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Why renter's insurance is important

March 18, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A fire March 12 at Hidden Hills apartments affected dozens of Western Michigan University students and left several with nothing but the clothes on their backs. This most recent of several apartment fires in predominantly student housing has called attention to deficiencies in several areas, including the need for tenants to have renter's insurance.

In an effort to raise public awareness of the problem, emergency planning and public safety officers from the county, city and university, as well as the American Red Cross issued a fact sheet this week.

Facts about renting in Kalamazoo

  • Nearly half--48 percent--of the people in the city of Kalamazoo are renters.
  • Only 3 percent of apartments surveyed in the city require tenants to have renter's insurance. That may change soon.
  • In the past three years, 80 percent of the people helped by the Greater Kalamazoo Area American Red Cross did not have renter's insurance.

Facts about renter's insurance

  • The landlordís insurance does not cover the personal property of tenants.
  • Renter's Insurance covers personal possessions in case of theft, fire or other disasters.
  • Renter's Insurance typically costs $10 to $20 a month, depending on a variety of factors, including housing location, previous claims filed, and the amount of coverage and deductible.

How to obtain renter's insurance

Many students may find it easiest--and least expensive--to deal with their parents' insurance agent from their hometown, or with the insurance company that covers their automobile, but remember it always pays to shop around. Get recommendations from friends and call a few agencies or comparison shop online.

Cost is not the only consideration. As with all insurance, it's important to know what is covered and what is not, and how good a particular company is at paying claims.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400