As we recover from one of the worst national real estate markets on record, young millennials are again being enticed to buy homes. Mortgage rates remain low so data suggests it’s cheaper to buy a home than pay ever-increasing rents! But that decision isn’t always easy.
When deciding whether to buy or rent, there are many factors to consider, including, but not limited to, job stability, relocation, and relationships. When it comes to financing, costs associated with owning a home include the mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance – which, as many people know, can be never ending! And that’s not all. Many millennials graduate from college with thousands of dollars of debt.
With all of those expensive variables, it’s understandable that saving for a down payment isn’t a priority. So many millennials choose to rent.
One important cost that applies to both owners and renters is insurance. Yes, that’s right! Most landlords require this as part of the lease agreement. Even if it’s not in the lease, it’s in your best interest to carry insurance for your personal property, as well as for liability.
You may think you don’t have much to insure, however if you take inventory of everything you own, it adds up quickly. If you had to replace all of your personal property, including clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics, small appliances, sporting equipment, etc., it could certainly cause a significant financial setback. With a renter’s policy, minimum property coverage starts around $30,000 and, if you needed them, you could get higher limits.
Most people understand property coverages, however, personal liability, which is a much greater exposure, is often overlooked. Personal liability comes into play if your actions are responsible for someone else’s injury. Here are some examples: You leave a box on your apartment steps and someone trips on it. You’re responsible for snow removal and a passer-by slips on the icy sidewalk. You accidentally hit a child while flying your drone. A friend runs into a post while trying out your new hover-board. If an accident like this occurs and you’re responsible, you’d have to pay for medical treatments, tests, surgeries, prescriptions, plus their time off of work … all out of your own pocket. It’s frightening! A standard renter’s policy includes personal liability coverage which could help protect you if you’re found negligent and responsible for someone else’s injuries. Minimum liability limits start at $100,000 and can be purchased up to $1million.
Finally, what if a fire destroyed your apartment building and you had nowhere to live? The renter’s policy also provides coverage for additional living expenses. This covers any necessary increases in living expenses while you’re displaced because of a covered loss. You may have to stay in a hotel, eat out, board a pet, or incur increased mileage to get to work. These costs would be covered until you’re able to move back into your apartment.
A basic renter’s policy is fairly affordable. For as little as $150 a year, you’d have broad protection and peace of mind while you save for that American dream of owning a home!
This blog was written by Personal Lines underwriter Amy Justman. Amy has been with West Bend for 15 years.