flooded neighborhood

Importance of Renters Insurance Before the Storm

November 19, 2012 | Apartment Lifestyle, Everyday Living

If the recent northeast hurricane has taught us anything, it is that you can never be too prepared in the event of an emergency—no matter the scale or scope. It also teaches us the importance of renters insurance. Surely apartment renters and home owners in New York had no idea of the effects this storm was going to have on them and their personal belongings. Renters were left with walls missing on their brick apartment buildings, and other renters had homes with flood damage beyond repair. While no storm is 100% predictable, taking steps to minimize loss, can help reduce the effects felt on a person regardless of loss due to robbery or a natural disaster.

Below are several tips apartment and home renters, like you, should consider in helping prepare for a variety of natural disasters and unexpected occurrences.

Know Your Rights

Before you enter into a lease, make sure you thoroughly inspect the potential unit and building to ensure that it is up to code. Important areas to watch for are the condition of doors, windows, and the presence of emergency alarms and precautions such as smoke detectors and ample fire extinguishers.

Get Renter’s Insurance

Many renters, especially younger ones, decide to forgo renters’ insurance if it is not required by the management. Your building management is responsible for structural repairs, but not your belongings. State Farm Insurance estimates that a monthly payment for renters’ insurance is less than $20/month for up to $30K in property, which is realistic for even students on a budget.

Have a Plan in Place

Disasters can happen at any time of day, so it is important for the whole family to agree upon a plan in case of an emergency. A few things to think about are: where everyone should meet up if home isn’t an option; how to get out of an apartment if necessary; any supplies that will be readily available; who to call and neighbors to contact as needed; and creating an emergency “go-kit” with radio, batteries, flashlight, water, food, etc.

Be Prepared During the Holidays

  • Choose a fresh Christmas tree and leave it up for no more than 2 weeks. A Christmas tree that easily loses its needles when shaken has been cut too early and is already drying out. Be careful not to place your Christmas tree near a major heat source such as a fireplace or heater because it will suck the moisture from the tree increasing the chances of your tree becoming an incendiary device.
  • Always make sure to turn your Christmas tree lights and holiday lights off when you leave your apartment or home or when you go to bed. Make sure you only buy strands of lights that have been safety tested and follow the directions and precautions provided for stringing and powering your lights.
  • Stockings by the fire really should be hung with care to avoid danger, better yet, find a different spot for them!  Holiday decorations made from yarn, paper and poly-blends can be dry and flammable so be strategic about placement and make sure those holiday scented candles are on a flat, stable surface to avoid accidental fires.

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