So you’ve got renters insurance. Now what?

You’ve just signed up for some renters insurance. Maybe it’s to cover damage to your smartphone or a laptop? Maybe it’s car insurance? Or life insurance (gulp)? You did it because even though it costs a little extra, and even though you don’t really want to do it, some part of your nagging adult brain knows it’s the right thing to do. 

Of course, that adult part of your brain wasn’t influential enough to make you read the policy to see how the plan works. But you signed on the dotted line and paid the premium. You don’t have to worry about the details given the unlikely eventuality something happens, right?

 Woman Standing at Desk - Toggle Renters Insurance  Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Then, somewhere down the road, that unlikely eventuality happens. Suddenly the abstract idea of insurance becomes something you’ve actually got to deal with. If you’ve never been in this situation, lucky you. If you’re like most of us, though, you’re gonna have a lot of questions: Is your insurance plan still valid? Does it cover this eventuality? Do I need to file a claim? How do I file a claim? How long does it take to approve my claim? What do I do while I wait? What if I’m denied? Why didn’t I pay better attention when I signed up for this plan???

And so it goes with renters insurance. You are lucky if you chose Toggle® renters insurance. Not only have we reworked insurance so that it makes more sense for today’s renters, but we also took the time to write the little blog post you’re reading now — just to offer some answers so you know what to do after you sign up. Even if you don’t have Toggle® renters insurance, you will learn a thing or two that can help you out.

Ideally, you keep an ongoing relationship with your insurance company, even when you don’t need something from us. But we figure you’ve probably got more important relationships to nurture in your life (don’t worry, our feelings aren’t that hurt). Read on for some helpful hints about staying happily insured.

Clothes Hanging on a Rack - Toggle Renters InsurancePhoto by Andreea Pop on Unsplash

1. Take an inventory.

Truth is, you should really do this before you get renters insurance. That way, you’ll have a really solid handle on whether you’ve got enough insurance to cover the cost of your stuff. But if you didn’t do that, don’t worry. Renters insurance from Toggle® is designed to be easily customized and tweaked along the way. So start tallying up your personal belongings and their value now. Here’s how:

  • There’s an app for that. There always is, right? Check out Sortly for starters.
  • If you’re not storing your inventory list in the cloud, at least keep it in a safe place. Preferably off-premises. If it’s stolen or damaged (say, in a fire or flood), it will kinda defeat the purpose.
  • The more thorough, the better. You’re free to estimate, and in some cases, you might have to, but life is hard enough after property theft or damage. A little extra meticulousness about the details now will give you a little extra peace of mind if you should ever need it.
  • Serial numbers! Take photographs of the serial numbers of any items that might have them. Not only will this help ease the claim process, but it’s also extremely helpful if police should recover stolen property.

Crumpled Up Receipt - Toggle Renters Insurance
Photo by Michael Walter on Unsplash

  • Keep the receipts, especially for expensive things. You don’t need to save all the little chits of paper; just snap photos and use a receipt-saving app like Expensify.
  • Annual updates. Make an appointment with yourself at least once if not twice a year to review and revise your inventory, accounting for expensive items you may have acquired or discarded along the way. Good news: These annual updates should be a whole lot easier if you were thorough to begin with.
  • Make sure you have enough coverage to cover all your stuff. Come away with a general estimate of how much your stuff is worth — then check your coverage to make sure you have enough. It’s easy to update with Toggle®, and you can adjust at any time. 
  • Video documentation. This is a great Toggle® hack! Do a video walk-through of your rental property to accompany your itemized inventory. In a pinch, replaying that video can remind you of things you might’ve forgotten and provide visual proof to back up your claims.

Person Taking Photo of a Phone - Toggle Renters Insurance
Photo by Plann on Unsplash

2. Be prepared for bad things happening: make a smart plan.

Having a plan can keep you and your neighbors safe, and also makes it easier to start the recovery process. If there’s a theft, a fire, a flood or if disaster strikes, it can be hard to think straight. A plan puts you back in control of a situation at a time when you might be feeling a little helpless. And that can be exactly what you need most.

