessions and occasional appraisals on spouse's wedding ring.  Then there was the annual begging letter reminding us that we were "underinsured" and should have replacement-cost coverage instead of actual cash value coverage.  There's the whole issue of "documenting" your stuff with spreadsheets and images and videos and even original sales receipts.

<stuff deleted>

We finally canceled the coverage.  If we were hurricaned out tomorrow, we'd use our lanai furniture until we could rebuild our inventory from Craigslist.  Or we'd spend a month in Bangkok before returning to the islands to rebuild.
So if the personal property insurance seems like a hassle, then reduce it.  If it still seems like a hassle (or if you don't care much about possessions) then cancel it.

I am battling through this myself now. I moved to a new condo mortgage-free. I haven't bought insurance for my internals (interior walls, appliances, personal property). I have a friend who is an insurance agent and he's trying to convince me to buy insurance. My building has adequate coverage that I pay into.

I'm on the third floor so I doubt any flood would hurt me. I have hurricane proof windows so they shouldn't be breaking in a storm. The only thing I worry about is fire.

Oh, and the policy includes "loss of use". I told him I'd stay with my brother or sister if something happened. But it's part of the included coverage so he can't remove it.

The premium is $600-$700!!!

I'm not sure what to do...

Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2014, 06:43:35 PM »
Daisy, the first thing you should do is get a second opinion.  Contact another company and get another quote.

Nords

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2014, 10:24:02 PM »
I am battling through this myself now. I moved to a new condo mortgage-free. I haven't bought insurance for my internals (interior walls, appliances, personal property). I have a friend who is an insurance agent and he's trying to convince me to buy insurance. My building has adequate coverage that I pay into.

I'm on the third floor so I doubt any flood would hurt me. I have hurricane proof windows so they shouldn't be breaking in a storm. The only thing I worry about is fire.

Oh, and the policy includes "loss of use". I told him I'd stay with my brother or sister if something happened. But it's part of the included coverage so he can't remove it.

The premium is $600-$700!!!

I'm not sure what to do...
The typical nightmare scenario is that your toilet refill valve breaks while you're away for a long weekend.  Thousands of gallons of water spew all through your condo, ruining the floors and soaking into the baseboard moldings, then wicking up into the drywall.  Thousands more gallons dribble down through the floor and the walls into the two units below you (whose occupants are also away for vacation), soaking them and ruining everything in their interiors from falling drywall, falling ceilings, and (possibly) electrical fires from water overflowing into the ceiling fixtures.  When you come home, water is pouring out from under the ground floor unit's front door onto the sidewalk and out into the street's storm drain.  When you open the garage door, a three-inch tall pool of water oozes out from underneath to join the sidewalk torrent.

All from a flooding toilet valve.

Since all of this occurred inside the walls of the unit, the condo association is not liable for any of the damage-- you are.

When you're pricing condo owner's insurance, ask about a flooding clause for just this scenario.  Some insurance policies require a separate rider.

Villanelle

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2014, 07:56:33 AM »
Renters insurance is a non-negotiable item for me.

I think people grossly underestimate how much it would cost to rebuild everything from scratch.  Every pair of socks, every bar of soap, evr kitchen pantry item,  all cookware, furniture, computers, tools--everything.   Even if you are pretty minimalist, those things add up quickly.  Just restockign a panty and fridge with sugar and flour and ketchup and olive oil, and everything else, is probably $500.  Then think about your pots and pans.  Sure, you can buy used, but you aren't going to have a lot of time to be able to stalk the local Goodwill until quality items appear.

I've known people who literally lost everything.  It was a military move and the warehouse used to store the shipments to overseas while people waited to find housing burned.  100% loss.  All these people had was what was in a few suitcases (which, I might add, is more than many escape with in a fire).  Now these weren't mustachians, but it was tens and tens of thousands of dollars.

On a related, note, having some sort of home inventory is a must, or your insurance becomes far less valuable.  You claim you had 12 pairs of white socks, but can you prove it?  I tried a home inventory app and found it beyond tedious and time consuming.  A good video of your entire house, opening each closet and cabinet and draw, and moving around the contents as necessary to show everything, take about 10 minutes.  Store it in the cloud somehow.

Chrissy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2014, 10:00:15 AM »
UPDATE!  I called Allstate, and lowered my personal property protection to $10,000.  This dropped the yearly premium from $181 to $135.  I also raised the deductible from $500 to $1,000 which is the maximum, and which further lowered the premium to $125.

So, I saved $56 with a four minute telephone call.  It's costing me $10/mo for peace of mind.  Feelin' pretty good about it.

Next, I need to make that video of the apartment, and store it in Dropbox.

Nords

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2014, 11:56:44 AM »
On a related, note, having some sort of home inventory is a must, or your insurance becomes far less valuable.  You claim you had 12 pairs of white socks, but can you prove it?  I tried a home inventory app and found it beyond tedious and time consuming.  A good video of your entire house, opening each closet and cabinet and draw, and moving around the contents as necessary to show everything, take about 10 minutes.  Store it in the cloud somehow.
Sometimes the root problem is having 12 pairs of white socks.

