Everyone is happy when they upgrade their lives and get a new and nicer apartment. But before you sign that lease, don’t let your euphoria blind you to the risks! There are a few things you should take a look at to make sure that you and your family will be safe in your new home.
These are common, everyday things that could put you at serious risk, and it only takes a few minutes or a few questions to mitigate that risk in the hopes you’ll never have to use your renters insurance.
Make Sure Your Renters Insurance Covers You In Your New Apartment
Top on the list of things to check in a new apartment is making sure that your renters insurance follows you to your new apartment. Many policies give you a period of time while you’re moving your primary residence from one apartment to another, but after that, it’s imperative that you let your insurance company know you’ve moved so the policy can be updated. If you don’t already have a policy, make sure to get one – it’s the least expensive way to protect your family from both common and uncommon risks.
Make Sure Smoke Detectors And Fire Alarms Work
Smoke detectors are easy to check – there’s a button right on them for that exact purpose. Ensure that they’re present, that the test button works, and that there are enough of them. There should be a smoke detector outside each sleeping area, as well as in hallways and stairwells.
If it’s a central fire alarm, ask the prospective landlord whether it’s been maintained and monitored. You’d think that these would always be maintained and monitored, but when looking to make a list of things to check in a new apartment, it’s crucial to be sure. For example, several residents who had Knoxville renters insurance found after an apartment fire that the alarms hadn’t been properly maintained. Fortunately, it was a mid-day fire, so most people were awake or out of the house, but investigators determined that the fire alarm pull stations didn’t work at all.
Visually Inspect Electrical Outlets
So you’re not an electrician. You don’t need to be. One of the things to check in a new apartment is the condition of the outlets. First, are there enough of them, or will you need to run extension cords all over your new home? That’s never a good situation – it’s both a slip and fall risk as well as a fire risk. But even more important, make sure that the outlets themselves and the wall surrounding them are clean and in good repair.
Any darkening or soot on the outlet is evidence of a spark or a small fire at some point in the past, and that’s downright dangerous. Outlets that indicate prior electrical problems also lead to further questions – did a previous tenant overload that outlet, or is there a serious concern with the electrical system in the building? One Pittsburgh apartment fire may have been started by an overloaded service panel where the power came into the building.
Verify Exit Routes From All Sleeping Areas
Ideally, you should have at least two ways out of any sleeping area. The door counts as the first escape route, of course. You should also be able to use a window for the same purpose. If you’re not on the first floor, are there fire escape ladders of some sort, or another way down? People jump from multistory buildings to escape fires on a daily basis, but it shouldn’t have to be that way.
What Is The Loss History Of The Building?
Another thing to check in a new apartment is the number and type of previous losses in the building. While you don’t have direct access to the insurance industry reports with this data, you do have access to Google. Search the community by name and address for things like fire, theft, and burglary. No property is perfect, admittedly, but you should be able to glean enough information to determine if there’s a pattern.
None of this information in a vacuum is enough to make a decision, of course. You need to evaluate the entire picture of the safety and security of your new home when you’re coming up with a list of things to check in a new apartment. For more tips on how to make sure your new home is safe, call Effective Coverage at (800)892-4308 or click above to buy renters insurance online. It’s far and away the most efficient way to protect your family.