Disaster preparedness extends to more than homeowners and business owners—those who rent should also have a plan in order in the event of a major storm or need to evacuate. Not all disasters are associated with hurricanes; emergencies can strike at any time. Do you know what you need to do to exit your apartment safely, or where to go from there?

Here are some tips just for renters to help get properly prepared in the event of a disaster.

  1. Make an emergency kit. Everyone should have an emergency kit regardless of their renting or ownership status. Having a kit in your home is beneficial and keeping a spare stashed in your car is smart too. In the kit you should have (at the minimum):
    1. First aid kit
    2. Flashlight and extra batteries
    3. Battery powered or crank radio
    4. Non-perishable food and drinking water
    5. Medications you need or at least copies of your prescriptions

You can view our full checklist to become well-prepared in the event of an approaching emergency.

  1. Take Inventory. Homeowners do this and renters should do this as well. Documenting all of your belongings, especially the high-value and hard to replace items can be very helpful if you ever need to file a claim with your renter’s insurance. Your inventory list should list the item, a general description, where it is kept, its replacement value, and other details you feel may be important to include (e.g. heirloom, carats, store purchased from, artist’s name, etc.).
  2. Know Your Evacuation Route. Depending on where in your apartment building or complex you are located, getting out may require more than just heading out the door. Know the fastest and multiple routes to exit your building and get to your car. Also identify meeting areas where everyone in your household should congregate if they become separated while evacuating. Taking it a step further, be familiar with the routes out of town or out of state so you can leave quickly and calmly when a disaster hits.
  3. Get to Know Your Neighbors. Many people prefer to keep to themselves; however, getting to know your neighbors, even just a small amount can prove to be lifesaving. Your neighbors can serve as a safe place for children in your home to go to in the event of danger, they can help notify first responders if they haven’t seen you leave your apartment and how many people may still be inside, and they can be an extra helping hand when trying to evacuate.

Renting requires the same responsibility and observation of general safety habits as homeownership—especially during disasters or emergency situations. If you noticed, one of the above tips mentions taking inventory to help with filing a claim with insurance. If there is a disaster and you lose your belongings or they become severely damaged, renter’s insurance can help replace what was lost. If you do not have renter’s insurance, you are at risk for a large loss should anything happen (like a fire, flood, or theft). It probably took you several years to accumulate what you have, and it can all be gone overnight. Ensure you and yours are well protected with the right insurance.