By Gayle O’Connell, senior vice president, marketing & communications, Arbella Insurance Group
Every year, more millennials become first-time renters after graduating from college or moving out on their own. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them also join the ranks of the nearly 70 percent of U.S. renters that don’t have renter’s insurance.
Young people often don’t know that they’re not covered, and don’t understand that they could lose everything they own in the case of a fire or burglary. What’s more, a shocking 52 percent of renters surveyed by InsuranceQuotes.com said they thought they couldn’t afford renter’s insurance, with more than a fifth estimating that it would cost them more than $1,000 a year.
The good news is that insurance agents and brokers are perfectly positioned to help correct the misconceptions of many millennial renters. The next time you’re meeting with a young first-time renter, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. A Landlord’s Policy Doesn’t Cover The Tenant’s Possessions
Everyone in the insurance industry knows this, but a surprising number of millennials don’t. Know your audience and remember that most young renters have never had to think about insuring their valuables before. Many young renters assume that their landlord’s insurance policy covers their personal property inside the apartment, and they don’t need insurance like homeowners do. Be sure to clear that up.
2. It’s not as Expensive as They Think
The fact that so many renters overestimate the cost of renter’s insurance is a big problem, but it’s also easily solved. Explain to millennials that most renter’s insurance policies cost significantly less than they think: the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) estimates that a policy costs $185 per year on average. And given that the typical burglary causes about $2,100 in losses, renter’s insurance is actually quite a good deal.
3. “I Don’t Own Enough Stuff” is No Reason to Go Bare
Many first-time renters underestimate the value of the property in their apartment, but their possessions are usually more valuable than they think. Millennials will often bring furniture with them from their parents’ homes, and don’t realize how high the replacement value of these items can be. Household items like couches and mattresses cost several hundreds of dollars each to replace; make sure that the millennials you work with understand that, too.
In addition, many renter’s insurance policies either include or have the option to include identity theft coverage. Since most millennials own either a laptop, smartphone or both, make it clear that their renter’s policy can cover not only the loss of their device but also any misuse of the financial data that’s stored on it. Financial fraud from identity theft can do serious damage to a young person’s finances – let them know that renter’s insurance can protect them.
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4. It Covers More Than Your Property
Beyond covering personal property, most renter’s insurance policies also cover liability and additional living expenses (ALE). Explain to your young customers that if someone gets hurt while visiting their apartment, their renter’s insurance policy can help cover any liability costs. Additionally, if their apartment should be destroyed or become temporarily uninhabitable, most renter’s insurance policies will cover the costs of hotel rooms and other living expenses. These issues are not typically the first thing on the mind of 20-somethings getting their first apartment, but they’re very important.
Make it Easy for Them
Just like everyone else, millennials are more likely to do something if you make it easy for them. Try to take advantage of any bundled policies that the carriers you work with are offering. If the young people you work with can simply add renter’s insurance to an existing policy, they’ll be more likely to do so.
Arbella has had great success with its Carpartment program, which bundles renter’s insurance with car insurance. When people sign up for car insurance with Arbella, the carrier offers to include renter’s insurance at a reduced price. Because all drivers are required to have auto insurance, Carpartment gives agents a regular opportunity to explain the importance of renter’s insurance, and many policyholders decide to expand their coverage.
Young people have a lot of misconceptions about renter’s insurance, but it’s not hard to explain its importance if you know what to say. Most first-time renters don’t understand just how risky it is to go without coverage (and how inexpensive it is to get it), and insurance agents with the right information and policies can do a lot to increase the number of millennial policyholders.
Read related: “House of Collusion: Landlord, Tenant Arrested for Arson, Fraud.”