A sense of community, a sense of protection

Friendships can make a neighborhood watch more efficient and effective.

Renters insurance is a safety net used to support clients when the unthinkable happens. Yet for the renter and the insurer, prevention is the truest safeguard.

neighborhood

The key to preventions lies in creating a safe environment in which to live. To do so, it is important to build a sense of community with your neighbors. Tight-knit communities look out for each other, care for one another’s well-being, and they are ultimately safer places to live for everyone involved. Being on friendly terms with your neighbors is an unofficial yet effective form of neighborhood watch:

  • When you are familiar with your neighbors and they are familiar with you, both parties will be more readily able to recognize guests and relatives, minimizing the chances that a stranger can enter either property undetected.
  • Friends look out for each other, naturally. It isn’t too much to ask a friend to keep an eye out for your home while you’re away, though it may seem uncomfortable to ask that favor of a stranger.
  • Have you heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child? That still rings true today. Parents can join forces to supervise children when they are out and about in different parts of the neighborhood, increasing vigilance and minimizing a delayed response to dangerous situations or events.
  • Many home care tasks are easier and safer when completed with the assistance of a friend; repairing planks on a deck, removing hazardous overhanging limbs, and other routine maintenance can help to make your rental a safer place for you and your guests.
  • When neighbors have a general idea of your routine activities and lifestyle, it is easier to identify suspicious activity in around your rental. This can be as simple as knowing that you don’t own a grill, so a sign of smoke on your property is a red flag.

Whether you are new to the community or you’ve lived there for a while, it is never too late to forge meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with your neighbors.

Own a pet? Renters insurance is your true companion

If dogs are a man’s best friend then renters insurance is the tie that binds.

Pets. We can spend hours watching YouTube videos of our furry, winged, and scaled companions doing some pretty amazing things. In addition to the love that they provide, many of us would admit that we like having pets around because they’re so lively and entertaining. Their curiosity and energy create some of the highlights of our days.

man holding his dog

Pets are also a major responsibility. Their maintenance and wellbeing are just part of the equation. Caring for your pets (and your guests in the presence of your pets) entails having reliable coverage with renters insurance. Resident Shield policies prepare you for the unexpected.

Under personal liability protection, policy holders receive a maximum of $100,000 of coverage in cases of personal liability claims. When your guest trips over the dog bowl and lands face first on the floor, we have  you covered. The provision also allows up to $25,000 in retribution for dog bites, which could help you and your roommates survive the early years of puppy training and house breaking.  If your guests are injured in any way while in your rental, Resident Shield furnishes up to $10,000 per incident and $500 per person in coverage.

Ideally, you won’t need any of that, right? A few helpful pointers can prevent accidents in your rental.

  • Never underestimate dog training. Dogs that can remain focused and poised under pressure are less likely to react adversely to guests and hectic situations in the home.
  • Have you pet spayed or neutered. Male pets are often more aggressive when they are ready to mate. Females tend to be more skittish, which may make them unpredictable.
  • Create a safe place for pet. When the house is crowded with guests, it’s a good idea to have a safe place for your pet such as a designated room. High-stress situations may cause your pet to act erratically, reacting instinctively when afraid or confused. That could be dangerous to your pet and guests.
  • Advise potential guests and roommates that you have a pet. A simple warning could prevent the onset of allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
  • Add additional security features to cages, aquariums, and other holding containers when guests are present, particularly if your pet has a tendency to escape.

 

 

 

Tips for successfully filing personal liability claims

When the unthinkable happens, it pays to be prepared.

You never imagined a day like this would come. Without warning, the unthinkable happens. A guest or roommate sustains injuries while in your home. In the bustle of the action, it is important to remain composed and take proper measures to document the event. Preparedness and documentation rest at the center of every successfully filed personal liability claim.

 

Insurance Not Risk

To prepare your file, consider the following:

What happened? Take a moment to create an accurate and detailed description of events. This may involve compiling the insights of multiple guests at the scene of the incident. Even the smallest details may be pertinent to your claim so it is better to be too thorough than too vague.

Who was involved? Collect detailed information of those involved in the accident, most importantly the contact information of the injured parties. It may be necessary to contact these individuals throughout the process of your filing.

Where did it occur? Depending on the location of the event, your personal renters insurance may cover damages. In other instances, the coverage may be provided by the landlord’s insurance. To settle any ambiguity, be as specific as possible about the location of the incident.

How was it handled? Some emergencies simply can’t wait. In those cases, it may be necessary to have the problem resolved before you are able to complete a claim. It is important to keep record of how the problem was handled. Did you call a taxi or ambulance? Which hospital was the injured party taken to? Did the incident make the rental uninhabitable for any duration of time, forcing you to stay in a hotel? It is vital to keep all receipts as they will determine your reimbursement. Insist upon receiving receipts when none are offered.

Take photographs. Use photographs as part of your documentation package. Images from a camera phone suffice as well as any. It may be helpful to add captions or descriptions for each of the photos to help processors understand what they are seeing in each image. Do not alter photos.

Your Resident Shield renters insurance representative is here to assist you every step of the way. Simply contact us to have your questions answered.

