As many of you may know, I’m a freelance writer in addition to blogging here at at my own site. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with an interesting client covering the topic of insurance. It’s actually surprised me how little I knew about insurance before signing on to help this client, and it made me think twice about one type of insurance in particular – renters insurance. As we move into the new year and many of you resolve to make blogging your business, rather than just a side hobby, I wanted to mention here some of the things I’ve learned…because if I need to be more vigilant about purchasing insurance to protect my blog, maybe you do as well.
First and foremost, I didn’t realize that my landlord’s insurance didn’t cover any of my crap. And I have a lot of crap. Enough to make minimalists shudder at the thought. Even if you don’t have a lot of crap, though, the items you do own have nothing to do with you landlord’s policy (in most cases – never say never). Of course, if you own your own home, this doesn’t really apply – your homeowners insurance should cover your items too. But if you’re a renter, you can’t rely on your landlord to purchase insurance. Knock on wood, if something horrible happens, your items will be lost. The end.
Why is that important for bloggers? Well, if you have a typically 9-to-5 job, your home going up in flames, a break in, or a pipe bursting may destroy everything you own, but you can still go in to work the next day to make money and replace your possessions. Not so much if you’re a blogger. You can’t blog without the proper tools, which means, at the very least, a computer. If you don’t have the money in your bank account to purchase a new one right away, you can’t “go into the office,” which means you aren’t making money…and you can see how that can become a ridiculous vicious cycle.For the cost of just a few bucks a month, your tushie is covered.
Something else I didn’t realize – many renters insurance policies also cover you when you travel in case your items are lost or stolen. It depends on the policy of course, but if a pickpocket gets your phone or you leave your laptop somewhere and it’s suddenly gone, you might be covered. That’s actually a huge relief to me. I’m paranoid about my stuff getting stolen or lost when I’m at events like BlogWorld. Not that any of you would swipe my bag when I’m not looking – but Vegas is a big city and not everyone there is nice.
I hope you’ll at least consider checking out the renters insurance policies available in your area. I know this isn’t the sexiest of posts, but if there’s one thing I love about my job it’s getting to learn new and interesting things about the world – and this is important. I’m actually covered now, and it cost me less than $120 a year. That’s less than $10 a month. It’s totally worth the peace of mind.
You can read more about renters insurance at RentersInsurance.org if I’ve inspired you to check out this kind of insurance. I sincerely hope I have. Sometimes we live online so much that we forget about “real life” things like insurance, but it’s important too!
I’d love to hear from some other renters out there – do you have this type of insurance? Have you ever had to put in a claim? Do you think it’s worth the money?
It is always advisable to have your own renter’s policy as it protects you in case of liability as well — if someone is injured on your property or if you have a dog that bites someone, etc. Landlord policies pretty much only cover the structure and any negligence on the part of the homeowner, not the tenant. Many rental contracts specify the renter must have their own renter’s policy (I always made sure mine did when I had rental property in Vegas).
Not to shake your peace of mind, but you need to check with your agent on equipment used for business. Some renter’s properties may exclude damage or loss to equipment that should be covered under a business policy. I worked in litigation (insurance defense) doing homeowner’s and auto insurance claims for a large insurance company and handled a number of western US states. I was stunned to learn how much policies don’t cover a majority of the time. Vegas is a very scary legal venue there are laws and statutes that make zero sense, but they are what they are.
For people who are full-time freelancers (like myself now) and write off their equipment on taxes and such are the ones who have the potential to run into problems with coverage on policies. My parents run a home based business and their HO policy will not cover loss of property if it is used for the business, they have a separate business policy for that.
Another word on renter’s or HO policies in general, if you have certain items that are worth more than the general allotment, you need special writers or additional attachments — items like jewelry, expensive electronics, artwork, collectibles, etc. You need to have those inventoried and scheduled to ensure you get fully reimbursed!
I just have to add this is just a personal comment and is in no way to be construed as legal advice. (I am required to note that)
Hope this info helps! I am pretty lucky to have had the benefit of a 12 year legal background prior to moving abroad and becoming a freelancer full-time last year. Like you, I am always terrified of losing equipment and having stuff stolen (especially my expensive DSLR equipment!)
Wow – thanks Erin for all of this awesome information! I guess, for all of us bloggers, it boils down to one thing: talk to an agent. Explaining your situation to a professional will ensure that you get the coverage you need.