Renters Insurance: What it Covers and How Much You Need

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Whether you’re renting an apartment or a home, chances are you may have wondered what renters insurance is, and what renters insurance covers. It’s your landlord’s job to maintain and insure the property, but it’s up to you to insure the belongings inside it.

That’s where renters insurance comes in. For a monthly premium, you can have peace of mind that your possessions are financially protected if vandalism or disaster strikes. Here is everything you need to know about renters insurance.

What is renters insurance?

A renters insurance policy, also known as an HO-4, covers your losses in case of theft, fire, or other damage. It also offers liability coverage, which means your insurance company will pay legal fees and court awards in case of injury or damage due to negligence. For example, if someone gets injured in your rental home and sues, renters insurance could help cover those legal costs. Standard policies also offer additional living expenses for situations where the rental property gets damaged and becomes uninhabitable, displacing you from your home.

Your policy will come with a deductible. The cost of your deductible depends on the policy you choose. A renters insurance deductible is the amount you will have to pay if you file a claim. The higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premium — but the more you’ll have to pay should the worst-case scenario occur.

Renters insurance is not legally required, but some landlords might require it if you want to rent from them. However, even if it’s not required and the chances of these things happening are slim, it’s still best to prepare for the worst so you can have peace of mind.

What does renters insurance cover?

Policies can differ slightly from state to state, and offerings vary between insurance companies. But overall, renters insurance policies are pretty standard. Here are what many renters insurance policies include.

Personal belongings

The personal belongings part of your policy protects your things against damage from the following listed disasters and incidents, called named perils.

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Damage caused by aircrafts
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Water damage caused by steam, heating, AC, sprinklers, or an appliance
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a hot water heating system, AC, or sprinkler system
  • Freezing of plumbing, AC, sprinkler system, or appliance
  • Damage caused by short-circuiting

Liability

Most policies offer personal liability protection — meaning the policy would help cover the legal costs and court payouts (up to the policy limit) should someone sue you or your family members for bodily harm or property damage. Liability protection can also pay for damage caused by your pet. Ask your agent about this.

Additional living expenses

Should damage make your home uninhabitable, your policy can help cover the costs of living elsewhere. Policies can cover hotel bills or temporary rental costs, meals, and other expenses while you’re away from your home.

Miscellaneous

Most policies protect from some losses that you may have not given much thought to, but should still ask your agent about.

These other types of coverage can include:

  • Medical payments to others should they get hurt in your home.
  • Credit card and bank forgery in the event that someone breaks into your home and tries to use your stolen credit card or checks.
  • Other peoples’ property should their items get damaged or stolen while in your home.

What doesn’t renters insurance cover?

Renters insurance doesn’t cover all types of damage. Here are a few things renters insurance doesn’t cover.

Flooding, earthquakes, and sinkholes

These natural disasters aren’t covered by renters insurance. If you live near a fault line or your rental is in a flood zone, think about taking out additional coverage. Ask your agent about common weather events in your area, and plan accordingly.

Maintenance damage

Home insurance companies rule that it’s the policyholder’s responsibility to take precautionary steps to protect the rental from damage. So, policies will not cover incidents due to a lack of maintenance or infestations like mold or termites.

Expensive valuables

Expensive belongings like art, jewelry, and antiques may not be covered due to policy limits. You can take out supplementary policies (called riders) to cover those valuables.

Your renters insurance policy won’t cover any damage to your vehicle either. Make sure you have an updated auto insurance policy in place to cover any damages or vehicle theft.

How much renters insurance coverage do I need?

To answer this question, you’ll need to make a list. Take an inventory of everything you own and every item’s value. Take a picture or video of your rental and your most important belongings. Include any serial numbers for things like electronics and instruments. Also, think through the big-ticket items you’ll need additional coverage for.

Now, tally all of that up. If you can’t get a precise number, at least get an estimate. Your agent will need to know that number. The valuation of your items will also impact whether you should go with an actual cash value policy (ACV) or a replacement cost value policy (RCV).

ACV: Under this type of policy, insurers will pay out the depreciated value of an item. The payout will likely be less than market value and it could cost you more money to replace the item.

