On July 1, 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Tennessee’s population at 6,715,984. That means Tennessee’s population has increased by almost one-fifth since 2000.

Census figures show that more than 2.26 million Tennesseans – about 33.7 percent of all residents – live in rented units such as houses, apartments and duplexes.

Most renters, however, do not have renters insurance. As a result, their belongings are at risk from fires, theft, tornadoes and floods.

Q. Why do I need renters insurance? Doesn’t my landlord carry insurance?

Most landlords and property owners do purchase and maintain insurance to pay for damage or loss to their buildings in case of fire, burst pipes or other hazards.

This insurance purchased by the landlord, however, usually does not cover contents of the rented housing unit. Renters insurance can cover everything from electronics to clothing to household appliances.

Q. I don’t do anything risky. Why do I need renters insurance?

Basic renters insurance usually covers a large range of risks that may happen even to renters with careful, safe lifestyles – including fire, lightning, tornadoes, burst pipes and theft.

Standard renters insurance usually doesn’t cover damage from earthquakes or floods, unless you purchase a “rider” for such risks. A “rider” is an add-on provision to an insurance policy which provides additional coverage for special circumstances.

Q. But isn’t renters insurance expensive?

Actually, no. Most insurance companies provide basic renters insurance at a low monthly cost, ranging from $9 to $28 per month. Shop around for free quotes.

Q. Is renters insurance needed for college students?

Maybe. Some parents’ homeowner policies cover dormitory room losses for a dependent college student, but will not cover losses in off-campus housing. Renters insurance may also cover losses from vehicle break-ins.

Ask your insurance provider to be sure – before a loss happens!

Jim Hawkins is a general practice and public interest law attorney in Sumner County. This column represents legal information, and is not intended to take the place of legal advice. All cases are different and need individual attention. Consult with a private attorney of your choice to review the facts and law specific to your case. You can call (615) 452-9200 to suggest future column topics.

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