Moving out of your parents’ house and into your first place can be exciting. Being home alone now might not be a situation with which you are familiar. At times, you might wonder how to keep yourself safe. After all, you now have responsibility for the apartment. So, you’ll need to take responsibility for your personal safety and that of your property. If you are unfamiliar with some of the security steps you should take, check out some of the tips below.
Step One: Get Renters Insurance
Renting a property means you don’t own the home or apartment. However, you still have a responsibility to use it responsibly. You also must safeguard yourself. Renters insurance is a way to protect your duty towards others, as well as your own assets. Most policies come with two standard coverage elements
- Liability insurance helps you repay others if you cause them injuries or property damage. For example, if you cause a kitchen fire, you are often responsible for the property damage. This protection can help you pay for the repairs.
- Possessions coverage protects your own belongings. You’ll move into the apartment with belongings, and this coverage can help you pay to replace those items. For example, if you damage some of your own items in that kitchen fire, turn to this protection.
Renters insurance essentially helps the renter when unexpected problems strike. It’s so important that many property owners requires renters to carry this coverage. Talk to your insurance agent about the appropriate coverage for your own needs. You’ll have a lot of leeway to choose the limits that best protect you.
Step Two: Review the Landlord’s Responsibilities
Your property owner has important duties, because it’s their property in which you live. Therefore, they’ll have to maintain certain parts of the property's security.
Landlord responsibilities might vary from property to property. If you have a lease, it will often outline the landlord’s responsibilities to you. Some of these might include requirements to:
- Make repairs to the property in a timely manner. For example, if the landlord owns the water heater, they are the party that should repair leaks. Many leases will list the time period in which the landlord has to take action.
- Inspect the property for signs of mold, asbestos or other harmful items.
- Provide certain regular maintenance, such as extermination or foundation service.
- Place smoke, fire or carbon monoxide alarms in the property.
- Install certain security devices, such as deadbolt locks or security systems.
- Inform you of certain legal information. For example, they often have a right to tell you that you have a right to sue them if they don’t perform maintenance.
Keep in mind, every state’s rental laws differ. Therefore, landlords might not have a responsibility for certain security steps. In some cases, these fall on the renter. Therefore, you should review your lease before moving in. Clear up any language with the property owner to establish who takes care of what pieces of property.
Step Three: Be Your Own Policeman
Once you move into your property, you have a responsibility for your own safety. Taking care of the property negligently makes you more susceptible to losses. That makes you more likely to make a claim on your renters insurance. With more claims, you might have to pay more for your coverage down the road.
To increase your security, keep these tips in mind:
- Always lock your doors, even when you are at home. The same goes for windows and any other entrances. Only give spare keys to trusted individuals, like a parent or significant other. Make sure you know where the keys are at all times.
- You can buy apartment-friendly security systems to increase monitoring on the home. You can often buy wireless monitoring systems that won’t need invasive installation. You might or might not have to notify the landlord that you have this system. Still, don’t attempt to install a traditionally-wired system without their consent.
- You can often buy doorbell alarms, door jams, and even items like pepper spray for your own security.
- Keep sensitive items under lock and key. For example, you might need to place credit cards, photo ID, social security and tax information, firearms and loose money in a safe. Lock the safe.
- Always know when someone like the landlord or electrician, plans to enter the home.
- Learn your property. Familiarize yourself with the regular activities of the neighborhood as well. That way, you can spot suspicious activity more easily.
- Keep an inventory of your most important possessions. That way, you'll have proof of their value in case they ever come up missing.
If you have any questions about the security of your rental, don’t hesitate to contact your landlord. They will often be more than happy help you learn about how to keep the property secure. Call your renters insurance agent at 877-997-2478 in the event of a problem. They can likely tell you if you qualify for coverage on your losses.
Also Read: Improving Your Credit as a Renter