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I’m Young and Living In New York. Do I Need Renter’s Insurance?

Posted on June 29, 2012

Yes, you do. Young renters underestimate what their possessions are worth

“Do I need renter’s insurance?” People ask that a lot, and they’re usually people who think they don’t own much of value: “Why should I bother with renter’s insurance?”

Think you don't own enough to bother with renter's insurance? Think again. (Photo courtesy of James Cambridge, via Wikimedia Commons)

But people almost always underestimate the value of what they own, even young renters, who may think they’re paupers (especially if they’re living in a closet-sized studio flat in the Village) but usually have stuff worth several thousand dollars.

Here’s an experiment. Grab a notebook or iPad, whichever is handier, and open your closet. How many dresses or pairs of trousers do you see? Most of them cost $50 to $100 a pop, didn’t they? How many tops? Shoes? Just jot down the number of each type of item — there’s no need to be precise at this point.

Now, if you have a dresser, open the drawers. How many t-shirts do you have? Did you pay about $20 each for them, on average? More? Jot down how many. Hey, don’t forget to count your socks and underwear! They’re (generally) not glamorous, but they cost, too.

Now, grab a calculator or double-click on your calculator app and start multiplying. I bet you’ve got at least $2,000 hanging in your closet. What about your bed? That’s probably $1,000, if not more. A decent couch? That’s at least $500. Flat-screen TV? At least $500, unless it’s the size of the iPad you’re using to calculate all this. And we haven’t even talked about computers, smartphones, gaming systems, stereo systems — or that iPad.

The point is, you might not own fine china, heirloom silverware or Armani suits, but even the items we think of as ordinary cost more than we think. Insurance Journal, a trade publication that tracks this sort of thing, reported a few years ago that the average college student had between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of personal property. (And that’s not counting the $200 textbooks!)

If you don’t have renter’s insurance, you risk having to pay to replace all of it at once if it’s stolen or destroyed by fire or flood. Have $10,000 to spare?

Didn’t think so.

Well, have a spare $10 or $20 a month?

Yes? Good. Then you can afford a basic renter’s insurance policy. Yes, you can protect yourself from financial ruin for the monthly cost of what you’d pay to download the new Usher album.

For 50 years, Gotham Brokerage has helped New Yorkers find excellent renter’s insurance, working through a broad portfolio of underwriters to secure the policy that fits your needs. To find out how we can help you, request a quote at the top right or give us a call at 212-406-7300.

Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc. is a family run insurance brokerage serving New Yorkers for over 50 years. We specialize in the insurance needs for those living in the city and provide a full range of insurance products designed specifically for the city.