Is Renters Insurance Worth It?

Updated on February 2, 2016

Coming home to a burning or already burned down building is not exactly something one would plan for, say, ahead of time. When is it time to plan for something like that? Certainly not when moving into a new home. Between signing the lease, furnishing the space, and familiarizing oneself with the best neighborhood corner stores, it just doesn’t make sense to allocate time towards disaster preparedness. Once you’re all settled in, the LAST thing running through your noodle is “Gee, I’m glad I have a comprehensive renters insurance policy that can help make me whole again should I experience unforgiving losses in a fire.” Well, let’s add another life regret to the list.

In all seriousness, being prepared for a fire is a smart (and possibly life-saving) way to take care of yourself and your belongings. Obviously, our precious hearts and minds come before our petty belongings, but for all intents and purposes, assume that you made it out alive!

Fire Facts

Fires in the United States are more common than one would think. The National Fire Protection Association reports 90,500 Apartment structure fires in 2010. Looking at the last decade, the number of fires per year is not declining.

Fires produce water and smoke damage in addition to fire damage. My apartment, despite a lack of fire and water damage, still resembled a war zone. Depending on the type and extent of damage, some items may not be salvageable. Others may require special treatment. For example, clothing which has absorbed an abundance of smoke particles may need special treatment at a laundry facility.

Knowing exactly what type of fire damage you’re dealing with is necessary to having a successful restoration process.

How to Prepare Before

1. Make an inventory of everything that you own. This sounds tedious, but as I mentioned above, fires can cause a huge mess. A general list of your most valuable possessions (preferably stored in a couple of places) can be helpful both for recovering and replacing belongings.

2. If you are renting, get Renters Insurance.
It's worth it. It's cheap. Most people spend between $15-$30 each month. Leasing agreements should be read carefully regardless, but paying particular attention to what the building manager will cover in the event of a fire, flood, earthquake, etc., will be your answer to whether Renter’s Insurance is right for you. In my experience, property management companies will be liable for structural damage, but not for damage done to tenant property, so may need to cover yourself!

Do you think Renters Insurance is worth it?

See results

What to do After

Depending on the severity of the fire (and the context in which you find yourself), the most important thing you can do mentally, is stay focused with a plan of action.

1. Find someone in charge.
Depending on context, a large crowd may surround the apartment building when you arrive. It’s likely to be noisy and chaotic, so navigate to someone who knows what’s up. Ask them: when and how the the fire started, when you’ll be able to go inside, how bad overall damage is, and what the recommended course of action is for affected tenants.

2. Register with the Red Cross.
I had no idea that the Red Cross would be involved with a city fire, but they were all over the scene! They can provide immediate relief and assistance for lodging, food, and clothing. I did not need temporary lodging, but I opted for assistance with food, clothing and mattress replacement. I was truly grateful for their assistance.

3. Figure out what the building will cover.
Talk to someone in building management. This may be a landlord, but often times it’s not someone you've interacted with on a regular basis. Though it is not common, some properties may cover more than just structural damage. In my case, every tenant received $1000 in emergency relief, despite the fact that our leasing agreement protected the building from being liable for tenant property. Asking is key.

4. Consult a lawyer.
If you’re lucky enough to know some in the appropriate legal field, it may be worthwhile to get his or her opinion. Depending on the severity of the fire, the circumstances in which the fire started, and a handful of other factors, you may be entitled to some compensation.

5. Determine whether there are (and the level of) toxins present.
Entering a fire damaged building before it’s been declared safe by fire department officials is dangerous. Ask about toxins that may have emanated from the wall or tiles. Make sure to dry anything that you find soaked from water damage to prevent the growth of mold.

© 2012 Marina


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • firstday profile image

      Rebecca Be 

      5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      We did not have renter's insurance and were in a small town. I personally called the Red Cross once the fire was over by morning. I thought wow everyone has left. Standing there in my nightgown without even a toothbrush. The Red Cross gave us three days at a motel. They told me the volunteer fireman should have contacted them. Yes, you are right you have to stay focused. Our bodies did not burn. Thank the Lord.

    • Marina Lazarevic profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Thank you YvetteParker and emilybee! Sometimes you learn things the hard way. In this case, I'm just glad I learned!!

    • emilybee profile image


      8 years ago

      Very useful information. I agree, renters insurance is extremely worth having.

    • YvetteParker profile image


      8 years ago from AUGUSTA, GA

      Very good information. Thanks for shasring. Voted up.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Yipe! I hadn't realized that there were that many apartment fires every year. You'd think that more have sprinkler systems that could help or something...

      Awesome Hub. I'm more happy than ever about having renter's insurance... and it's just... crazy to think about ALL the things that come with a fire- it's not just burnt stuff, but as you point out, smoke damage, chemical contamination, and mold!! Ugh! I'm glad that the horrific experience is BEHIND you now =____=

      I also recommend visually documenting your possessions (ideally via video, photos work too) in addition to keeping a list of them (and their value) which I do in Google Docs, so it's safe in the cloud.

    • Marina Lazarevic profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Thanks! We learn from every experience, right?

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Great stuff...well, useful, and thanks for sharing valuable information that you got from your own (unfortunate) experience. A silver lining to a dark cloud?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)