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Apartment complexes are communities. They also are home to a high concentration of people in one place. While crime might not be more common in apartments than in private homes, there is a relatively lower amount of privacy. Therefore, you have to protect your personal belongings in ways that you might not if you live in a single home in a rural area, for example. So, what can you do to protect your belongings?

On one hand, you'll always need to have renters insurance that reflects the value of at least your most-important assets. On the other hand, you'll need to take proactive steps to protect your belongings and assets within your own space.

The Importance Of Renters Insurance

Most apartment management companies and individual landlords will require their tenants to carry renters insurance policies. These policies first provide the renter with liability insurance, which helps absolve the landlord from the responsibility of certain accidents that might be the renter's fault. On the other hand, renters policies can also provide personal possessions insurance. This coverage element will offer protection for the renter's own belongings, i.e. the furniture, clothes, electronics and other assets you move into the property.

Possessions insurance will agree to compensate you a sum of money if a covered accident damages your belongings. For example, should a fire occur in the rental home, or should a thief break into the home, your renters policy could help you pay to replace any items lost in the event. Therefore, you'll have a financial resource available to help you pick up the pieces.

However, there are ways that you can take direct steps to protect your belongings, particularly from human-caused damage, like theft incidents, vandalism, cooking accidents, etc. Some of these involve technology, others involve vigilance and attention to security.

Step 1: Lock Away Your Most-Important Belongings

Think of the important assets that you might have in your property, such as:

  • Credit cards, checks and cash
  • Expensive electronics
  • Jewelry, collectible items
  • Identification, passports and Social Security cards
  • Birth certificates, voter registration certificates
  • Family heirlooms
  • Medications
  • Insurance paperwork
  • Titles of ownership
  • Keys and passwords
  • Firearms and weapons

All of these items should be kept in a secure location. Some, like passwords, legal documents and expensive belongings, you should keep locked away in all cases unless you need to use them. Others, like your computers, you might need to use more frequently. However, always put these items away when you won't be home. For example, put the computer within your closet until you return.

In some cases, you can keep these important items within a strong-arm box or safe, which you can choose to keep on your property. These are often fire-proof and waterproof items. However, you should never disclose to anyone where you store the safes. Though they will have locks, they are not entirely theft-proof.

If you want even more protection, consider renting a safe deposit box from your local bank. A safe deposit box will remain locked in the bank's safe, which is a well-protected area.

Step 2: Invest in Safety Equipment

Still, even once you have stored important assets in a secure location, you still can go further to protect the everyday possessions that are present in all parts of your house.

  • Always have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Keep in mind, some fire extinguishers will age to a point where they become ineffective.
  • Keep your home's fire alarm and carbon monoxide detectors working. Change the batteries at regular intervals.
  • Consider investing in a door jammer or security lock to provide more security than your standard deadbolt locks. (However, do not install new locks without the permission of your landlord.)
  • Many smart home security systems, like cameras, allow you to keep an eye on the home just by accessing a website or smartphone app. Consider installing this in your rental home with the permission of your landlord.
  • Ask your landlord if they can install a motion activated light on your home's exterior.

Whatever you do, never disclose to anyone you don't know well, not even your neighbors, where you store important assets on the property. However, you should disclose this to family members, or someone you trust. The less you disclose about the value of assets in your renter, the less incentive someone might have to try to rob you.

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