Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES--Few renters carry personal property and liability insurance to protect themselves against financial loss. While many believe they don't have enough valuable belongings to be worthwhile, rental insurance is a good investment, said a New Mexico State University consumer education specialist.
Some renters think they have less to lose than homeowners, but insurance can protect household property as well as their liability to others, said Susan Wright with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.
A special tenant policy is available to meet the particular insurance needs of tenants, she said. A simple inventory of belongings--from wastebaskets to the stereo and CD collection--can help renters assess the value of their property and the need for insurance.
"Some tenants mistakenly assume that their personal items are insured against loss or damage by the landlord's insurance policy," Wright said. "They are not. If a loss occurs, the tenant who doesn't have insurance will have to replace personal property without assistance."
The landlord's insurance covers the house or apartment building, but the policy will not cover property damage or liability to others. "For example, a visitor could slip and fall in a tenant's apartment, suffer a head injury and sue the tenant for thousands of dollars," Wright said. "The tenants' liability insurance would cover such an occurrence."
If renters have antiques or valuable collections, special coverage should be considered, she said. If they are long-term residents, inflation riders on personal belongings may be a good idea.
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