"The Scene Inside Was Chaos"

December 15, 2011

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Our daughter lived in on-campus housing during her first four years at Boston University as an undergraduate. Because the building was protected by campus police and the students were covered by the university's insurance program, we didn't consider buying individual renter's insurance for her.

Later, when she had qualified as a graduate student at the university, she decided to live off-campus in her own apartment. As the new semester was about to begin, we helped her furnish it and move in. I suggested she buy renter's insurance, but she said she was too busy getting started with her class and lab schedule. She promised to do it as soon as she had the time in just a couple of days.

I worked for the same insurance company throughout most of my career in advertising. I've written scores of ads and sales promotion campaigns, many dealing with the necessity of being covered by all types of insurance. Throughout the years, I made sure all of our family members were protected by every appropriate type of insurance coverage.

The scene inside was chaos, with most of the furniture and other items gone. Worse, the thieves had decided to trash the carpets, walls and everything they couldn't take with them.

Due to the distractions of helping her move into the apartment, I failed to heed my own usual advice with my daughter's renter's insurance needs. I thoughtlessly agreed to her delay for "just a couple of days".

Although it's a lame excuse, considering what happened later, another contributing factor was that I had recently retired. I was no longer involved in the day-to-day insurance company routine. If I'd been still active, a quick phone call to a colleague or a few moments on the computer could've started her renter's insurance coverage. It would have taken effect the day she signed for the apartment.

Several days after our daughter moved into the apartment, and before classes started, she came home to spend the weekend with us. Then it happened, and when we surveyed the damage, every insurance professional in the world would have pointed a finger at me and said, "I told you so!"

On Monday morning, we returned to the Boston apartment, and found the front door broken and wide open. The scene inside was chaos, with most of the furniture and other items gone. Worse, the thieves had decided to trash the carpets, walls and everything they couldn't take with them.

While our daughter registered for her classes that morning, my wife and I had the sad duty of taking inventory of the losses. Fortunately, some of the missing and damaged pieces of furniture had been bought used from the previous tenant and were only worth a total of $500.

However, her stolen personal jewelry, television set, DVD player and computer represented a loss of more than $3,000. The total loss, including damaged clothing and vandalism to her books, doors, curtains, walls and carpeting, was $9,500. None of it was covered, because there was no renter's insurance yet in effect.

Of course, at that time, and whenever I think about it to this day, I wish I had made my daughter buy renter's insurance right away.

- Ted from California

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This information is provided for your convenience; it is not intended as insurance advice. The views, opinions, and advice expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not those of Homesite Group Incorporated. Please consult your insurance carrier or agent for information regarding your policy or coverages.

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