With all of the expenses that go into renting a place to live, one that is often overlooked or viewed as unnecessary is renters insurance. Obviously rent, electric, water and heat are the truly essential components of your monthly outlay, but a little extra-curricular spending on renter's insurance is almost always a wise investment.
One thing to consider is that renters insurance is usually way more affordable than you would think. A typical policy is about $140 per year or less than $12 per month. To reject out of hand such a small monthly expense as unnecessary and too expensive is pennywise, but pound foolish. When you think about it, even if you never need to file a claim, the peace of mind that comes along with it is certainly worth the cost of a movie ticket.
Another facet of renters insurance to consider is that you can tailor a policy to your specific needs. That same policy described above carries with it $30,000 in personal property coverage, which is on the low side, but $300,000 in property damage and injury liability coverage. One might opt for these levels for a variety of reasons. The low personal property coverage makes sense for people who don't have many items of high-value (or those who store their valuables elsewhere); the higher amount of property and liability coverage makes sense for people who have shops, backyard fire-pits and other potential hazards, who risk accidental fires or other damage as a result of these hazards.
You are also protected in the event that someone who is visiting you sustains an injury while on your property. While you may think that your landlord's insurance will take care of your neighbor's broken hip as a result of tripping over a crack on your patio, this might not be the case. For a few dollars a month on top of your regular bills, you can rest easy knowing you're covered in these kinds of situations.
Another situation where renter's insurance is particularly useful is if you are a pet owner. Many landlords don't even allow pets in their properties, but those that do often require renters insurance as a precaution. It is a good idea, even if your landlord makes no such stipulation. Animals are inherently unpredictable. You'd hate to be financially responsible when your cat does some serious damage to the property, or your dog takes a chunk out of the electric company worker when he comes into your yard to read the meter.
Based on the different factors of low monthly cost, peace of mind, and actual financial impact if you ever do need to file a claim, renter's insurance is something everyone at least needs to consider. Contact a few different agencies and see who can provide you with the best combination of cost and coverage to suit your particular needs. Truly this is one of those times where it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.