Security Top Concern for Renters: Assurant Survey

As summer vacation season kicks into high gear with the upcoming 4th of July weekend and homes are empty for extended periods, a new survey shows that renters are not taking enough precautions to protect their property and valuables, and in fact may be alerting would-be burglars that their homes are unoccupied.

Source: Assurant | Published on June 28, 2019

a young couple unpack their belongings as they settle into their new loft apartment . The young man in the foreground is unpacking books whilst his female partner is in the background unpacking kitchen items. The loft apartment is open plan .All around them are moving boxes and furniture still to unpack .

According to a national poll of renters by global risk solutions provider Assurant, Inc., 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.

“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.”

Despite Summer Concerns, Limited Precautions

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.”

Who’s Responsible?

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, etc., 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.

Am I Covered for This?

Of the respondents with renters insurance, there were widespread misconceptions on what common incidents are actually covered by a renters insurance policy. For example:

  • 93% were unaware that they’re covered if their dog bites someone
  • 81% didn’t know a rug ruined by a toilet overflowing is covered
  • 84% were unaware that a guest tripping and breaking an ankle is covered
  • 57% didn’t know renters insurance will cover temporary housing if a home is uninhabitable due to a fire in their neighbor’s apartment

About Assurant
Assurant, Inc. is a leading global provider of housing and lifestyle solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases. Anticipating the evolving needs of consumers, Assurant partners with the world’s leading brands to develop innovative products and services and to deliver an enhanced customer experience. A Fortune 500 company with a presence in 21 countries, Assurant offers mobile device solutions; extended service contracts; vehicle protection services; pre-funded funeral insurance; renters insurance and lender-placed homeowners insurance. The Assurant Foundation strengthens communities by supporting charitable partners that help protect where people live and can thrive, connect with local resources, inspire inclusion and prepare leaders of the future.