Why you should have renters insurance

I confess. I used to be a serial non insurance having lump of humanity. I’m talking no health insurance, no renter’s insurance and I’m still convinced credit card insurance is nothing but a big ole scam. I only had auto insurance because I was still on my Dad’s policy not because California

requires it. There was a life insurance policy in there somewhere only because Dad got that one, too. When you’re barely scraping by, insurance is the last thing on your mind. After tithes, rent, food, gas and bills, I wasn’t trying to part with anymore money than I had to. Maybe once I’d gotten a higher and more stable income, but not right now.

And then a friend of mine started hosting financial seminars. They taught us how to build wealth the right way. Imagine how surprised I was to learn that part of building wealth was having insurance. As a layperson, it seemed counterintuitive to me. I mean, why pay out on something that you may or may not ever need? Then the speaker said something that still echoes in my head years later.

“Protect what you have.”

It was like a light bulb went off in my head. What was the point of working your butt and sacrificing so you could save the magic number 20% of your salary if it would only get wiped out at the first emergency? I was a believer. But the procrastinator in me still put things off. Until I was given this really cool Tablet PC and had it stolen along with my car keys and wallet from a resort in Palm Springs. Imagine how sick I was to learn that a simple renter’s insurance policy would have covered a percentage of the theft. Within a month, I had my policy.

Best decision of my life.

Just over a year later, my apartment building went up in flames. Even though the situation turned into one heck of a nightmare when my landlord refused to return my property that was damaged by neither fire nor water, my insurance policy went a long way toward getting me back on my feet. It even gave me the ammunition I needed to take on my landlord and win. All because I protected what I had.

The apartment complex consisted of 150 units, all of which became uninhabitable after the fire. Out of the hundreds of people who lived there, I was one of less than 10 people who were insured. Without insurance the other tenants were left to the mercy of the landlord who allowed the clean up company he hired to blatantly steal cash and jewelry and laptops and God only knows what else from people who were already devastated and homeless after the fire.

So what’s the moral of this story? No matter how evil or unnecessary you think insurance is, buy a policy anyway. Because if the unthinkable happens, the last thing you’ll want to deal with is how much it’ll cost you to get back on your feet. You don’t have to go for the biggest policy right off the bat. Take an honest look at what you have and insure what you can afford. You can always add more coverage later. Also, look at any discounts for which you might qualify simply by having both an auto and renter’s/homeowner’s policy with the same company.

It’s all about protecting what you have so you don’t have to start over from scratch.

Until next time! Remember that there’s no law against love, joy or peace.