Imagine you are a twenty-something post-grad that has just moved to the big city. You just got your first "real" job, and you are on the hunt for an apartment. You find a place you love, but the landlord ends the conversation asking if you have a renters insurance policy in place. A what?! Why would you possibly need renters insurance? Doesn't the landlord have everything covered in their homeowner's policy?

Renters insurance is a type of property insurance that can cover the loss of your personal belongings, liabilities, and living expenses. We'll break down what renters insurance does and doesn't cover to help you determine whether or not you, the tenant, will need it.

Unbeknownst to many renters, your personal property is not covered by your landlord's homeowner policy. This means that if you lose all of your possessions in a house fire, you will not be paid out by your landlord's insurance company.

Renters insurance covers you against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, and certain types of water damage. In fact, most policies will cover your items even when they aren't on the property premises. Was you laptop stolen on vacation? You are covered under your renters insurance!

There are two options when choosing personal property coverage through renters insurance: replacement cost and actual cash value policies.

Replacement cost policies will cost more out of pocket, but they provide a large enough payout to replace the damaged or lost items at full retail price. Remember that laptop that was stolen on vacation? Even though it was three years old, you get the brand spanking new replacement.

replacement cost policies will replace your items as full retail price

Actual cash value policies will save you a bit on your premiums price; however, they will only pay out based on the value at the time the policy is taken out, minus depreciation value. With this type of policy, your stolen laptop probably will only get you a payout of about a quarter of what you purchased it for. You can use this handy depreciation calculator yourself to estimate the actual cash value of your personal belongings.

Liability insurance also comes standard with renters insurance policies. It protects you from any potential lawsuits from bodily injury and property damage that occurs on the premises. If you accidentally start a kitchen fire while cooking dinner, or your best friend's girlfriend slips and falls down your wet stairs due to the melting snow that was tracked in, then your renter's liability insurance can cover you if you are sued for medical payments or for the property damage. It can even cover your legal defense fees.

liabilities renters insurance covers you in case of house damage

Additional living expense coverage also comes standard in renters insurance policies. It provides financial coverage when you have to temporarily live elsewhere in the case of damage to the property at which you reside. Some examples of what costs are covered are the following:

  • Hotel bills, or temporary rentals
  • Costs of eating out due to loss of kitchen
  • Laundry bills
  • Furniture rentals
  • Storage costs
  • Pet boarding
  • Mileage
  • Utilities

The amount the insurance company will pay out on expenses for this coverage depends on the difference between what you would typically pay for these costs versus what you would pay during the displacement.

Now that you understand the basics of renters insurance and what it covers, do you think it's worth it? You might still be up in the air, especially because renters insurance is probably super expensive, right? Wrong!

renters insurance is not expensive

A survey conducted by Nationwide found that 75 percent of those without renters insurance don't realize they can get monthly coverage for as little as the cost of a pair of movie tickets.

average renters insurance premiums

The average cost of renters insurance in 2017 was $180 a year, or $15 a month.

Many insurance companies offer discounts if you bundle other insurance policies, such as your car insurance with your renters insurance. Also, things like security systems, deadbolts, and smoke detectors can often give you a discount on the price tag.

Still not sure if you need renters insurance? I suggest doing the following:

  1. Create a home inventory list of all of your belongings. There are tons of apps that make this part easy, such as Home Contents.
  2. Write down the value of each item you want to be replaced if your apartment was to, let's say, burn down. If you don't know what you bought it for, look up the value online.
  3. Include receipts and appraisals when you can, especially for any high priced items.
  4. Save pictures of all the items (the app will help with this, too).

Creating this home inventory list will be important and make your life a heck of a lot easier if you do get renters insurance. But more importantly, it can give you an estimate of the price of your personal belongings.

So maybe you don't think you need renters insurance if you do not have a high value on your belongings. But I bet you might be surprised at how much money is invested in those items!

personal belongings value adds up quick

In short, renters insurance is most likely worth it. Although it's not a necessity, the value of being covered for potential personal property loss, accidental liabilities, and financial coverage in the event of a catastrophe is well worth the low annual premiums. And it may someday save you thousands of dollars. If you are a current renter, do yourself a favor and get some insurance quotes today!

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.