Living in Florida comes with lots of perks — not the least of which are the sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and relaxed lifestyle. But Florida is also no stranger to extreme weather, and hurricane season is in full swing. For homeowners, having insurance is most likely just a fact of life: a necessary part of protecting your property and possessions. But what if you rent an apartment or condo? Do you still need insurance, or will your landlord’s insurance cover it? More importantly, are you covered against hurricanes? Read on for answers.
The Facts on Hurricanes in Florida
For all its natural beauty and (mostly) gorgeous weather, Florida’s geography makes it a magnet for hurricanes. It has the dubious distinction of having suffered the most hurricanes in United States history; over 125 of them since 1851, with 40 of those classified as “major” hurricanes. Several of these have been outright deadly, with Hurricane Andrew being the second most recent Category 5 hurricane to his the US (in August of 1992).
In fact, extreme weather events have grown so common and damaging that Florida is experiencing an insurance crisis. Insurance companies are having to overhaul how they underwrite homes, and some insurers are pulling out of the state entirely. Many homeowners find themselves struggling to pay their premiums because of skyrocketing costs.
Why Renters Insurance is Important
Like anything else, renting a home has its benefits and drawbacks. One of the benefits is that you’re not financially responsible for protecting the structure of the building, as that’s the landlord’s purview. But unfortunately — despite common myths to the contrary — you also aren’t covered by your landlord’s insurance. Landlord’s insurance covers the building and its infrastructure, but won’t cover any of your personal possessions.
As a renter, you might not think renter’s insurance is worth it — but if you think about everything you own, from your furniture and clothing to electronics and heirlooms — most likely you’d experience some major financial hardship if it were all wiped out by a hurricane tomorrow. That’s just one reason why renters insurance is so important.
What Renters Insurance Covers
Much like homeowners insurance, renters insurance provides protection against what are called “common perils” — things like fire, wind, hail, lightning, and other natural phenomena. Many of these come hand-in-hand with hurricanes, which means a lot of the damage typically caused by hurricanes is covered by your renters insurance policy.
However, it should be noted one thing isn’t covered by standard renters insurance, and that’s flooding. This isn’t unique to renters insurance; in general, phenomena like floods and earthquakes require separate policies or endorsements to be covered. If you live in a part of Florida prone to flooding, examine your insurance policy carefully and see if you need to add separate flood insurance.
Other Perks of Renters Insurance
Renters insurance is great for replacing your belongings if they’re lost to theft or damaged in some way, but that’s not all it’s good for. For one thing, many renters insurance policies will provide help with temporary living expenses if your rental unit is rendered uninhabitable for some reason — a nice benefit to have if you live in an area vulnerable to hurricanes. A renters insurance policy can also provide liability protection in case someone is injured while in your rental unit and decides to hold you financially responsible for medical expenses.
But Is It Affordable?
For people who rent, insurance might seem like too much of a luxury. After all, it’s got to be about as expensive as homeowner’s insurance, right? As it turns out, not really. When you compare it to the potential losses if all your possessions are lost or destroyed due to catastrophe, the cost is downright minimal. The mean cost of renters insurance in Florida is $227 a year, although you may not even end up paying that much. Ross Martin at insurance comparison site The Zebra points out that companies like Security First offer renters insurance for as little as $142 a year — that’s not even $12 a month. Martin also points out that premiums can vary significantly by city.
Not only that, but there are some local government programs that can help individuals get renters insurance at reduced prices, meaning you can keep your belongings protected for less than the price of a few cups of coffee a month. It’s worth shopping around, comparing quotes, and exploring your options when it comes to renters insurance.
A hurricane doesn’t care if your possessions are covered or not — sometimes, Mother Nature can be capricious, and those things you’ve worked so hard for could be gone in an instant. With Florida’s hurricane season in full swing and extreme weather events growing more common, getting renters insurance is just a wise investment.
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.