Most Florida renters lack renter’s insurance
Here’s a startling statistic: Only one of every eight renters in Florida has renter’s insurance.
That figure is courtesy of Florida-based Security First Insurance Co. The company points out that U.S. Census Bureau statistics show Florida has more than 2.1 million renter-occupied housing units. But according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, just 320,074 renter’s insurance policies were in effect statewide as of March 31, 2011, leaving 85 percent of Florida renters uninsured.
In a news release, Locke Burt, chairman and president of Security First, says the number of Florida renters who don’t have renter’s insurance is “alarming.” In September 2011, the company got approval to start offering renter’s insurance in the Sunshine State.
Security First says many renters mistakenly think their personal property is covered under their rental agreements or their landlords’ insurance policies. Nationwide, 43 percent of renters had renter’s insurance in 2006, according to a poll by the Insurance Research Council. By contrast, 96 percent of American homeowners had home insurance.
Renter’s insurance covers personal belongings against damage from fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, water and other disasters listed in the policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Floods and earthquakes aren’t covered; separate policies must be purchased for those hazards.
Renter’s insurance also provides liability protection against lawsuits for injury or property damage that you, your family members or your pets may cause, according to the institute.
Furthermore, renter’s insurance covers what’s known as “additional living expenses.” If the place you’re renting is damaged or destroyed in a disaster listed in your policy and you need to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired or rebuilt, renter’s insurance will cover the extra expenses.
The Insurance Information Institute says renter’s insurance costs about $200 to $250 a year, depending on where you live and how much coverage you get. “Replacing all of your possessions or being liable for an accident on your premises will cost much more,” the National Association of Insurance Commissioners says.