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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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FAHMIDA AZIM / "Johar Joshanda" / Editorial Illustration for Eater

You keep making the same mistake. When you're in the drug store picking up contact solution or toilet paper or a candy bar or condoms or a pregnancy test or hair dye or however you spend your week day evenings, you pass a sale on the invariably overpriced cold medicine and just walk on by.

Stop it. Stop it right now.

Cold and flu season is already hard enough on your body, your mental health, and your wallet, with drug stores carrying an average of 300 cold medicine products at any given time. Why are there so many products? It's not about what you need to remedy symptoms but about your spending power as a consumer, with reports tallying more than $30 billion spent on over-the-counter medication in 2017. The cornucopia of cold and flu products usually results in choice paralysis, as you stand in the aisle facing a barrage of information until you finally select whatever packaging looks more trustworthy or whichever one's had the most memorable commercial.

Don't fall for it. Consider these tips from pharmacists, doctors, and legions of people who barely get by on living wages but who've learned to hack the system during cold/flu season:

1. Buy Generic

Consider this: Pharmacists and doctors who have studied the ingredients in brand name medicine often buy the generic versions for themselves (up to 90% of the time, according to some surveys). With the power of Dr. Google (and all those skills acquired from those spot-the-differences games as a child), you can save a lot of money by just studying the ingredients on the boxes of brand name and generic versions. Learn the generic names of your medication, and you can save 20% to 50% on your cold medicine.

2. Search for Manufacturer's Coupons

If you simply prefer brand names and take comfort in the extra placebo effect, by all means indulge yourself. But you can also go to the manufacturer's website to find coupons. While you're waiting in the check-out line, take one moment to search on your phone to find that brand name medications like Zyrtec, Allegra, Tylenol, and Advil usually offer coupons and savings clubs through their websites.

3. Sign Up for a Discount Program

Similarly, discount programs like FamilyWize, GoodRx, and WellRx are easy-to-use apps that bring discount codes straight to your phone. These programs work with common drug stories like Walgreens, CVS, Target, Rite Aid, and Walmart.

4. Timing (Stock Up!)

Most manufacturers start offering coupons in late October, and when combined with in-store coupons, you can save double. So don't walk past sales on cold medicine just because that office bug hasn't hit you yet. It's best to stock up! Also keep in mind that cold medicine does expire, so check for boxes with the latest expiration date you can find.

5. Ask Your Pharmacist

A little known fact is that pharmacies will create their own saving programs to incentivize customers to shop there. As Caroline Carpenter, financial adviser and creator of the website mycouponexpert.com, told USA Today, "Almost all pharmacies do this, but you have to ask. 'Why?' They don't advertise it." Additionally, some pharmacists will even match competitors' prices if you can prove you can find it cheaper elsewhere.

6. Shop Smart: Don't Duplicate Ingredients

With similar ingredients appearing in multiple cold remedies, it's possible to overdo it and cause more harm than relief. So another reason you should familiarize yourself with the ingredients list is to make sure you don't go overboard with the acetaminophen (Tylenol). That won't help your wallet or your liver.

Ken Majkowski, chief pharmacy officer of FamilyWize, advises, "Most products have multiple ingredients that do the same thing. You just need two: one for day and one for night." Ideally, you should stock up on a non-drowsy decongestant for the daytime and a nice, sleepy Nyquil knock-off for the night.

7. Ask a Doctor for Free Samples

The next time you check in with a doctor to make sure your cough is just a cough and not the black lung or throat cancer (because who doesn't fall into a WebMD spiral from time to time?), ask for a free sample instead of a good-job lollipop. Doctors' offices often have an overstock of common medications like ibuprofen, and there's no harm in asking.

The reality is that medicine is undoubtedly, unfairly expensive, and it's only getting worse. Lea Prevel Katsanis, a former pharmaceutical marketing executive and author of Global Issues in Pharmaceutical Marketing, says, "Drug companies employ many scientists, physicians, marketing people, and others who really are motivated by helping others, but there are some industry leaders who don't get it. They just don't understand that when they raise the price of a drug by 300 percent, they get pushback."

But the good news is: We're all in this together (aside from the 0.8% of the world's population who hold 44.8% of the world's entire wealth, but screw them). So, yes, always wash your hands, get as much sleep as you can, and eat well, but when that cold inevitably hits you, demand to talk to the pharmacist and your local doctor. Self-advocate and demand the best healthcare you can get, and don't stop asking until you get it. As the wise slogan of the Area 51 raid said, "They can't stop all of us." With enough discontent, the system will be forced to change.

