(U-WIRE) OXFORD, Miss. – University students spend both time and money to decorate their homes with art, electronics and furniture, and whether the cause is an unwatched pot on the stove or a covetous neighbor trying to get something they haven’t earned, any student could incur a substantial loss.
Because disaster may strike anytime, the best motto for today’s college student is "be prepared."
Allstate Insurance agent Tate Thigpen said renter’s insurance is the young co-ed’s weapon in a world filled with thieves and natural disasters.
"If your apartment building, townhouse or duplex burns, the landlord is going to be covered under their own landlord’s policy, however, your stuff that is destroyed in the fire is not covered under that insurance," Thigpen said. "Therefore, you have no way to replace your belongings lost in that fire and this would also be the case with a burglary, vandalism or other destruction of your property."
Policies can be affordable, even for the average college student. Prices range from $15 to $30 per month, and policies are based on location, square footage and both quality and quantity of possessions.
Chris Radican, a University of Mississippi sophomore, said he is well aware of the importance of having renter’s insurance. Radican attempted to dry a shirt hanging from the fire sprinkler in his apartment’s ceiling. When he pulled the hanger down, the sprinkler system went off, filling his apartment with six inches of water and ruining almost everything in its path.
"Renter’s insurance was important to have because it took care of and replaced all of my damaged possessions," Radican said. "My phone, alarm clock, computer, television, stereo and DVD player were all replaced, and they covered the damages to the apartment."
Regarding claims, Thigpen explained exactly what a renter’s insurance policy will cover after an accident or theft.
"The policy will only pay for you to replace your stolen/destroyed property with things of the same type and value up to the coverage amount of the policy," Thigpen said. "Therefore, any purchase receipts or appraisals you have are helpful in properly figuring the claim amount."
Thigpen said claims can be settled in just a few days.
"Claims depend on the extent of the damage to the dwelling and the individual customer’s belongings," Thigpen said. "Usually 24-48 hours, but a total loss to the property could take longer."
Renter’s insurance policies cover one year and may be renewed at the renter’s request. Also, if the renter changes residence, their policy can simply be updated with a change of address form and by notifying their insurance company.
Thigpen said the only person who doesn’t need renter’s insurance is someone who can afford to replace all of their possessions without any assistance.
"If you can afford to replace all of your things at their present value, then you may not need renter’s insurance, but who can really afford to do that?" Thigpen said. "Most people could not and if you answered this question ‘no,’ then you probably need to check on getting renter’s coverage that will at least help you get back those things that can be replaced."
Radican said renter’s insurance helped ease the burden of losing his possessions and home to damages.
"Renter’s insurance is a necessity for anyone because accidents can happen anytime," Radican said. "If I didn’t have renter’s insurance, I would have had to pay for all the expenses out of my own pockets."
Thigpen said he stressed the importance of renter’s insurance in a world filled with increasing costs and responsibilities.
"With the rising costs of college tuition, a major loss to your personal property can be devastating to a student," Thigpen said. "It makes sense to protect yourself from those costs up front with a good renter’s policy."
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