It doesn’t matter what sort of property you are renting, whether it is a whole house, an apartment or just a dorm room you should always arrange some form of renters insurance for your possessions. If there is a fire, robbery or some other disaster the landlord probably has buildings insurance but your possessions or student contents is your responsibility.
The first step is to make sure you have taken out a Renters Insurance Policy and that it covers all your possessions. Maybe you can use a Campus Insurance Service or a local insurance broker. Also it is a possibility that you can add-on your possessions to your parents home insurance, but always make sure that this is confirmed in writing. Also whatever type of Renters Insurance or Campus Room Insurance you sign up for make sure it covers the major risks like theft, fire, flood, storm, burst water mains and so on. Also check what the exclusions are and what the excess is. The excess is the amount the insurer will not pay. For example if the excess is $100 and you claim is agreed at $700 then the payout will be a net $600.
Make a List
A key step when you take out insurance is to list out all your possessions and give them a value based on the replacement value. Ideally also record a video and or take some photographs so you have an exact record. Try and keep a copy of the bills or receipts for major items like mobile phones, computers and valuables. One way to make sure that you don’t lose or misplace these bills, receipts, lists or photographs is to copy or scan them and email them to yourself. Don’t rely on saving them on your computer, that is one of the most common items to be damaged or stolen. You can only make a claim for the value of the possessions you insured in the first place.
Computers are major targets for thieves so save your list somewhere safe (source)
How do you make a Insurance Claim?
So if the worst happens how do you make a Renters Insurance Claim?
- If it is the result of a theft, you must report the matter to the local police and get a crime report or crime reference number.
- Take photographs of what has happened as soon as it is safe to do so if you have suffered as a result of a fire, flood or some other disaster.
- Make an itemized list of everything that was stolen, damaged or destroyed. Back this up with photographs as well of the original items before the incident happened. If items can be repaired try and include a quotation or estimate for the repair, you may also have to make it clear if something is beyond economical repair.
- Get a claim form from the insurance company, complete it with all the information and send it as soon as possible. Remember you can’t claim for more than you insured in the first place.
- Do not delay making your renters insurance claim because usually you have to tell the insurance company of the claim within a certain limited period.
- If you are making the claim by mail, send it by recorded or certified mail so you have proof of posting and delivery. Keep a copy of everything you send in.
- If you are handing in a claim to the insurance office get a receipt and a claim reference number.
- Chase up the claim and if the insurance claims office asks any questions answer them promptly.
Generally the more detailed and complete you make your renters insurance claim the quicker it will get settled. The insurance company make send out an insurance claims loss adjuster to talk to you but the more complete you make your first renters insurance claim the simpler this will be.
Incidents do happen when you are renting but if you have proper adequate renters insurance then at least you have the renters insurance claim money to replace or repair the missing or damaged items and get on with your life.