Losing your wallet is a terrible feeling.

One moment you're on solid ground, going about your daily business, and the next, you're in free fall. If you're in this situation, frantically searching through your pockets and coming up empty, realize that most of us go through this at one time or another. Here are some steps to take to make sure you minimize the amount of time and money you spend making up for your carelessness.

Readers Digest Asia

Part 1: Evaluate the situation


  1. Don't Panic

If you've lost your wallet, don't panic. Take a deep breath. Losing a wallet isn't fun, but if you do this right, the consequences will be relatively minimal.

2. Check to make sure the wallet is lost

Before you dive in, do a quick search to check and see if you can find the wallet. Call the last few places you remember making a purchase or using your wallet, even if you're sure they're not there. Check all your bags, pockets, and every nook and cranny you can think of.

Part 2: Deal with your credit cards

3. Check your bank statements for charges

Whether you had a MetroCard, a social security card, a license, or three old sticks of gum in your wallet, you'll want to take stock of what you've lost. If you had your key in your wallet, consider changing your locks. Consider changing your passwords to any accounts that might have been connected to your bank information. Take note of any lost library cards, medical insurance cards (you'll need to cancel those too if they were lost), or other cards that might be important, and notify those organizations as needed. 4. Cancel or lock your credit or debit cards

This is a quick, easy, and important step you can take to prevent any fraudulent charges. Most banks allow you to lock or cancel your cards quickly via their website. If you think your wallet is lost somewhere in your house, not stolen, locking the cards is a good way to avoid having to order new ones. However, if you see fraudulent charges, cancel the cards immediately.

5. Call your bank

When you call your bank, tell them that your wallet was stolen, even if you aren't sure thats what happened. During the call, you can also put in an order for an expedited card. Once you report a lost card, you cannot be held liable for fraudulent charges. Make sure you also let your bank know if you were carrying any blank checks.

6. Contact anyone who might share your cards and let them know to cancel their cards

This step speaks for itself. Also, think of any recurring charges that might run into an issue if your card is canceled and address those as needed.

Part 3: Deal with your other cards and lost items

7. Make a list of everything that was in your wallet

Whether you had a MetroCard, a social security card, a license or three old sticks of gum in your wallet, you'll want to take stock of what you've lost. If you had your key in your wallet, consider changing your locks. Consider changing your passwords to any accounts that might have been connected to your bank information. Take note of any lost library cards, medical insurance cards (you'll need to cancel those too if they were lost), or other cards that might be important, and notify those organizations as needed.

8. Contact the DMV about your drivers' license

Most people carry their licenses in their wallet, so you'll probably want to get in touch with the DMV. To replace a driver's license, you'll often need to visit the DMV in person (be sure to bring your birth certificate and social security card or military ID). Every state has different DMV requirements, so check yours out here.

Part 4: Get the legal details in place and consider identity theft

9. Inform the authorities

You'll want to file a police report when your wallet is lost, especially if identity theft is a risk. Call your local police department's non-emergency number and ask them to file a report. You'll need to make the report in whatever area you think you lost the wallet in.

10. Inform the social security organization

If you lost your social security card, immediately report that to the Social Security Administration.

11. Create a fraud alert

Losing your wallet means you're entitled to a free credit report and fraud alerts. Even if you've canceled your cards, it's a good idea to put a fraud alert on your account, which will be free for 90 days and will alert you in the case of suspicious activity. Call these numbers to do so:

Equifax®: Equifax.com/CreditReportAssistance

1-888-766-0008Experian®: Experian.com/fraudalert; 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion®: TransUnion.com/fraud; 1-800-680-7289

Part 5: Damage control

12. Figure out what you need to do now

As you wait for your cards to arrive, you might be wondering how you're going to pay for everything. Most of the time, if you know your social security number and have some form of identification, you can go to the bank and get them to pull out money for you. If you're overseas, you can have relatives wire you money through Western Union.

13. Make sure this won't happen again

In the future, consider only keeping a few things in your wallet to minimize the consequences of losing it. Consider also how you might keep your wallet more protected. Realize that there's nothing you can do now except look to the future.