Last week we got some very bad news: our friends’ home had been burglarized and over $34,000 worth of computer equipment was stolen. Fortunately our friends had renters’ insurance, although that hasn’t made the pain of their loss any easier. One of them is a web developer and IT specialist who works from home. The other is a computer engineering graduate student. While they wait for their insurance company to process their claim, both of them have had to put their lives on hold. But at least they were insured.

Our friends’ loss was a wake up call for my partner and me. We’ve been talking about renters’ insurance for months, but we’ve never done anything about it. This week we’ve gotten busy and started looking into the different policy options. Here’s what we discovered:

Renters’ insurance from Geico is $204 a year for $20,000 coverage with a $250 deductible. The same coverage from Progressive Insurance is $494 a year. State Farm offers $25,000 coverage with a $500 deductible for $210 a year. We haven’t made a final decision about a carrier yet, but we have started to collect the serial numbers for our laptops, TV, and other property items.

One thing we have learned from watching our friends go through the process of finalizing their insurance claim is that you should always keep the receipts and owners’ manuals for your electronic equipment so that you have proof of ownership when you file an insurance claim. I hate owners’ manuals. I think they clutter up my life. But, they obviously serve more than one purpose. I guess I’ll stop thinking of them as useless piles of paper.

I hope that you never have to make use of renters’ insurance. However, take a lesson from my friends’ experience and protect yourself. Because you never know what can happen.

If you have purchased renters’ insurance, do you find that it adds to your peace of mind? What carrier did you choose?

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