Many people reach out to us and ask,
Do I need renters insurance for an apartment? What’s the worst that could happen?
The founder of Effective Coverage came from a background in insuring commercial real estate, and knows exactly what happens when there’s a fire in a multifamily dwelling. We very rarely offer an answer to “What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t have Burlington, VT Renters Insurance?” because the answer will give you nightmares.
But to truly answer, do you need renters insurance for an apartment… We’ll have to break from tradition a bit and offer one possible worst case scenario. You’ll find it below our Video Renters Insurance Guide. Before you meet Tammy and hear her story, know that you were warned.
At 21, Tammy worked hard to do everything right in her life… Because she had done everything wrong in her life up to that point. Tammy lived in a cheap third floor walkup apartment. It wasn’t close to the bus, but it was what she could afford. Tammy laughed at the thought of “affording” anything at all, these days. She looked at her sleeping daughter, and thought about why she lived the way she did.
Tammy hadn’t come from money, but she hadn’t grown up poor. She had, however, grown up religious and her pregnancy at seventeen was not welcomed by her family. Her own religious convictions prevented her from having an abortion, so the only option was to strike out on her own. Somehow, she managed.
A friend of a friend’s father had reluctantly given her a chance running files in an office part-time. Two years later, she now spent eight hours a day greeting people from a desk in the same office. But it paid a little more, there were benefits, and she had a desk to sit down at. It was an improvement, but incremental improvements were not what Tammy was going for.
Tammy still had hopes and dreams, and she wasn’t about to give them up. After work, it was off to Community College of Vermont, where she was taking classes towards an associates degree that would let her apply for paralegal positions at the law firm where she worked. From there, she expected to finish a bachelors, and eventually apply to law school.
Money was tight, but Tammy was happy. She had her daughter and she had her dreams. Before she fell asleep that night, she lit a candle so she wouldn’t have to turn on a light and wake her daughter when her very, very early day started. Tammy fell asleep with big dreams, but awoke to a noise she couldn’t quite place.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
“That sounds like a smoke detector. Are the batteries going? That’s more money I can’t spend.”
“If it was the batteries, it wouldn’t be that constant… Oh my God!”
Tammy had knocked over the candle on her nightstand when she rolled over in the middle of the night. The candle burned just long enough to set some papers on her nightstand on fire. Those papers burned just long enough to set her curtains on fire. Tammy grabbed her daughter and ran outside, knocking on any door she could find to warn the other sleeping residents of the fire along the way.
In the aftermath of the fire, the Red Cross was able to give her three nights in a hotel. That wasn’t much, but it gave her time to scramble. By the end of those three days, she had bigger problems than where they would stay that night.
The law firm she worked for handled insurance work. It just so happened that a client happened to be the insurance company that had insured the building she lived in. After a quick meeting of the partners, they advised the insurance company that they had a conflict of interest in this particular matter. It happens from time to time, and lawyers are bound to report them. The insurance company understood.
The next move of the partner who hired Tammy was to escort her out of the building. He told her,
Officially, we’ve eliminated your position. Off the record, though… You’re an excellent worker. But you’re about to be sued by an insurance company, and many more are likely to follow. You’re about to have some other legal problems, as well, and we simply can’t have that in the office.
Tammy was beyond crushed. She had no real marketable skills, the only reason she got the job was a favor. The only reason she had kept the job was that she did well at it. A tuition payment was due next week, and if it wasn’t paid she would be dropped from her classes. At this point in the semester, it would show as a withdraw… If she ever could pay off what was owed to the school and get transcripts.
As to the lawsuits from the insurance company that covered the building and the insurance companies that covered the other residents who had Burlington, VT Renters Insurance, they were hopeless. She’d appear, of course, because that was what you did. But she certainly couldn’t hire a lawyer.
She also couldn’t face the inevitable condemnation when she walked in the door of her “home”. Her parents had let her move back, with some conditions on her performance in school and her continuing to work. They’d take care of her child, they loved their granddaughter… But Tammy was out of luck.
Do you need renters insurance? What would have been different about Tammy’s story if she had had renters insurance for her apartment in Burlington? What would that coverage have cost her? Tammy had avoided renters insurance because that fifteen dollars a month could certainly go to other bills.
Defense Against Liability Claims
If Tammy had realized that she did need renters insurance, her insurance company would have defended her against the many claims and lawsuits that arose from the fire caused by her negligence, at no cost to her. In Tammy’s case specifically, the fact that she had a defense from her insurance company might have kept the whole matter out of court and prevented it from ever becoming problematic at work.
Additional Living Expenses
Tammy wouldn’t be facing the conditions and constant condemnation of her parents if she had known that she did need renters insurance. Additional living expenses coverage would have paid for a hotel as well as the other costs that one incurs when living somewhere that’s not home.
Tammy’s five year old daughter had a lot of stuff, as kids tend to. Not because she planned it that way, but because it accumulates quickly. Tammy herself didn’t have all that much, but office-appropriate clothing gets expensive when you have to replace it all. So does furniture. Renters insurance would have paid to replace all of it, up to the policy limit.
Do I Need Renters Insurance? What’s The Worst That Can Happen?
If Tammy had been aware that she did need renters insurance, and known about all of the things that it could protect her from, she’d still be on her way to achieving her dreams and overcoming her circumstances. Without renters insurance, Tammy no longer has any dreams. She’s too focused on the present and how to just survive.
Because she didn’t have renters insurance, Tammy will earn substantially less over her lifetime. She’ll have less to retire on, if she can retire. She’ll certainly have less to pass down to her daughter eventually. By not having renters insurance, Tammy’s fire created a significant local economic impact because her future earning potential is now drastically limited, as are her opportunities in life.
If you’re young and don’t have much… You still need renters insurance.
If you’re lucky and nothing bad ever happens to you… You still need renters insurance.
If you’re stubborn and don’t like paying insurance companies that never pay you anything in return… You still need renters insurance.
A life without renters insurance is a life waiting to be destroyed. Dreams without protection are dreams waiting to be crushed under the steel boots of life. Raising a child without renters insurance means you’re just waiting for the day when you’ll be raising that child with nothing but the clothes on your back.
No one ever told Tammy how important the coverage was, or that she didn’t need to go into an agent’s office between 9 and 5. But now you know what can happen if you’re not protected. Getting covered is quick and easy, too. Just call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need Burlington, VT renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
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What's Your Insurance Language?
- Do You Need Renters Insurance ASAP? Check out the fastest way to buy renters insurance online and get covered in just 60 seconds!
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- Do You Need Some Time Alone With Your Thoughts? We understand, which is why we created the VT Guide To Renters Insurance.
- Just Want To Watch A Movie Together? See our Video VT Renters Insurance Guide!