Rental Insurance Vs. Home Security System


How do you protect your castle when it’s not your castle, but an apartment you’re renting?

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Security System

Security systems from ADT, Protect America, and the like are geared primarily to homeowners, but modern options from companies such as SimpliSafe, LaserShield, and LifeShield all utilize wireless technology and cost less money than the mainstream securers.

Furthermore, they all charge lower installation and monthly monitoring fees than the big guys. The tradeoff is that you have to set up the sensors yourself, which is easy because they are battery-powered and wireless, and offer fewer customizable options. Nevertheless, they all cover the basics: alarms that make noise when someone breaks in, and 24/7 monitoring that dispatches police when an alarm sounds.

The Cost

$200-$800 for the equipment, including sensors, a base station and alarms. $15-$100 monthly for monitoring, depending on the company and degree of coverage.

If that’s too rich, smartphones and the Internet make it easy for you to run your own alarm system, with motion-detecting webcams that will alert your phone if someone breaks in. In that case, you simply buy the equipment and never pay again.

The principle behind a security system is threefold: First, the alarm will frighten away most burglars, who want to avoid detection and have likely chosen your apartment at random or because it seemed easy to rob. Secondly, a professional security system ensures that police get to your apartment as soon as a break-in happens, in case something more serious is going on. Thirdly, having a security system makes your apartment a less attractive target.

Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance covers a variety of things, beginning with the possessions you keep inside your apartment and extending to all sorts of injuries that happen somehow related to your apartment.

Fewer than half of home and apartment renters in the United States have renter’s insurance, and over the past few years the number has dropped, as many have chosen not to renew it on account of economic downturn. But renter’s insurance is not only very affordable, but also extremely helpful.

The Cost

The average renter’s insurance costs $10/month. This covers every scrap of your possessions, including TV, laptop, and that scarf your mom gave you for Christmas. Altogether, most people have thousands of dollars of property. Your landlord’s insurance covers the building, but not the property within, so you are protecting yourself here.

Additionally, you can take all sorts of steps to cut the cost. For instance, ahome security system will lower your rate, as will raising your deductible so you can’t claim small losses. Any security measure you take will lower your rate, from installing a better deadbolt to replacing the smoke alarm.

The Coverage

The short answer: a whole lot of thingsProperty damage from fire, smoke, theft, vandalism, explosions, etc.

But renter’s insurance also covers injuries that others sustain while at your house, damage that you cause to your neighbor’s property, and even something like a suitcase stolen while traveling, or CDs stolen from your car. It’s great! And so cheap!

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Which Is Better?

A Home Security System for your apartment may help protect you from theft and some natural disasters, but it does not give back what has been lost.

Renter’s Insurance, on the other hand, will pay for everything the thief steals or the fire burns, plus even keep you from getting sued by that drunk girl who broke her ankle dancing on your coffee table. Plus, renter’s insurance costs far less than a security system.

For an apartment dweller, renter’s insurance looks like the obvious choice. That said, if you live in a dangerous neighborhood, want to reduce your renter’s insurance rate, or just want to be careful, getting both won’t hurt.

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