I start each day with a brief listen to the weather channel. It helps me to plan my clothing selection, activities for the day and the week ahead. In a way, this is a type of risk management. For example – I would not want to wear a tank top and shorts if the weather is supposed to be 40 degrees, raining and winds at 20 miles per hour. I’d freeze. I’m sure you have your own forms of risk management whether you think of them that way or not.
Insurance is a form of risk management. We all have it. Whether it is Auto insurance (required by state law to drive a vehicle), medical insurance or some other form of insurance, it is out there for us in our daily life and routines. In exchange for a sum of money (usually a premium paid monthly) and a deductible, we receive in return a promise that we will be compensated if loss should occur.
As a landlord or renter, you probably have or are knowledgeable about property insurance. Landlords typically have their homeowners insurance that will protect them against specific losses to the property as well as protection against personal injury. Once a homeowner decides to take the leap and become a landlord they also add a “rider” to their policy for Landlord insurance. This added insurance protects them further from financial losses to only their property. Tenants belongings are not covered under the landlords policy.
Renters, are not as obligated when it comes to obtaining insurance for their personal property. They have a choice in deciding if the property they own is worth insuring against loss. Most renters don’t realize how inexpensive it is to obtain their own policy protecting their belongings from damage (if the roof leaks, the basement floods or a tree comes through the home). Or, if someone is injured on the property due to your negligence (obstructing the porch stairs and the mailman trips and falls). While there are many companies out there that offer low cost policies, I would suggest you start with a company you already pay a premium to such as your Auto insurance provider or Medical insurance provider to see if you can get a reduced rate on a package deal.
There have been some situations where landlords have tried to stipulate that a renter carries renters insurance, however it is not enforceable under RCW 59.18.230 of the Residential Landlord Tenant Act. I however, strongly encourage renters to look into it as it is in your best interest to protect your belongings. In addition to your personal belongings, sometimes the insurance can also be used in the case of damages that are left behind in the rental that are over and above what the deposit will cover. Make sure you read the fine print carefully. The State of WA offers a great article on renters insurance at http://www.insurance.wa.gov/consumers/home/renters-insurance.shtml. If you’re in the State of OR, here is a booklet from the State of Oregon Insurance Division regarding all forms of insurance http://www.cbs.state.or.us/ins/publications/consumer/3253.pdf
One type of insurance that has recently begun to emerge in the US and hasn’t really caught on yet is Rent Assurance. There are only a handful of companies that offer it. They work on the same premise as some credit cards offer. Pay a small fee each month and they will guarantee your rental payment if something detrimental should happen. These policies have been used in place of co-signers and additional deposit requirements in some cases and could help the renter to gain back some of their credit if their history is not so great. In fact, one of the reasons this type of insurance is used is because of derogatory credit report. The company also reports the timely payments to the credit bureaus to help the person get their credit history back on track for the future. Make sure you check into this fully before you decide to use it to see if it will work for your situation.
Whatever your day to day routine may bring, make sure you have covered your own assets since it will save you in hassle and headaches later on …
As always, I look forward to your thoughts, please feel free to share!
Until next week, may your rentals be filled and your home be a happy place.
Lori Hartjoy is the owner of Blue Mountain Rentals, established in 2011. As well as being a devoted mother of 3 toddlers, she provides over 20 years of clerical experience to her clients. Her background includes processing employment, tenant screening, background checks and working as a property manager and payroll clerk for a major telecommunications corporation.
The information contained on this blog and from any communication related to the Blue Mountain Rentals website is provided for informational purposes only. All information you choose to use is at “your own risk”.
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