Today, I would like to make a tribute to those not-so-happy moments as a resident. Those moments when you accidentally light something on fire, or flood your living room. Those moments while in the depths of panic you have that annoying thought in the back of your mind, “I really should have purchased renters insurance.”
I also want to argue the benefits of requiring renters insurance on your properties. But before I begin, let me bring a little humor to the scene. Lets take it back a few years — to the golden years — to college.
1. The Apartment’s on Fire
This actually happened to me once. I was frying up some chicken with my college roommates, and as we were talking about our day, the nicely greased chicken thigh lit up in flames. I started screaming like a crazed lunatic, and grabbed the pan away from the stove, which caused some oil on the stove to catch in the fuel beneath, resulting in another burst of flames. All I remember after that was a bunch of screaming and water flailing.
That whole fiasco could have been a disaster. But thankfully the roommate with a calm head on her shoulders diffused the situation and none of our cabinetry was damaged. The chicken, however….now that’s another story.
Not everyone is lucky enough to walk away with no damage after a small chicken fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association¹, between 2007 to 2011 gas grills were involved in approximately 7,200 home fires, and other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,400 home fires. The NFPA estimates that of those homes, damages resulted in 96 million dollars of direct property damage. Hence why requiring renters insurance is a good idea.
2. There is a Swimming Pool in My Living Room
Luckily I have not had a severe water damage problem as a renter. However, I did have an incident with one of my apartments’ dishwashers. I thought I was being a clean, responsible roommate when I loaded our dishwasher with every dish in the apartment and then loaded it up with the remaining detergent.
When I came back from class, the entire kitchen looked like a bubble bath. Awesome. The dishwasher overloaded and decided to have a leak the ONE time all of my roommates were gone. That never happened. But isn’t that life? When it rains, it pours. And things always go down at the worst time. Which brings me to my next fun fact of the day: According to the Culture of Safety website², water damage claims account for 11 billion dollars in damages every year. Also, 8 percent of that water damage comes from weather related incidents. You can’t predict the weather, or a leaky dishwasher.
3. What the Earthquake!?
For my next personal insurance fail, I come to the earthquake saga. I moved to Utah in 2011 and was pleased to learn that (1) I not only live on a fault line, but (2) that fault line is overdue for a good ole’ fashioned earthquake. Another side note, I moved to a property right next to an active railroad. Trust me. This all comes together.
For an entire month, I did not make it through a full night of sleep. I would wake up to my room shaking and immediately assumed Utah was experiencing a level 8 earthquake. I learned after 30 days of sleepless nights that this was not an earthquake. It was the 11 o’clock train. I also didn’t purchase renters insurance this time around. I always wonder if that would have put my mind at ease…
I am pleased to say that I have not been in an earthquake, but I finally got renters insurance to cover my personal belongings. So, if for some reason an earthquake takes place, and my bookshelf comes crashing down on my beautiful Macbook Pro, I am going to be okay.
4. Meet Twinkle a.k.a My Insanely Large Doberman
I don’t have a Doberman named Twinkle. This is a total metaphor. I do have a really cute Pomeranian that loves every person who walks through the door (so much for a guard dog). No, Twinkle is a shout out to all those people who have aggressive dogs, or dogs that all of a sudden snap, and freak out their neighbors.
Another situation that calls for serious examination is if your dog harms a neighbor. You could even branch this out to say if your neighbor experiences physical harm of any kind on your property. This is the situation where you definitely want to have insurance. Maybe someone slips on water in your kitchen and breaks their leg. Or maybe Twinkle greets your neighbor by jumping up to lick their face and breaks their nose. All very undesirable situations which result in a medical bill and some form of legal action.
I’m not going to give this a cute tagline, because theft is straight up wrong. I haven’t had my apartment broken into, but I have had someone use a screwdriver and closet hanger to unlock my car and steal my camera. That freaked me out, to say the least. So, can you imagine someone breaking into your home and then stealing your personal belongings?
When I calculated my personal contents, I was shocked at how much my furniture cost. And trust me, I bought most my stuff off of Craigslist. Refurnishing your home, or simply replacing your flat screen TV, is expensive. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation³, in 2010 there were approximately 2,159,878 burglaries. The total cost of lost property was $4.6 billion, an average of $2,119 per burglary. Hopefully your property or residents never have to experience a theft, but it’s always a good idea to be on the safe side.
So there you have it, The Top 5 Insurance Fails. Or should I say The Top 5 Reasons to be Insured? Insurance should never be overlooked. I’d highly recommend requiring residents to purchase insurance — it covers your residents and protects your property.