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Renters Insurance

   If you rent an apartment or own a condominium, you need insurance to protect your belongings. There are several types of residential insurance policies. Some are designed for renters, while others are for condo owners. Both cover losses to your personal property from major types of events including weather, natural phenomenon (excluding floods and earthquakes), water or electrical damage, and damage or theft caused by people.

   An insurance company will offer "actual cash value" (ACV) or "replacement cost coverage" for your belongings. ACV coverage will pay only for what your property was worth at the time it was damaged or stolen. Replacement cost coverage will pay what it actually costs to replace the items you lost. In some regions, most insurers write ACV coverage; in others, replacement cost coverage is standard. Replacement cost coverage will cost you more in premiums, but it will also pay out more if you ever need to file a claim.

   If your apartment or condominium becomes uninhabitable due to a fire, burst pipes, or any other reason covered by your policy, your insurance will cover your "additional living expenses." Generally, that means paying for you to live somewhere else.

   Liability protection is also standard with most renters and condo policies. This means if someone in your unit slips and falls, you're covered for any costs, up to your liability limit. If this person sues you, you're covered for what they win in a court judgment as well as your legal expenses, up to your policy's limit.

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