Monday, November 23, 2015

Why Renters Insurance? A Story That Explains It All

So you just got out on your own, got out of your parents place and want to prove to the world that you can survive. You've saved up enough money to pay for the first and last month's rent for your apartment, you just put utilities in your name, and filled your fridge and cabinets with all sorts of food you know you will never eat. You bring your big screen TV, your Xbox, your Wii, and every other electronic device you have into your new apartment. You sit back and relax, knowing that you are independent. No longer attached to your parents, you feel really good about yourself. You are finally living every teenagers dream.

You awaken later that night just in time to hear the door slam. You remember hearing voices, but you thought they were part of your dream. Did you imagine the door slamming? You didn't invite anybody over. What was that noise? You slowly creep to the door of your bedroom and look out towards the living room. Something isn't quite right. You keep taking small cautious steps towards the living room, and confirm your worst nightmare. All of your stuff is gone. The only item you set up was your bed, the rest of it, was gone. They even took some of your food. Your hands fumble for your phone, the first person you think to call: your dad. He always knows what to do. Your muscle memory quickly kicks in as you realize you didn't even think about it when you dialed his number. "Hello?" a very quiet voice comes on the phone, a voice you recognize as your dad. He sounds very tired, suddenly you realize its 2:45 in the morning. "Dad," you whisper, "Somebody stole my stuff."

A short while later, the police arrive at your apartment. Your dad's there now, trying to help you prepare a list of everything that's missing. "I just can't remember it all," you snap at your dad as you rack your brain to remember what you had. Even though you sounded angry, you still feel glad your dad is there to help comfort you. The police ask you questions, many of them you feel like you can't answer. You finally finish your list and hand it the police officer. You know the list is not complete, you forgot half of the stuff that you had. The officer explains to you that there were no signs of forced entry. Your years of watching C.S.I. kick in and you realize that means somebody didn't have to break in. You tell the officer you remember locking the door. Your dad always taught you to do that. The officer explains that the previous tenants may still have a key, and that you should change the locks. "That advice is a little late don't you think?" you say angrily to the officer, quickly regretting saying that. You knew it wasn't his fault. The officer is quick to come back though, "Well, I hope you have renters insurance."

"Renters insurance?" You asked more politely. "Yeah," the officer says, "renters insurance covers theft of your personal belongings. I recommend it to people who are renting, did you know that it's the only way to protect your personal belongings, even if they are in your car? I rent too, and I have renters insurance for my place. It's only about ten bucks a month."

"Ten bucks a month." You say as I looked around the empty room. "You mean I could have all of my stuff replaced from this, and it would only cost me ten bucks a month?"

"Yup," the officer says reaching for his wallet and pulls out a card, "here, why don't you talk to my insurance agent. He sells Farmers Insurance, good rates, and he will treat you right. Tell him I sent you. Here is his card."

"Thanks!" you say with maybe a little too much excitement. "I will call him tomorrow. What are the odds you will find my stuff?"

"Honestly?" The officer asks, "I don't think we will ever find it. You don't have a complete list, and there is no way to identify the property as yours even if we do find it. Sorry, but most of these crimes just go unsolved.

Once the officer leaves, your dad asks you if you wanted to come home for the night. You really want to, but you have waited for this moment for so long. You tell your dad you think you will be okay. As your father walks out of your apartment, you turn the lock on your door. You almost laugh as you think how pointless that action was. Somebody out there has complete access to your apartment, you might as well leave it unlocked.

For the rest of the night, you don't get any sleep. Every little noise in the new apartment startles you. You think of things you forgot to add to the list you gave to the officer.

The next morning you call the agent on the card. While speaking with the agent, he explains what Farmers Insurance does differently from other companies.

"Well," he says, "We have a feature called Contents Replacement. Basically, if you have a couch now, and something happens to it, you get enough money to buy a new couch of equal or greater value. Without that feature, you would only get about the 'garage sale' value of the couch. How would you buy a new couch with only twenty bucks? That may be the value of the couch to an insurance adjuster, but it was a couch to you! You don't need twenty bucks, you need a couch."

The agent finishes filling you in on all of the features and low cost of renters insurance, you finally breathe a sigh of relief. "Once I buy a new lock for my apartment, I think I can finally sleep well again." You think as you read off your credit card number to the agent. "I just wish everything was this simple."

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