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Renter’s Insurance – Worth It?


We had a small scare this past week and I thought I was going to have to throw my #NoSpendNovember plan out the window. Tropical Storm Zeta came through Wednesday night and knocked out power out. We expected it and had prepared the house and outdoors. And thankfully other than a few branches and lots of leaves down, our house and property was sparred. We were lucky.

There were many around us that were not. Trees fell on homes. Roofs were blown off businesses and homes. Streets were closed. Flooding…everywhere. (The image below is not my home, it’s from a local news article.)

Damage from Tropical Storm Zeta on a local home.

As we approached the 12 hour mark with no power, I began to get worried that I would lose the food in my refrigerator and deep freezer. The kids were under strict instructions not to open either and I was refreshing the power companies website every couple of days hoping to see an ETA.

Rental Insurance to the Rescue?

I’ve carried renter’s insurance forever. Literally, had it since my first big move after college to Chicago back in the Fall of 1997. And I’ve never, ever filed a claim. Even when our storage unit flooded when we were living in the camper a few years back…I didn’t file. Looking back, I wish I had, but I didn’t even think of it until we had already started purging and moving stuff from the unit.

But this time, I remembered hearing that your renter’s insurance would cover food lost during a power outage from a storm. So I decided to check it out this time.

Our renter’s coverage is through USAA, bundled with our auto policies and my life insurance to get the discount. But I haven’t revisited our coverage in 4ish years, I guess.

It just took a few minutes to realize that with a $1,000 deductible, which I guess is the standard, my food loss wouldn’t even be worth filing. I definitely don’t have a $1,000 worth of food here. So I quickly through that idea out the door and started worrying about my electricity coming back on again.

Is it Worth It?

Now the question, is having renter’s insurance worth it? In reviewing my policy this past week, I noted that my annual premium is $149 (it’s bundled with my auto policy so they are billed together monthly.) I have selected $46,600 worth of property coverage and have no special riders for computers or jewelry or any of that.

And in 23 years, I have never filed a claim. In fact, as I started thinking about this post, I wondered how I first decided to get renter’s insurance. It’s not like I had anything of value or even a lot of stuff back then. I suppose when I called to cancel my car insurance, because I sold my car when I moved to Chicago, they sold it to me. That’s the only think I can think of.

I looked back through old posts to see if anyone else had ever questioned the need for renter’s insurance. Ashley wrote a couple of posts on in back in 2014:

So what do you think, rental insurance worth it? My answer is yes. It brings a great deal of piece of mind and the cost is nominal.

Did We Lose our Food

Our power came home right at the 12 hour mark. The relief I felt was palpable. (I’m writing this Sunday afternoon and thousands around us still don’t have power. In fact, school was out Thursday and Friday as a result. Please pray for our hardworking linemen and the families who have now lost any food they had in their refrigerators or deep freezers.)

While we are in a much better place financially now, I work really hard to forget I have a savings account and retirement fund so I won’t be tempted to dip into them. This was one of those times, I was truly grateful for the savings I have available in a pinch.

Now to go back to forgetting about that.


  • Reply Cynthia L |

    As a landlord, renters insurance is required in the lease. Over more than a decade, only 1 tenant made a claim (to my knowledge). That claim was for a water issue in my 5th floor unit that also caused damage to the 4th floor. I don’t remember exact figures but well over $10k in damages for a policy that probably cost around $10 per month. Cutting renters insurance is like stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime.

  • Reply Lisa |

    You can lower your deductible if you wish. And yes, it is worth it. It doesn’t just protect you from damage, but if someone gets hurt at your house and sues it covers that too

  • Reply Anon Lawyer |

    It’s a pretty minimal amount of money given the potential scope of claims. It’s not just for your belongings – it also provides some liability protection should someone get hurt at your home and sue you. To me, that’s worth $12 a month.

  • Reply Susan |

    As others have stated, it is worth it. The house next door to mine burned down 5 years ago. Faulty wiring in the attic (they think there might have been squirrels up there). It also might be worth revisiting your coverage and deductible. Maybe you need less coverage?

  • Reply JP |

    I would pay it. Its a small price in the big scheme of things. But if you need it, it might be a life saver. I knew 3 people personally that had water leaks or overflow from washing machines that damaged a lot of their personal belongings. They were also out of their home while repairs were made. yep, keep it. The damages for each person were from 8,000-12,000. My mom lived in an apt building and she was put into a hotel for 2+ months while repairs were made due to a pipe burst.

  • Reply TammyC |

    If you cancel your renter’s insurance, what is your plan if your home is burglarized or catches fire? We all pay for insurance and rarely use it and that is a good thing if you don’t need it! I think cancelling your renter’s insurance would be penny wise and pound foolish.

  • Reply Heather |

    Speaking from someone who used their renters insurance 6 weeks after moving into a rental property and lost everything to fire…. Keep it. Small price vs big payout if needed. 110% worth it.

So, what do you think ?