As renting spreads, many lack insurance

As the number of renters across the nation grows, many lack insurance coverage to protect their belongings.

Respondents to a recent survey indicated that their main fear as renters is fire damage, saying that it might take three or more years for them to replace all their belongings. Less than half of those surveyed reported possessing renters' insurance, meaning that they would bear the full brunt of housing and item replacement costs in an emergency. Researchers estimate that the average renter owns belongings worth about $30,000, according to the Insurance Journal.

While some may own much less and some more, many renters do not have the resources to easily or quickly replace all of their belongings. That cost also fails to account for other issues, such as temporary housing in the aftermath of fire damage or any further costs that may be incurred as a result of losing valuable items or documentation. Landlords and rental property management professionals might insure apartment buildings, but that coverage will not generally help renters in the event of a fire.

Those who do have coverage should make certain that they complete an inventory of their belongings for insurance purposes, researchers note. It could also be helpful to save copies of important documents elsewhere and copy and files or personal information.