Thursday, May 19, 2011

Renter's Insurance Question

I posted a few weeks ago about getting renter's insurance, mostly as a way to make my car insurance cheaper. Well, this week my bike was stolen out of my back I may be making a claim already.

I would like to preface the story by saying that I'm dumb and it's partly my fault that the bike was stolen. So no lecturing me on that part. :/

Here's the deal: I rode my bike to use my free feminine product coupons last week. When I got home I put my bike in my backyard, leaning it against the stairs up to my unit. The lock was inside the apartment, and I didn't lock it up right away. Or at all. I kind of forgot. Oops.

Yesterday, I went outside to grab my bike so BF and I could go on a bike ride and it's gone. :( Vanished.

Today, I got a letter going over my renter's insurance coverage and it includes up to $500 for stolen bikes.

I've never filed a claim, and I have some questions: I bought the bike from a friend who paid about $250 for it ten years ago. I don't have any receipts or documentation for it. I do have pictures of me riding it, but that's it. Will that be enough proof that I actually owned a bike? Do they require paperwork?

Next, is it suspicious that I just got insurance and I'm filing a claim right away? I mean, it's the truth, but I don't want them to think I'm shady. Also, will it make my rates go up next year?

I'm going to call tomorrow and ask about options, but I'd love some wisdom going in on how this all works, so if anyone has renter's insurance experience I'd love to hear it! Thanks!


  1. Don't worry about leaving it unlocked, you're not alone when it comes to not doing something and then being robbed. Exhibit B: My husband. He left our car unlocked and we were broken into, or should I say, buddy just opened door and went through our stuff. The only thing stolen was my husbands backpack that we paid $150 for. When we called our Renters Insurance, found out our deductable was $300. So, bye-bye backpack. I was not filing a claim to pay in full to replace the backpack.

    If the replacement cost for the bike is less than your deductable you might just want to skip the claim.

    Sorry you got your bike stolen! I had the same thing happen when I was about 12 :( I still miss that bike haha.

  2. What is your deductible for your policy? Is the replacement cost of the bike over your deductible? Do you have replacement cost coverage on your policy? It will make your rates go up for next year.

    However, that might not be the biggest thing. It will go on your claim history that can be accessed by any insurer. Typically if you have 2 or 3 claims in a matter of about 3 to 5 years, most insurers will drop you or significantly raise your rates. This might not be a big deal with your renter's insurance but it will affect you buying a house.

    I'm not saying not to turn it in but think about how much the insurance company will be paying out over your deductible and whether its worth it to have this claim on your record. If its only $100 or so then I wouldn't do it.

  3. I have no idea how your renters's insurance company will handle it, but I've often wondered these same questions myself, so I'm interesting in finding out how this story ends!

  4. I work in Insurance, in Australia though, so it's probably different in America, but I can tell you how we do it.

    From our point of view, no evidence of ownership, no claim. we accept photos, receipts or credit card statements for proof of ownership, however your company may be different.

    My company also has "fraud" triggers and claims made close to policy inception get reviewed by our fraud department first.

    Something for you to consider when lodging the claim is 3 things.

    1) Is the bike worth the claim? Do you need to pay an excess or as someone upthread mentioned a "deductible". if the bike is worth $250 and you have to pay $150 first, is that $100 really worth it?

    2) I don't know what it's like in America, but in Australia the more claims you make the higher your insurance premium becomes, if you also make a lot of claims of similar types then a compulsory higher excess/deductable gets applied. So is the bike worth the premium.

    3) How did you intend to use your policy when you purchased it? We have customers who take out policies but only intending to use it for "the big things" like fire, storms, larger theft items. We also have customers who take out policies and use it for EVERYTHING, lodging claims for a $28 vase. Something to consider though if you've taken out the policy for that purpose, your premiums will raise and you may suffer issues down the track getting insurance with other companies.

    I hope I haven't scared you, good luck!

  5. It all depends on your deductible and if you have "replacement coverage" or "item coverage"

    Replacement would give you enough money to replace the Bike in todays dollars-- not what you paid for back then (that picture you have would show them they type of bike you owned and they should recognize that you probably had a nice beach cruiser and those are pricy).

    Item Coverage would replace the value of the item as is... as it was worth... which may not be enough to replace it if it was an older model.

    and this is also after you pay your deductible. The fast claim can easily be explained since you added renters insurance to reduce your car insurance bill (your blog can be printed out since its dated to help prove your intentions).