  • Start with your landlord. In most states, informing your landlord about theft or property damage is mandatory. Beyond that, there might be some damages your landlord will be responsible for repairing — the cost of fixing broken doors, locks and windows, for example. And in the case of theft, your landlord can help inform your neighbors of the situation so they can take measures to stay safe, too.
  • Theft, burglary or vandalism? A police report can also be used as documentation for your insurance claim.
  • Next, secure your perimeter. Make sure your property is safe and secure from further damage or theft. Board up broken windows and doors. If your home is unlivable due to damage, make arrangements for a safe place to stay. As you do all this, be sure to keep your receipts. Depending on your coverage, your insurance may cover some, if not all, of the expense of your displacement.
  • Then contact your insurance company. Do it the same day if you can. If you have Toggle® renters insurance, you can start your claim here. 

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3. The sooner you file, the sooner you smile.

As soon as you find yourself in need, contact your insurance company. The sooner you do, the sooner they (hopefully “we”) can get you happy again. Have the following stuff handy:

  • Your policy number.
  • Any details of property damage or loss, including when it occurred. Try to have a dollar estimate, even if it’s rough.
  • An email address where you can be reached.

Woman Staring at Water Damage - Toggle Renters Insurance4. Document your damages.

In the case of theft, the items you’re claiming will obviously be missing. In the case of fire or flood damage, you’ll want to do things a bit differently.

  • First: FREEZE! Don’t toss your damaged stuff away! Not yet, anyway. This is important. Your actual damaged items are the best proof you have to support your claim and make the process go smoothly.
  • Video and photos: Documenting damages after a loss is a lot like the inventory of your belongings you took when you first got your policy (you totally did that inventory, right?). Video and photography help you keep accurate records of your inventory. And obviously, it helps your insurance company assess your replacement costs and settle your claim faster.

Standing Water on a Floor - Toggle Renters Insurance

5. No claim, no gain.

You’ve tallied your losses, now comes the claims form. A claims adjuster will reach out after you have filed a claim with your renters insurance company. With the claim, as with every other step of the process, detail pays.

For bigger ticket items, a claims adjuster might ask for more detail. If so, don’t sweat it. It’s not an inquisition, and nobody’s gonna give you the third degree. Just make sure you’ve got your expenses, receipts, your photos, videos and inventory and a police report if the situation requires one. We’re just here to help.

After submitting the claim, the amount of time to get it all taken care of will vary according to how extensive your damages or losses are. Every claim is unique, and your claims adjuster will explain to you the claims process and provide updates on how things are going. 

Woman Taking Selfie with a Dog - Toggle Renters Insurance - Pet Parent Coverage
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

6. Toggle OnSM. Toggle OffSM. Toggle often.

Mostly, you don’t think about your insurance company until you need to file a claim. That’s completely cool with us. But Toggle® is also a little different from most renters insurance. See, we’re designed to be customized according to your wants, needs and whims of fancy.

It starts with our name: “Toggle®.” We call ourselves that because you can toggle bits and pieces of your insurance coverage on or off from month to month. 

So let’s say you’re a little low on cash one month. Just Toggle OffSM some coverage to lower your monthly premium. 

Maybe you’re starting a side-hustle — a photography business, for example. You’re gonna need some extra equipment. Cameras, lenses, lighting — expensive things that need a little extra coverage. It’s all good. Just Toggle OnSM a little side-hustle coverage.

Guy Packing Camera Gear - Toggle Renters Insurance - Side Hustle Coverage
Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

Inviting a new fur baby into the family? Tack on a little Pet ParentSM coverage to help protect you against some of the damages your new addition might cause to your apartment or from liability in case your pet causes harm to a visitor. It even helps out with some of the cost of pet boarding if you need to relocate because of a fire or flood in your rental.

With renters insurance from Toggle®, you can forget us after you sign up if you like. Or we can be your insurance BFF. The choice is yours. And if you need to know more about renters insurance, check out our blog that tells you everything.

Check out this blog for more tips on apartment renting.

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