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10/24/2012 - Living the single life requires insurance

Single consumers should still carry sufficient insurance.

Though people may tend to associate insurance needs with families, those who are single need coverage just as much as wedded couples who may or may not have children. With this in mind, the Insurance Information Institute recently detailed some of the plans single men and women should consider obtaining if they haven't already.

1. Renters insurance. Perhaps one of the most important plans is renters insurance, the III notes, as according to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 40% of rented units are occupied by singles. Landlords typically provide for the unit's exterior should something happen to the building such as a fire. However, tenants are on their own should their belongings be damaged after a blaze, if they're stolen or ruined following a major storm. Renters insurance helps guarantee that these individuals will be able to replace what they have lost, provided the cost doesn't exceed the policy's limit.

2. Homeowners insurance. Another important protection for singles to have is homeowners insurance. If unmarried individuals own a single-family style home, this type of coverage is generally more comprehensive than renters insurance, as it not only provides for the policyholder's personal belongings but the structure of the residence as well.

However, the structure of a homeowners plan may be slightly different if residents own a condominium or an apartment that's operated by a co-op board, the III notes. For these types of living arrangements, policyholders may need to have two separate plans, one for the material and structural aspects of the home and another plan the condo or co-op board that manages the complex may require. These types of policies provide for the areas of the unit that all of the residents share, such as the basement, walkways, stairways and elevator, if there is one.

3. Good credit is important. Before obtaining these types of plans, the III says consumers should be aware of their credit profiles. A clean credit profile may not only be something that landlords take into account before renting out an apartment, but a solid credit history may be beneficial in the insurance realm as well, as some insurers may provide discounted rates for those who have a good track record of paying off their bills on time.

According to Census data, 53% of Americans at least 18 and older were single as of last year, slightly more than half of whom were women.

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