“A Robbery, a Fire, and the Steve Miller Band” or “Get Some Renter’s Insurance”

renterBack when I first graduated from college, a long, long, long time ago, the apartment I shared with a roommate was broken into and robbed. After the initial feeling of vulnerability and being invaded had abated, I got down to the business of figuring out what was taken. All of my jewelry, all of my CDs (except the Steve Miller Band one, which kind of offended the friend who’d given it to me – “oh, Steve Miller not good enough for the robbers???”), and some articles of clothing were taken. I made a list, filed a claim through my renter’s insurance, and had a lot of fun shopping for replacement items once I’d received my check. Having a dad who’s been a public adjuster my whole life made me understand the value of insurance at a very young age.

My roommate, on the other hand, did not have renter’s insurance. She’d lost the same amount of items that I had, but she was not able to replace them. I wondered if my policy would cover her things, but that’s not how it works. She’d have needed her own policy. Her dad was a math teacher.


Fast forward to 2017 and my dad and I are working on a fire claim for the Brockton Housing Authority, which manages housing for low-income individuals in Brockton, Massachusetts. Four beautiful townhouses were heavily damaged by a fire that started in a bathroom ceiling fan. As I walked through each unit, I was saddened to see so many personal belongings of the tenants destroyed by either fire or water. Family photos, clothes, furniture, books, electronics – all of this is not covered by the landlord’s policy. I wondered if any of these folks had renter’s insurance.

What is renter’s insurance?

Also called tenant’s insurance, it’s a policy that provides liability insurance and covers the tenant’s personal property against named perils like fire, theft, and vandalism. The landlord is not responsible for any of the tenant’s belongings. There are criteria as to whose property is covered under the policy, like my roommate was not covered under mine, but you can work all that out with your agent. The good news is that it’s a lot cheaper than a regular homeowner’s policy because it doesn’t cover the dwelling.  Here’s a little bit more info.

So the moral of the story is, if you rent, get yourself some renter’s insurance. If you’re a landlord, encourage your tenants to get renter’s insurance. Because some robbers do like the Steve Miller Band, and fire and water don’t care what CDs you have. It could all be gone.



Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters is a full-service public adjusting firm with over 40 years of experience serving all of Massachusetts. We are based in Brockton, Massachusetts.




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