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9.4M Seniors Rent Instead of Own: 3 Tips to Protect Valuables

9.4M Seniors Rent Instead of Own: 3 Tips to Protect Valuables

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By Thursday, 14 May 2020 12:10 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Whether it's economic circumstances, a desire for less home maintenance or hesitations of assisted living communities during the pandemic, seniors may choose to rent a home instead of owning.

Renting a home or apartment is commonplace among college students, but for many seniors it's a new option that comes with some risk. Older renters are often more likely to own valuable items and vacations become easier to take once you don’t have work and young kids to worry about.

For these reasons, seniors should be cautious when it comes to their valuables.

Millions of Seniors Are Renting

More than 9.4 million renters across the U.S. are age 65 and up, which comes to about 9% of all renters, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. Renting comes with some benefits. For example, renters have much less home maintenance to worry about and pay for, compared to homeowners that spend about 1%–3% of a home's purchase price annually on these types of costs.

1. Expect to Pay More for Rental Insurance

Even if it's not required within the lease, older renters should consider protecting their belongings with renters insurance. The price tag for a standard policy averages $16 per month, but you may want to consider additional coverage if you have more expensive belongings. This will typically drive the price up.

When you own a home, homeowners insurance is typically required and protects your home and valuables. But when you rent, it may be easy to leave this item off the budget sheet. Renters insurance primarily covers the replacement cost for any lost or stolen valuables.

People who are 65 and older have a mean net worth of $1.07 million, compared to just $76,200 for Americans 35 and under. Net worth includes the sum of your assets and valuables, such as your house and any items in it.

The cost of your renters insurance policy will depend on the value of your belongings. Senior renters tend to have far more items to cover, and those items tend to be more valuable. That means seniors could end up paying more for renters insurance. 

2. Navigating Supplemental Coverage to Help With Standard Policy Limits

Every policy comes with its own coverage limits. The insurer may place limits on each item, from furniture to watches and television sets. If your items are more valuable, the policy limits and the assumed depreciation could mean you would receive less reimbursement after filing a claim. But you can extend your policy limits with additional coverage options.

For example, you can add supplemental scheduled personal property coverage to a standard rental insurance policy.

Consider scheduled personal property coverage if you own high-value items such as furs, expensive jewelry and watches, collectibles, antiques, firearms, and musical instruments. You may also consider this add-on if some of your items have significantly appreciated in value.

To properly use this policy, you will likely need either a receipt or an official appraisal to show to your insurance provider as proof of the item's value. 

3. Your Personal Property Is Protected Outside the Home

It's not uncommon for seniors to travel often, especially to visit family and friends. If you decide to take some of your personal property with you, such as a camera, laptop or expensive coat, it will be covered under your renters insurance policy. Should something get lost or stolen during your travels, renters insurance can offer reimbursement. 

Choose Your Own Policy

The vast majority of landlords and rental property owners require renters insurance. This insurance helps mitigate potential lawsuits against them should something get lost or stolen. However, some rental properties may try to persuade you to buy a policy from a company they've partnered with.

But you don't have to go with the landlord's suggestion — you can purchase renters insurance through any company you choose. Many provide discounts if you purchase multiple policies; for example, you can bundle auto insurance and renters insurance for cost savings.

Shop for the best possible prices for you, but ensure you're getting the coverage you need to effectively protect all of your valuables.

Maxime Rieman is Product Manager at ValuePenguin. Educating and assisting shoppers about financial products has been Rieman's focus, which led her to joining ValuePenguin, a consumer research and advice company based in New York. Previously, she was product marketing director at CoverWallet and launched the personal insurance team at NerdWallet.

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Whether it's economic circumstances, a desire for less home maintenance or hesitations of assisted living communities during the pandemic, seniors may choose to rent a home instead of owning.
seniors, rent, buy, financial tips, protect, valuables
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2020-10-14
Thursday, 14 May 2020 12:10 PM
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