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Uninsured New York Renters Could Face a Flood of Problems

Posted on December 15, 2010

A basic renters policy provides apartment coverage and peace of mind

Say you come home after work and want a quick shower before you head out for dinner. You turn the knob in your tub — nothing. Maintenance has turned the water off in your building. You’re irked. You leave. Then you come back four hours later to find the spigot on full blast, an overflowing tub and water all over your apartment and leaking down into your neighbor’s one floor below.

Or say you’re living in a renovated 70-year-old building in TriBeCa, and one day an old water main breaks, floods your apartment and ruins thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics and clothes.

We’ve seen these kinds of claims before, and they reinforce the importance of renters insurance, especially in New York City. A lot of renters think they can file claims against their landlord’s insurance if their belongings are damaged or destroyed in a flood or fire. They’re usually wrong.

Typically, landlords’ policies insure the physical building and common areas but not the personal property of their tenants — unless the landlord is obviously negligent and, for example, hires maintenance workers who install a dishwasher but improperly hook up a hose. Otherwise, if you lose stuff in a flood or fire, you’ll have to file a claim with your own insurance, and if your negligence results in damage to your neighbors’ stuff, your policy would have to cover their losses as well. Without a renters policy, you’re liable for untold amounts of damage.

We see water damage claims resulting from pure carelessness all the time. Of course very often no negligence is involved and things just break. It’s an issue everywhere, even with new construction, but in New York so many people live in apartment buildings that may be 75 or 100 years old, with water lines that haven’t been replaced or cleaned in years. Renters policies are surprisingly affordable, and if you think you don’t need coverage because you don’t own that much, think again: The cost of your clothes, furniture and electronics alone probably runs in the multiple thousands of dollars. It just makes sense to insure what you own.

Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc., knows New York City inside and out and works hard to make sure all of our customers have the best possible coverage at the lowest possible cost. Fill out our quote request form or give us a call at the number above to learn more about how we can help you find the right renters policy for you.

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.