Easy safety tips for electronics

It’s hard to live without electronics. Enjoy them in safety with these simple tips.

Electronic fires and other dangers can cause serious damage to your rental. In many cases, these accidents are preventable with the knowledge and application of a few safety tips.

outlets

Appropriate Outlets– All outlets must be properly grounded, accompanied by the correct power ratings. You can often check outlet safety during your property inspection. For added safety, use a surge protector with multiple outlets (sometimes called a sister plug or power strip). These units protect your electronics while providing you with multiple outlets for your computer, printer, speakers, and other devices.

Never overload your power strip. For example, it is not safe to have multiple extension cords—which host multiple devices—connected to a single power strip. Stick to a one-to-one outlet to device ratio for optimal safety.

Common Sense Water Safety– Do not operate electronics while you are wet (such as reaching out of the bathtub or pool to adjust the volume on the radio). Though it’s tempting, avoid drinking beverages while operating your laptop and other electronic devices. Aside from ruining the device, you could also risk electrocution and fire.

Breathing Room– Provide electronics with ample air circulation. Do not place electronics against window curtains or block them into an entertainment system or storage unit without proper ventilation.

Common Sense Repair Safety– Aside from changing a light bulb, leave electrical work to the professionals. If you are experiencing frequent power outages, the sporadic dimming of lights in your rental and other problems contact your landlord or leasing agent with your concerns. He or she should contact the appropriate professional to fix the problem.

Cord Care– Discard and replace damaged cords immediate. Electrical tape is not a reliable solution for damaged cords. Do not run damaged cords under carpets or tuck them into the opening along the baseboards.

A little maintenance now, fewer problems later

Maintenance. It’s one little word that seems to require a lot of our time and effort. For that, we tend to avoid regular maintenance on the things that matter most. For renters, that simply isn’t an option.

two electricians working

As a renter, having basic maintenance issues resolved can be as easy as calling the management office. Even if you have to call back multiple times and send emails, it is important to get small issues fixed as soon as possible. If management is unresponsive, have electronic documentation of your efforts to contact them.

Why? Consider this scenario: every time that you turn on the light in the kitchen, you notice that the other lights in the home dim. You know that there is an electrical problem and you’ve contacted the office but you haven’t gotten a response, nor have you pushed for one. You turned off the light before leaving this morning, heard a strange click, but thought nothing of it as you rushed out of the door.

You returned that evening to nothing. Electrical problems lead to a fire. You and your neighbors have lost everything. Who is liable? Without documentation and proper insurance coverage it could be hard to pinpoint the responsible party in such a situation.

A little maintenance can go a long way when it comes to protecting yourself and your property from fire, flood, theft, and other dangers. Push for results from management and contact your insurance specialist to determine when it is appropriate to take matters into your own hands.

Memorial Day Safety

With Memorial Day fast approaching, you are likely scrambling to make sure that your home is ready for guests and festivities. The guest list is complete and the pantry is stocked but there is still one thing to keep in mind before you’re ready to party: safety.

Kids at the swimming pool

Creating a safe environment for your party will simply make your party better! Fewer worries means that you can relax and enjoy time with friends and family. Below is an easy to follow checklist of a few common safety concerns:

  • Grilling is a popular Memorial Day pastime. While getting the coals going may seem like your biggest challenge, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Avoid placing grills on inflammable surfaces. Even decks, particularly those that are painted or varnished, can pose a fire hazard when sparks and embers escape. At least one person should monitor the grill at all times and dispose of used coals properly.
  • When the sun sets, families often head out to local fairgrounds for fireworks. If you’ll continue the party at home, check local fire ordinances before using flares, sparklers, or fireworks. When conditions are dry, even the smallest spark can lead to danger.
  • To prepare your food safely, avoid cross-contamination. Use a separate cutting board for raw meats, fruits and vegetables especially if the fruits and vegetables will not be cooked.
  • Also be mindful of food allergies. Use a separate cutting board, utensils, and cookware when preparing items for those who suffer from severe allergic reactions.
  • Many kids love splashing and swimming in the water during Memorial Day celebrations. Unsupervised play is the leading cause of water-related injuries and fatalities amongst children. Ensure that there is at least one adult chaperone with children at all times and, at best, that a life guard is present.

Enjoy a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.

Why do you need renters insurance?

Quite a few renters believe that the landlord is responsible for the property. When the pipes leak or the sidewalk is cracked, management has to fix it, right?

The truth is, your landlord is not always accountable for mishaps within your apartment or harm done to your guests. You may be held liable under certain conditions. Without renters insurance, you will end up footing repair, medical, and replacement bills–out of pocket.

Couple doing finances

Statistics state that most American’s are living paycheck to paycheck with less than 5% of their earnings in a savings account. That 5% is rarely enough to replace damaged furniture after a flood, destroyed clothing after a fire, or cover medical expenses for a guest harmed in the home. The problem is exacerbated if you’re also accountable for damages to your neighbors’ property. It’s hard to restart your life on 5% or less of your income.

