If you’re like many renters, you may assume (wrongly) that unless your landlord forces you to get renters insurance, you don’t need it—and that, somehow, you’re not really responsible for anything that happens while you’re renting.
“It’s not until a disaster happens or a friend has a huge, lifestyle-changing expense from a broken pipe or overflow or fire that my phone starts ringing,” says New York City apartment insurance broker Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage.
So why don’t more New York City renters get insured before their first expensive brush with misfortune? Schneider points to these 5 common myths about renters insurance:
1. It’s too expensive.
Basic coverage starts at less than $1 a day. That’s less than your Starbucks habit.
2. I live in a doorman building, so I don’t need it.
Actually, the vast majority of renters insurance claims involve water damage from leaks and overflows--not theft. And while theft claims are less frequent in doorman buildings, “we still see breaking and entering claims especially if building security isn’t tight and with all those extra keys floating around,” says Schneider.
3. My landlord’s insurance will cover me.
This rarely happens. “The only way you will be covered by your landlord’s insurance is if the landlord was negligent and you can prove it,” says Schneider.
4. My policy covers my roommate too.
The only people automatically covered by your policy are immediate family members who live with you. Your policy covers up to one roommate but only if you name that person on your policy.
5. I can’t get coverage because I live by the water.
You probably still can--if you act soon.
“Flood claims from a storm like Sandy are not covered and are not much concern for insurers, but wind damage is,” says Schneider. “Since wind damage is a major concern for coastal areas, some companies are refusing to issue insurance at all if you live by the water.”
Schneider says it’s already happening in the south shore area of Brooklyn within 1000 feet of the water and seems likely to spread to other vulnerable waterside neighborhoods, like Battery Park City, and Brooklyn Heights and Whitestone near the water.
“Most of Brooklyn Heights is in the lower risk flood zone, but some companies are turning down coverage for properties on the water," says Schneider. "If you get a policy now, it’s not a guarantee of lifetime insurability, but there are regulatory restrictions that make it hard to drop you."
Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc., an insurance brokerage, has been serving NYC renters, co-op and condo owners for over 45 years. For a free quote, click on over to Gotham Brokerage or give them a call at 212-406-7300.
More from Gotham:
How to file a claim on your apartment insurance--the right way