Renters are not taking enough precautions to protect their property and valuables and may actually be alerting would-be burglars that their homes are unoccupied, a new survey finds.
While fewer home renters (41%) posted news of their vacation on social media this year, of those that did post many more (88%) were doing so while they were still away from their rental homes and apartments, according to the national poll of renters by global insurer Assurant.
“We were surprised to see that more people are essentially advertising that their homes are empty, especially since our survey found security was the second most important feature when choosing a rental home,” said Steve Hein, senior vice president of Multifamily Housing at Assurant. “The reality is that given the world we live in where technology can compromise privacy and safety, it’s imperative for renters to take extra precautions and have the right protections in place.”
While most respondents felt that security was always important, 32% were especially concerned about it during the summer months. However, when asked what safety precautions they take, close to half (45%) of the renters polled said they only have a lock on the door followed by 36% who said they rely on neighbors to keep an eye out for them. Video cameras, phone alerts and alarm systems were installed in only a quarter or less of rentals.
Interestingly, over half (54%) of renters said they would pay a higher rent if their landlord offered a connected security device/doorbell.
“Property managers and landlords need to be aware of renters’ growing interest in security features,” said Hein. “Advances in technology have made connected security devices that monitor homes more affordable and many renters expressed a willingness to pay more for such protection.”
Assurant’s survey revealed that many people continue to be confused about who is responsible in a rented house or apartment in the event of burglary/theft or property damage from a fire, weather or neighbors’ negligence. According to the poll, 36% of respondents said they either weren’t sure or that the landlord/property management company was responsible.
When asked about renters insurance to cover theft, those that did not have it said it was because they have never thought about it or it had never been offered to them (30%), it was too expensive (26%) or they thought the landlord was responsible if anything went wrong (19%). Not surprising, 59% have possibly underestimated replacement costs should something happen.
Of the respondents with renters insurance, there are widespread misconceptions on what common incidents are actually covered by a renters insurance policy. For example, 93% are unaware that they’re covered if their dog bites someone while 81% don’t know a rug ruined by a toilet overflowing is covered. Also 84% are unaware that a guest tripping and breaking an ankle is covered and 57% don’t know renters insurance will cover temporary housing if a home is uninhabitable due to a fire in their neighbor’s apartment.
Assurant offers renters insurance and other products including extended service contracts, vehicle protection services and lender-placed homeowners insurance.
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