With renters insurance through Resident Shield, you can have peace of mind. Our coverage will help to protect you from financial risks when there are damages to the property.  Renters insurance can also help you replace what you and you neighbors may have lost. In situations where you cannot stay in your apartment due to damages, Resident Shield insurance can provide temporary living expenses to help you get back on your feet and move on with your life.

Resident Shield provides effective coverage at affordable prices. Get a free quote online and learn how you can live with peace of mind today.

Protecting your personal property and identity

For personal property protection and liability coverage in cases of fire, weather damage, robbery and more ResidentShield Renters Insurance has you covered, but more and more we are seeing the importance of protecting yourself against identity theft. Now more than ever, renters must be aware of potential access points to their information in the real world and online.

watch for password theft

According to PrivacyRights.org, identity theft affects more than 8 million Americans. While that number is woefully high, fraudulent activities have decreased since their record high of 55.7 billion worldwide in 2006. Much of the decline can be attributed to institutions’ and businesses’ increased security investments to protect clients. The wise actions of residents also contribute to a significant portion of the decline.

There are a few simple things that you can do to protect your identity at home, on the internet and in your neighborhood:

  • Shred unwanted financial and personal documents instead of simply placing them in the trash.
  • Completely clear cookies, history, and all system caches on public computers after use.
  • Never access online banking on public computers. Technology exists to let remote users view your screen and any information that your type into a field whiles you’re online.
  • If you do not plan to buy a home, car, or other large investment in the near future, consider freezing your credit. This prevents the unauthorized opening of additional lines of credit in your name.
  • While on the web, don’t bother with “You’ve Won…” banners. No one wants to give you anything for free. Best case scenario is that you’re caught filling out a grueling survey. Worst case scenario is that you click the banner and inadvertently download spyware, viruses, and other dangers to your system.
  • If you’re filing your taxes at a center, take a thorough look around before accepting service. How are documents stored? Are files easily accessible to anyone passing by?

When it comes to storing personal property and documentation within your rental, keep these points in mind.

  • Keep copies of personal documents in a safe place outside of the home, like a safe deposit box.
  • Ensure that sensitive documents within the home are in a secure, obscure location.

 

Transferring renter’s insurance to your new apartment

Moving to a new location doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need a new insurance policy or provider. With Resident Shield, it’s easy to transfer your coverage to your new home.

couple moving

Within the State

Moving into a new apartment is hectic enough without worrying about your renters insurance. (You just want to make sure that the rental truck delivers all of your possessions promptly and intact!)  To make life easier, Resident Shield has created a convenient system for transferring your policy to your new apartment. Simply give us a call at 1-800-566-1186. A specialist will note your new address and you’re done! Resident Shield will send a proof of insurance document to the new management office on your behalf.

It’s common to buy new items when moving to a new apartment. When you call, notify the representative of any recent purchases such as appliances, entertainment equipment, furniture, etc. These could increase the estimated value of your possessions. You’ll want to make sure that they’re covered, too.

Out of State

Renters that relocate out of state can follow the same procedure. Give us a call with your new address and any additions and we will handle the rest. Keep in mind, however, that premiums are different from state to state. You may experience an increase or decrease in your premium once you move, though your coverage remains the same.

New roommate

If your change in location has also resulted in a new roommate, let us know immediately. Up to two adults roommates (including spouses) can be placed on your policy as insured persons. It is important to keep this information up to date to ensure proper coverage.

A reasonable requirement

Renters are being asked to be adopt practices of increased responsibility for their possessions. Currently, signing a lease doesn’t always require renter’s insurance, but this is slowly turned into a compulsory requirement.

A survey of large apartment owners by the National Multi Housing Council revealed that 84 percent that required residents in at least some — if not all of their properties to have insurance, up from 62 percent the previous year.

“We started requiring renters insurance in 2007, and we were on the forefront of doing that,” reported Shanna Teague Berrien, director of insurance risk for CWS Apartment Homes in Austin, Texas, and a member of the National Apartment Association. “In the last three years, everybody who’s anybody has made that a requirement.”

 

Generally, all bigger complexes ask for their renters to have their belongings ensured, just because it’s a good idea for both parties involved:

  • For the renter, it provides protection against catastrophic events. If the apartment complex where the renter lives burns down, the renter’s insurance will cover replacing the contents of his/her apartment.
  • Landlords can use the tenant’s liability coverage, up to the policy’s limit, in the case where the renter causes a fire that destroys several units. Typically the owner’s property insurance would pay for the repairs and then, the landlord’s insurer would seek reimbursement from the tenant’s insurer. This reimbursement would include recovery of the owner’s deductible, saving the landlord thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. Another bonus for both parties is cost savings —  insurers often offer discounts to apartment complexes that ask their tenants to have renters insurance, and renters can enjoy the reduced rates.

Renters insurance is growing, mostly because renters are forced into it. Those who aren’t, simply skip it, thus explaining the small percentage of renters who own such insurance – 31 percent. Researchers show that despite efforts to educate the renter on the importance of renters insurance, most of them still don’t understand  the concept correctly – many believe that in case of fire or water damage the landlord’s insurance will cover their belongings as well, which is not the case. Better safe than sorry, and better off insured.