RCV: This type of policy pays to replace your lost or damaged belongings with a similar item at the current market value. The payout would be enough to replace your item.

The bottom line

Don’t wait to own a house before you insure your belongings. For a small premium, you can have peace of mind that your belongings are covered, you have liability protection, and you have a safety net if accident or disaster makes your home uninhabitable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does renters insurance cover moving?

No, your renters insurance policy is designed to protect one property and the belongings inside of it. Most coverage is restricted to a single address, but some companies will allow you to purchase special insurance for your move.

What happens to renters insurance if you move?

When you move, you need to inform your insurance company so they can update your account. Your policy will be updated to reflect your new address, so your premium could be affected, going up or down depending on where you live.

How do I update my renters insurance?

Most insurance companies make it easy to update your renters insurance. Some companies have excellent mobile tools, allowing you to change your address either through the app or on the website. Or you may be required to call a customer service number to change the address on your policy. You can only change your mailing address online.

How can I save on renters insurance?

One reliable way to save would be to bundle your renters insurance with your auto insurance. Contact your auto insurance provider and see if there’s a discount!

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By: MYMOVE

Source: Renters Insurance: What it Covers and How Much You Need | MYMOVE

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5 Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make During Employee Open Enrollment

Worried man reading bad news in paper letter document feels disappointed, stressed ..getty

Fall is a time of leaves changing colors, children going back to school, families enjoying Thanksgiving dinners, and… open enrollment. Yes, it’s the opportunity for most employees to select which benefits they will choose for the following year. Here are some of the most common mistakes we see people make:

Not fully understanding the value of an HSA-eligible health insurance plan.

HSA-eligible high deductible health plans tend to come with lower premiums (what you pay per month or paycheck for your coverage) but higher deductibles (what you pay out-of-pocket before most of the insurance benefits kick in) than more standard health insurance plans. In addition, they make you eligible to contribute pre-tax dollars (for 2023, up to $3,850 for individual coverage or $7,750 for family coverage plus $1,000 if you’re turning 55+) to an HSA (health savings account) that can be used tax-free for qualified medical expenses at any time.

While it’s easy to compare the difference in premiums and deductibles, don’t forget to factor in the value of the HSA. First, many employers will actually make contributions to your HSA for you. That’s free money! If you contribute on top of that, you also get a break on your taxes (including FICA if you contribute from your paycheck).

For example, I spoke with an employee who would save almost $1,900 a year in premiums by choosing the high deductible health plan. In addition, he would receive $1,000 in his HSA from his employer and would save almost another $2,000 in taxes by contributing another $6,000 to the HSA. The $4,900 in total savings dwarfed the difference in deductibles.

Under or over funding an FSA.

FSAs (flexible spending accounts) let you put money away pre-tax that can be used tax-free for health (up to $3,050 per person next year) or dependent care (up to $5,000 per family next year) expenses. If you’re in the 24% tax bracket, that’s like getting a 24% discount on those eligible expenses! Not taking full advantage of these accounts could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in lost tax breaks.

However, there is a catch. Unlike HSAs, FSAs are mostly “use it or lose it” so you don’t want to contribute more than what you’re pretty sure you can spend. (Having a general health care FSA also precludes you from contributing to the more valuable HSA in the same year.) If you do end up with extra money in the account at the end of the year, try to use it by stocking up on qualified supplies like contact lenses and prescription drugs. You can find FSA-eligible items here.

Not taking advantage of a prepaid legal plan.

Do you have updated estate planning documents like a will, durable power of attorney, advance health care directive, and living trust? If not, you can save a lot of money by using your employer’s prepaid legal service to have these documents drafted or updated. You pay a fee per paycheck, but the legal services are free or heavily discounted. You can then choose not to renew it the following year after you’ve gotten your documents in place.

Ignoring disability insurance.

Disability insurance is often overlooked even though about 25% of 20-yr olds are likely to be out of work for at least a year due to a disability before they reach normal retirement age. If your employer doesn’t provide it, you may want to purchase it. The good news is that employee-paid disability benefits are tax-free.

Not having enough life insurance.

Your employer may offer you life insurance coverage equal to one or more times your salary, but you may want to purchase supplemental life insurance if you have dependents. You can use this calculator to estimate how much you need. Then compare the cost of purchasing it through your employer with the cost of a term policy in the individual market. (See if your coverage at work can be converted to an individual policy once you leave the job.)

