boxYou’re only renting. Maybe it’s your first apartment, maybe you’re an empty nester downsizing to a smaller house, maybe you are just checking out the community before you buy. Either way, the property doesn’t belong to you. Plus, the landlord has to have homeowner’s insurance, and that will cover your stuff, too. Right? WRONG!

Obtaining renter’s insurance can be a bit overwhelming when you consider the variety of options and how many ways there are to put a policy together. But do not skip this coverage. Just like with homeowner’s coverage, you should make a list of all your property, making special note of especially valuable assets like collections, a rarities, as these will likely need additional coverage. If the home has had safety items installed, such as carbon monoxide alert systems, fire extinguishers and even a sprinkler system, the price will be positively affected.

With most policies, your possessions are covered against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and water damage (not including floods). Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance also covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.

Renters insurance covers your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your apartment because of a fire or other covered peril. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses.

The bottom line is renters are responsible for protecting their own belongings. Don’t be caught short or surprised when your landlord’s insurance company dies not cover your losses. Talk to your insurance professional and obtain the necessary coverages before it’s too late.