Read me at my day jobs. Also: Gift Card Granny gifts one of us.

Got renters insurance? You should, if you don’t own the place where you live. That’s the topic of my current column over at MSN Money.

Who needs renters insurance?” talks about three underinsured groups: college students, the elderly downsizing to apartments or assisted living, and those who have lost their homes to foreclosure. It also gives the nuts and bolts of why anyone who isn’t a homeowner needs to get coverage, pronto.

A policy may set you back as little as $100 a year, especially if you bundle it with coverage on home or car. I pay about $130 annually, and hope to God I never need it.

Researching the piece brought a couple of surprises. An agent told me about a claim for a freezer full of food that went bad during a sustained power outage. Covered!

I talked to one woman whose car was stolen with her dry cleaning in the trunk. The car was found in a different state. The expensive business suits? Not found. Renters insurance paid for the work wear (minus the deductible, of course).

I also talked to a man who requested a quote but didn’t act on it right away. A week later the apartment building went up in smoke, leaving him, his pregnant wife and his mother-in-law with little more than what they were wearing when they escaped.

Seriously: If you don’t have renters insurance, please talk to an agent.

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Speaking of full freezers: My latest piece for Get Rich Slowly is up. “Fight rising prices by building your own food bank” offers tips on investing in food futures, i.e., creating a nice deep pantry at the lowest possible prices.

The discussion has been lively, and has included some additional tips for saving money. Of course, a few commenters carped about how this could never work for people in apartments or small houses.

Um, folks, I live in a one-bedroom apartment. With a little creativity, you’d be surprised how much food you can put by. It also helps if you don’t mind sharing your bedroom with a freezer.

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Remember that Gift Card Granny contest that I wrote about recently? I’m delighted to announce that a Surviving and Thriving reader won it.

Marcia Carli of Chicago will get the $250 gift card of her choice. She’s picking Kohls, to buy spring and summer clothes for her kids.

See, these contests are real. Enter them! Here are two links to get you started:


7 Comments

  1. My bf and I lived in an our dream pre-house buying apartment… cheap, 2 bedrooms, hardwood floors, renovated insides… The owners were so vigilant, they scheduled regular maintenance, including re-tarring the roof.

    Long story short: The roofers set the roof on fire, which burned a hole in directly above our bedroom. We were home at the time and there was literally only 2 minutes between us seeing smoke, hearing a cry of, “Throw your Slurpy on it!” and then the house was filled with smoke. :(

    We didn’t have renters insurance at the time and lost quite a bit due to smoke and water damage. We were extremely lucky though – the building management was top-notch and they set us up in a hotel for 2 months and replaced our desk, computer monitor, bed and mattress.

    We were lucky! – But now we have insurance, just in case…

  2. so…I requested a quote when we switched car insurance, and I never followed up. I keep thinking about how we should go ahead and do that…and now you’re telling me. I guess it’s time.

  3. Thanks for letting me have quick links to your current writings. I would hate to miss any Donna musings!

  4. Melissa C

    A good friend had recently re done the entire apartment: paint, carpet, new furniture: living room, 3 bedrooms. She then went on a weeklong cruise. As usual, her daughter stayed with us and we had keys to her place. Maintenance was working on a clogged toilet next door (her toilet was on the other side of the wall). In their zeal to push through, they cracked her…her place was flooded for at least a day before we went to get clothes for her daughter. Long story short, she had insurance and all her reciepts for what she just spent in the last 45 days. Covered it all! Plus, the management office gave her 3 months rent free. That was my lesson. It’s extremely affordable! Get it.

  5. This is at the top of my list of things to handle when I get my divorce filed. My house was robbed not two months after we moved in. No renters insurance. They stole ALL of my jewelry– mostly inherited pieces and real good quality gifts from my grandfather who traded jewelry as one of his many hustles.

  6. Update: I got our renters insurance set up, finally. I feel so much better!

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