Your benefits can be a significant part of your total compensation and open enrollment can be your only chance to take full advantage of many of them. When in doubt about your selection of benefits, find out if your employer offers a financial wellness program with free guidance and coaching from unbiased financial planners who are trained on your particular benefits. Then go and enjoy the holidays knowing that your family is protected.

I’m a Senior Resident Financial Planner at Financial Finesse, primarily responsible for providing financial education and guidance to employees of our corporate clients. I also

Source: 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make During Employee Open Enrollment

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How To Compare Life Insurance

Canadians have been having difficult conversations with their family since the global pandemic hit, according to a survey by Ipsos. 56% of parents have been talking over the future of their children, debt and how secure the family finances are in current conditions.

Over 25% of those surveyed said they didn’t believe their family would be able to meet financial obligations if they were to pass away. Many parents fret over the cost of childcare, housing, food, clothing and basic necessities. While 63% believe that life insurance is great, over one-third of Canadians don’t have life insurance coverage.

What Is Life Insurance?

When someone you love passes away it can leave an emotional and financial hole for those left behind. That’s where life insurance comes in. It helps you provide for and protect your loved ones if something was to happen to you.

Life insurance policies offer a death benefit that can help your family pay for funeral and burial expenses, mortgage payments, debts, and any other final expenses. While the amount your beneficiaries receive varies depending on the insurance policy, knowing that you have life insurance can provide you and your loved one’s peace of mind.

Many people buy life insurance to ensure that their dependents are looked after in their absence. While this is an important reason to seek out a life insurance policy, children cannot be paid out a death benefit from your insurance company. That’s why it’s important to clearly understand how life insurance beneficiaries work and how to designate one.

Insurance can provide protection for the next generation, but it also ensures that your family’s financial needs are taken care of when you’re gone. The death benefit paid out to your beneficiaries can be used to cover whatever they want, including mortgage payments, college tuition, credit card debt, and any other financial responsibilities that were left behind.

When Should I Buy Life Insurance?

Many Canadians look for life insurance coverage when they go through a change in their circumstances. This may be marriage, a new baby, or even a divorce.

There is no set time to buy life insurance. You’ll be able to buy it whenever you’re ready. However, if you buy it when you’re younger and in your best health, you’ll pay less in premiums than if you wait until you’re older or have health conditions.

How Much Does Life Insurance Coverage Cost?

How much you pay for your life insurance premium differs depending on the type of life insurance you buy. For example, term life insurance is the least expensive but doesn’t offer high death benefits. Moreover, when they expire, your life insurance premiums will increase.

Life insurance companies take several factors into account as they are deciding on your life insurance application. These include your

How To Get The Lowest Rates

Life insurance premiums are based on many factors and shopping around to compare life insurance policies can help you find a rate that fits your budget. There are some other things you can do to ensure you get the best rate, such as:

Types of Life Insurance

Life insurance coverage isn’t just a one-size-fits-all solution. There are different types of life insurance designed to fit different needs and lifestyles. One is term life insurance policy and the other most common is permanent life insurance or whole life insurance. Each type of life insurance has its own benefits and premium rates.

Term Life Insurance

A term life insurance policy offers coverage for a period of time, such as 10 or 20 years. It may even cover you to a specific age such as 65 years. Your premiums will not change during this time.

When you reach the end of the term, your life insurance contract is up. At that time, you can decide to buy more term life insurance or consider a different insurance policy, such as permanent life insurance or universal life insurance.

A term life insurance policy is the most common form of life insurance policy because they are the most affordable. Many also don’t require you to take a medical exam to be approved. However, because they are only in effect for a short time, they may not be the best fit. Talking to a life insurance broker can help you determine whether term life insurance is the right life insurance policy for you.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is sometimes called whole life insurance and it lasts for your entire life. That is, unlike term life insurance policies, so long as you make your payments, you’ll have life insurance. Moreover, your premiums will remain the same, making it easy to budget for and estate planning.

