If you have a house, you probably have homeowners insurance, but for those of you who rent (or some condo owners), do you have renter’s insurance? Are you prepared if there is a fire, flood (broken water pipes, anyone), or theft?
Last week, my friend’s home was burglarized. We’re pretty sure that it was a planned job. They broke into her condo (getting through three separate locked doors), stole her gigantic flat screen tv, and while they were at it, grabbed her little 13 inch tv, her laptop, a backpack to put the smaller items in, and some bedding to cover the tv while they hauled it out of the building. Nothing else was touched. Her drawers hadn’t been rifled through, and the cash in her jewelry box was still there when she got home. They were in and out while she was gone, thankfully. She realized that her tv was probably visible from the street, making her a prime target.
She is, of course, having an alarm system installed this week.
But she’s lucky. She had insurance coverage, which will pay for the loss of these items. She even has her original receipts, something not all of us have access to. It made me re-think my loss-prevention plans. I have renter’s insurance. I have important papers inside a fire box squirreled away in a secret place in my apartment. But I’m not sure I have the original receipts for my television, for example. It’s a few years old, but would still be an expensive loss. My computer is easier – I ordered it online, so I can always go back into my account and pull up that receipt.
My friend is using this as a cautionary tale for herself and everyone she knows. Don’t be so complacent about your life and your safety. Have good insurance. Even if everything you own is junk – sure, that tv, couch, bed, and clothes aren’t worth much – but how much would it cost to replace it all? Close your blinds if you have an apartment visible from the street. Lock your windows (the investigators told her that her burglars came in through the door though). Maybe re-think sleeping with the windows open, depending on where you live. Just be aware of what’s around you and do what you can to stay safe.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.