Here's another sea story.  I'm definitely not a minimalist (especially when it comes to longboards) but this incident started me on the path to "less stuff".

I used to own 3000+ paperbacks, lovingly collected since the 1960s and hauled around with me all the way up to 2000.  After one military move (when our daughter was in kindergarten) three boxes of paperbacks were missing.  The inventory said something helpful like "Books".  By my anal-retentive habit of shelving my books alphabetically process of elimination I knew it was something like "~100 paperbacks by authors of last names starting with letters D through F."  I forget the reason that the military wouldn't take the claim (not enough info?  too much weight?) but it ended up getting kicked back to our personal property insurer.

Armed Forces Insurance is pretty good, and we've been with them for over 30 years.  However they wanted an inventory list, or sales receipts, or more documentation than we had.  The member service reps agreed that they were asking for ridiculous details, but those were the rules.  I had a "replacement cost" policy which meant that I could get new paperbacks, but they wanted to make sure that I bought one-for-one replacements even if the titles were decades old or no longer in paperback.  The bickering went on for a few weeks and then I finally suggested that I'd have to hire a claims adjuster.  They wanted to make this stop negotiated that I could buy any 100 paperbacks (up to $1000), send them the receipt, and they'd reimburse me.

I realized that if I couldn't even remember the authors of my "precious" paperbacks, let alone the titles, then they probably weren't so precious after all.  I was still on active duty and had no free time, either, let alone time to go book shopping.  The claims clock was ticking but I wasn't looking forward to having to buy 100 books, collect sales receipts, and send in more paperwork. 

Then our daughter came home from kindergarten with a flyer from a Scholastic book fair.  We realized that we could buy 100 books from them and donate them to the school.

We talked to her school's librarian, and then we went shopping at the local Scholastic warehouse.  The librarian picked out 100 titles from the kid's paperbacks section (which, ironically, fit into three boxes) and I paid for them.  I got a two-foot-long cash register receipt that essentially said "100 paperbacks" and sent it in to AFI, who reimbursed me.  We also got a very nice letter from the school, and our daughter was a hero.

After that, though, I started culling the rest of my collection.  A few years later (faced with another premium increase) we canceled our personal property insurance.

In 2012 I entered the last paperback 250 titles into a spreadsheet with the intent of someday replacing them with Kindle versions, but so far there's been too much new material out there for me to get around to replicating my classics.  Today our hardcopy is down to yearbooks and about two dozen reference books.  I have another dozen titles that I should probably drop off at the library on my next trip...

UPDATE!  I called Allstate, and lowered my personal property protection to $10,000.  This dropped the yearly premium from $181 to $135.  I also raised the deductible from $500 to $1,000 which is the maximum, and which further lowered the premium to $125.

So, I saved $56 with a four minute telephone call.  It's costing me $10/mo for peace of mind.  Feelin' pretty good about it.

Next, I need to make that video of the apartment, and store it in Dropbox.
Very nice!  Better yet, it's done and you don't have to think about it every time you pay the bill...

Zamboni

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2014, 12:35:37 PM »
Well done on the premium optimization, Chrissy!

Nice job on the books, Nords!

Daisy

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2014, 08:56:52 PM »
Armed Forces Insurance is pretty good, and we've been with them for over 30 years.  However they wanted an inventory list, or sales receipts, or more documentation than we had.  The member service reps agreed that they were asking for ridiculous details, but those were the rules.  I had a "replacement cost" policy which meant that I could get new paperbacks, but they wanted to make sure that I bought one-for-one replacements even if the titles were decades old or no longer in paperback.  The bickering went on for a few weeks and then I finally suggested that I'd have to hire a claims adjuster.  They wanted to make this stop negotiated that I could buy any 100 paperbacks (up to $1000), send them the receipt, and they'd reimburse me.

See, this is what scares me. The quote I got for insurance is for replacement cost, but I have a lot of old stuff and not many receipts.

Nords, as far as the flooding, there is only one condo below me. The first floor is a garage.

So not sure what to do....gotta look around a little more.

Nords

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Re: Do I even need renters' insurance?
« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2014, 09:14:30 PM »
See, this is what scares me. The quote I got for insurance is for replacement cost, but I have a lot of old stuff and not many receipts.

Nords, as far as the flooding, there is only one condo below me. The first floor is a garage.

So not sure what to do....gotta look around a little more.
I think if an insurance company is faced with the "old stuff and no receipts" situation then they just ask for the ages of the objects, calculate an average (depreciated) actual cash value, and make you an offer.  Their time costs money so they don't want to negotiate, and the first offer is usually lowball.  If they think you're hiring a claims adjuster to do your negotiating for you then they may offer more money to avoid dragging things out. 

The rise of thrift stores and Craigslist has made "replacement cost" a little silly.  We're buying furniture that's 2-3 years old and doesn't depreciate much (or has a value of $500 but the owner sold it for $100).  Unless they demand a printout of a Craigslist ad and a handwritten receipt, the claim for "actual cash value" might result in the insurance company paying you more money than you spent to buy it in the first place.

Every condo is different, but you may be responsible for the wallboard on the interior.  If it's soaked in water, then the prospect of mold remediation rears its ugly head.