Whole life insurance is a unique type of permanent life insurance. With whole life insurance, part of the money you pay in premiums gets put into a cash-value account. If you decide to cancel your insurance policy, you’ll get that money back. It’s sort of like having life insurance with a savings plan. And an added bonus is that it is tax-free. However, permanent life insurance will have higher premiums than term life insurance.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance policies are similar to whole life insurance, but they have a long-term investment option. You can indicate to your insurance company how you would like the cash value of your policy invested, for example in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

Some policyholders use this to save for retirement or set aside money for another day. The drawback is that this type of life insurance requires more work on your part. It’s not something you want to get into unless you’re savvy at investing. Your premiums can also change throughout the life of the policy.

How To Get A Life Insurance Quote

As you work out which policy is best suited for you, it’s vital to compare life insurance quotes from different insurance companies. But that doesn’t mean you need to make several calls. Getting various life insurance quotes can be done by contacting a life insurance broker at Shelter Bay or filling in an online form on our website.

We’ll be able to give you the best life insurance quotes in just a few minutes. Once you find a life insurance policy you like, we’ll also be able to guide you through the application process, including the medical exam.

Benefits of Comparing Life Insurance Rates

Getting some quotes for life insurance online offers you a number of advantages, including

Know Your Specific Life Insurance Needs

Purchasing a life insurance policy to protect your family is the right thing to do. It’s important to assess what you need and want from a life insurance policy. Ask yourself some questions, such as

What Factors Do Most Insurance Companies Look At?

There are different factors that life insurance companies want to know and will play a role in determining your coverage and the premiums. These include:

Know The Ins and Outs of A Life Insurance Policy

There can be a lot of fine details with a life insurance policy, and you’ll want to understand them so you don’t risk voiding the policy. One of the most crucial parts of getting life insurance is the medical exam. It’s important to be honest with your insurance company about your health conditions and risks for example if you smoke.

Customers who buy a life insurance policy but never disclose these things may be putting their family’s protection at risk. If you pass away and your life insurance company uncovers the deception, your beneficiaries may end up with nothing. You could pay thousands into a life insurance policy but never benefit.

How To Apply For Life Insurance

After you have a life insurance policy quote that works for your budget, you need to make a formal application for insurance coverage. Your application will begin with a questionnaire by one of our Shelter Bay insurance brokers. We’ll ask you some brief health and lifestyle questions that help the underwriters determine the best life insurance premium for you.

Some life insurance companies require you to complete a medical exam before they offer you an insurance policy. While it can seem intimidating, the medical exam is actually very basic. It’s just to get an idea about your health history and any medical conditions you may have.

After you’ve completed the application process and your medical exam results are in, the life insurance company will either approve you for life insurance coverage or deny you. If you are denied a life insurance policy from an insurance company, it doesn’t mean you’ll never get a life insurance policy. You can always make an application to another insurance company. Talk with your Shelter Bay insurance agent and we can help you find an insurance company that will offer you life insurance coverage.

Life Insurance Application Process

There are three ways of underwriting insurance policies. The application process will be determined by the underwriting your life insurance company uses for the policy you want to purchase.

Full Underwriting

There are three ways of underwriting insurance policies. The application process will be determined by the underwriting your life insurance company uses for the policy you want to purchase.

Accelerated Underwriting

There are three ways of underwriting insurance policies. The application process will be determined by the underwriting your life insurance company uses for the policy you want to purchase.

Simplified Issue

This underwriting process is very, very basic. You won’t be asked to undergo a medical exam and there will be no third-party resources supply information about you. Rather, you’ll be approved or denied based on how you answer questions about your lifestyle and your health. However, your premiums will likely be higher because the insurance company

doesn’t have as much information on you as the other two forms of underwriting.

Source: How To Compare Life Insurance | Shelter Bay Financial

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3 Things To Know Before You Arm Your Employees With Fitness Trackers

Even the most seasoned and well-adjusted remote workers know the risk: If you’re not careful, working from home can bring your physical activity to a standstill.

Employers know this too. Increasingly, they are looking for ways to bolster their wellness programs by offering fitness trackers, such as those made by Fitbit, Garmin, and Amazon, to help employees log more movement during the day. Another popular option called Oura makes smart rings that can track sleep, fitness, temperature, and even signs of illness. An Oura dashboard even lets employers view the likelihood of illness across their entire workforce.

