SAN ANTONIO – Spring storms with high winds and large hail are the latest reminder of just how wild and destructive Texas weather can be.
If you’re a homeowner, you likely have homeowner’s insurance to help protect you from costly losses. But what if you are a renter? Do you still need insurance? Consumer Reports says the answer is, “yes.”
Amani Elsawah is thankful she was covered. During Texas’ February freeze, she lost power and her pipes burst.
“I was so shocked because it was literally raining in my apartment,” she said. “It was gushing out so much that it started flooding almost immediately.”
The damage was so bad that she had to move out. She’s been living in a hotel since, and the bills are piling up.
Fortunately, her renter’s insurance is paying some of her living expenses and for much of what she lost.
For her policy, she pays about $20 a month.
That’s money well spent, according to Consumer Reports.
“It can really offer a safety net if something ever happens,” said Penny Wang, money editor.
In addition to helping to cover damage or theft of property as well as reimbursement if you have to move out, renter’s insurance offers liability protection if someone is injured in your home. It can also cover some possessions when you‘re not home, like if something is stolen out of your car.
“Renter’s insurance is fairly standardized, though coverage can vary based on the insurer and where you live,” said Wang. “Bottom line, make sure you understand your policy -- what’s covered and what’s not.”
She recommends getting several offers and making sure the policy gives you what you need, whether that’s low deductible or additional coverage for valuables.
To help with claims, it’s also a good idea to do a home inventory before disaster strikes. That can be as easy as making a video of important items in your house.