Employees who log a certain amount of physical activity can then receive insurance discounts through many major health insurance companies, such as UnitedHealth Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and Aetna. Beneficiaries can get reimbursed for prescription co-pays and other health care costs under their deductibles.

But fitness trackers in the workplace, and health surveillance in general, also carry considerable privacy risks. More than 60 million records from Fitbit, Apple, and other companies were compromised in June after a data breach on GetHealth, a third-party group that provides employee fitness incentives.

Data breaches of fitness trackers like Strava have revealed personal details such as the name and location of participants, even in anonymized data. Security risks aside, you may not even want to have so many personal details about your employees at your fingertips. After all, constant surveillance won’t exactly put your team at ease.

Before offering fitness trackers to your employees, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Fitness trackers will save you money on premiums, for now.

Workplace fitness-tracker programs often offer discounts on insurance premiums if employees meet certain fitness goals. Some employees can earn as much as $1,500 a year they can apply toward their health insurance premiums. Workers can get free or discounted wearables, workout clothing, and even gym equipment. On the employer side, a few studies have shown that fitness trackers can help you save money on premiums. But some companies have reported that their insurance costs have remained the same.

At present, there are no laws or regulations in place to stop insurers from using fitness-tracker data to raise premiums. In an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from the AMA raised concerns that such data could increase insurance premiums for some groups.

“Wearables can collect information on physical activity, calorie intake, blood pressure, and weight. Insurance companies are now using this data for rewards programs, but there are no regulations stopping them from doing the opposite,” wrote the authors.

2. The data your employees share isn’t protected by HIPAA.

Health care providers and health insurers are barred from sharing any patient information by HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. But that ban doesn’t extend to Google, Apple, or any private companies through which employees elect to share their health care data. As The Wall Street Journal reports, there’s nothing under HIPAA that would bar third-party companies from analyzing or selling the health care data users voluntarily give up.

If you’re looking to adopt fitness-tracker programs, read up on the device-maker’s privacy policies and be prepared to answer questions from employees. You will have the added responsibility of explaining to workers how much access your own company has to their data, and how it’s being used. Workers need to understand that you will not be using data from the fitness trackers against them, and are under no obligation to sign up for the program.

3. The research on fitness-tracker effectiveness is mixed.

For some people, wearing a device that tracks their activity levels is enough of a reason to get off the sofa. But changing health habits permanently requires a lot more effort. One study published in The Lancet from researchers at the Duke-NUS Medical School found that wearing an activity tracker, along with a cash incentive, improved the fitness levels of employees.

But after the cash incentive was discontinued after six months, employees didn’t maintain their previous fitness levels. The study also compared employees who wore fitness trackers with those who did not, and found no real difference in the amount of activity performed.

But a number of other studies indicate that fitness trackers do help increase activity levels, either by small or moderate amounts. In one analysis of 28 studies with more than 7,000 participants published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that those with fitness trackers were more physically active than those in groups without. Added features like setting personal goals and text reminders were the most effective in getting people to exercise.

If your company chooses to enroll in a fitness-tracker program, keep in mind that you’re unlikely to entice all of your employees to adopt it. If you want to help improve the health of workers, you can also try methods like subsidized gym memberships, healthy food choices at work, or reimbursement for fitness equipment. While fitness trackers can certainly play a role in improving health outcomes, they are just one tool. Substantive lifestyle changes, including good nutrition, sleep, and fitness, also are required.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the fitness tracker Strava had a data breach that revealed personal details such as the name and location of participants, including in anonymized data. According to Strava spokesman, the company has never had a data breach.

By Amrita Khalid, Staff writer@askhalid

Source: 3 Things to Know Before You Arm Your Employees With Fitness Trackers | Inc.com

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Related Contents:

Böhm, B; Karwiese, SD; Böhm, H; Oberhoffer, R (30 April 2019). “Effects of Mobile Health Including Wearable Activity Trackers to Increase Physical Activity Outcomes Among Healthy Children and Adolescents: Systematic Review”. JMIR mHealth and uHealth. 7 (4): e8298. doi:10.2196/mhealth.8298. PMC 6658241. PMID 31038460.

 

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