The One Thing Every New Yorker Needs… Renters Insurance

protect your belongs from fire with renters insurance

Guest Post about renters insurance by Alex Portera 

This is the image of a fire in the East Village of NYC three years ago.

The building was home to the famous french fry shop, Pommes Frites, the sushi restaurant Sushi Park, and, unfortunately, my friend Sean’s apartment (his name has been changed to protect his privacy).

This is something you read about in the news but never, ever expect would happen to you, until it does. Fortunately, Sean wasn’t home when the fire was blazing. Unfortunately, all of his stuff was. Clothes, computers, cameras, and his bike were all lost in the fire. He heard about the fire through Twitter before ever seeing it for himself.

Like most New Yorkers, Sean wasn’t prepared for this situation. When writing this article, I asked him if he had renter’s insurance. “I didn’t even know renters insurance existed at the time.” In the perfect world, Sean would be an outlier. But the truth is, Sean is in the majority. Most young New Yorker’s don’t know about renters insurance, or if they do know about it, don’t have it.

And that’s a big problem because a fire, burglary, flood or any other devastating event can happen at any moment, to anyone. You never expect them. You never think they can happen to you. They’re always the types of events you look back on after they happen and say, “I never thought it could happen to me.”

The good news is, Sean learned his lesson.

And I say that’s good news because (and I’m not lying here) the next apartment he moved into burned down, too.

I’m not going to share an image of that fire, but this seemingly impossible scenario actually happened. He left his first apartment because it burned down, only to move to another apartment that burned down. Absolutely insane and unpredictable. The only difference is that the second time he had renters insurance which covered his losses.

A lot of people are people are living like old Sean, blissfully unaware of how important renter’s insurance is until it’s too late. But now is the opportunity to get ahead of the game and avoid being one of those people who says, “I never thought this could happen to me.” It seems extreme, but that’s exactly how Sean felt after ubering to his apartment when he got notified of the first fire, unable to get with 1,000 feet because the fire department had closed down the lock.


Don’t Be a Sean. Get Renters Insurance

Roomi was built to make renting as safe and easy as possible. To further that mission, they’ve teamed up with Lemonade, a tech-driven insurance company powered by artificial intelligence and behavioral economics. Lemonade offers instant, hassle-free insurance that protects your stuff from things like fire damage, flood damage, and burglary.

Getting a Lemonade policy to protect your stuff takes 90 seconds – there’s no brokers, paperwork or hassle! It’s ridiculously easy.

Please do it. Now. Go ahead. Your stuff will thank you.

To learn more about how Lemonade works, you can visit their FAQ.

Find A Roommate App: Best Bonus Features

find a roommate

There are lots of apps out there to help you find a roommate. Choosing the right one is a bit like picking between the same job at different companies. While the core functionality remains the same, each has different perks and benefits. It’s the same way when searching for a find a roommate app. Here’s a comparative list of benefits for different find a roommate apps out there, ordered from the fewest to the most.


Finds roommates: Yes
Finds rooms: Yes
Renter advice: No
Local guides: No
Benefits: Free to search

Summary: If you’re searching for rooms, roommates, or both, Craigslist offers nice perks in the quick and cheap department. There are some basic posting guidelines that people have to follow. But outside of that, posters have a lot of freedom in how they write their ads. This leads to a lot of diversity in posting style, which can be a bit confusing and make room-to-room comparisons a trial. Unfortunately, it also has a reputation for being a haven for scammers, shady brokers, and other undesirables.

Finds roommates: No
Finds rooms: Yes
Renter advice: Yes
Local guides: No
Benefits: Simple to use

Summary: isn’t flashy, but its best benefit is that it’s straightforward to use. A quick filter menu at the top lets you set things like minimum and maximum price, pop in the neighborhood, and off you go. If you want more filters, you can add them. The interface gives you a scrolling option of whatever fits your filters, or you can jump over to the map view and select things based on location. However, it doesn’t let you find a roommate, so you’re still stuck there. And while each listing has some very basic neighborhood info, it doesn’t really help you get to know the area before you decide to move in.

Finds roommates: No
Finds rooms: Yes
Renter advice: Yes
Local guides: Yes

Benefits: Nice GUI, easy to filter when searching large areas

Summary: has a pretty slick graphic user interface or GUI. That’s fancy talk for the window you mouse around on when you want to use their website. It’s pretty easy to scale in and out of large areas, even on statewide or national levels, and add or remove different filters. The listings update quickly and smoothly, which is a nice perk for large scale searches. There are two major drawbacks though. One, it doesn’t help you find a roommate. Two, it’s built for more national and state level searches. The renter’s advice on the blog is quite good but very general. The local guides offer nice overviews of a city or neighborhood but don’t get into many specifics and don’t update often.

Finds roommates: Yes
Finds rooms: Yes
Renter advice: Yes
Local guides: Yes
Benefits: Safe and secure, find both rooms and roommates, easy to use, lots of local guide support

Summary: Roomi was started after all three of these options and was able to take the things people didn’t like about the websites and addressed them when starting the company. We combined great local advice, secure chat apps, roommate finders, apartment finders, helpful renting advice, and an easily accessible customer service crew all into one. For renter one-stop-shopping, our site has lots of benefits to offer. So head on over to the homepage and sign up!

Roommates in Philadelphia Opting For Single-Family Homes

Looking for roommates in Philadelphia? Check the single-family houses. That’s right: Contrary to the idealistic image of roommates stacking up in a chic little apartment or flat, one in five renters in Philadelphia are living the spacious life in a single-family house, according to a new study by the NYU Furman Center. In fact, the trend of renting single-family homes has increased sharply as the vacancy rates nationwide plummet and rent climbs steadily. So it’s no surprise roommates in Philadelphia are catching on. Here are some of the benefits you’ll experience when you switch from an apartment to a house and what roommates in Philadelphia know that you don’t.

Roommates in Philadelphia and Single-Family Homes

The Facts

According to the Furman Center’s 2016 National Affordable Rental Housing Landscape report, 70 percent of houses that changed hands between owners or renters were single-family homes that were converted to rental units between 2005 and 2013. That basically means that houses were converted into rentals more often than they were sold. It’s not surprising, with the growing demand for rentals, and the incentive for homeowners to rent their house out rather than live in an increasingly crowded metro. It’s not surprising when you consider the growing demand for rentals. Plus, there’s an incentive for homeowners to subsidize their income by renting their houses to a swelling population of urban dwellers.

“Philadelphia in total is seeing an influx of renters on multiple levels in every asset class,” says local property manager Benjamin Oller. “Philadelphia proper, specifically Center City is extremely hot.”

Oller, who works at Rent Philly pairing renters with landlords, says the growing demand isn’t anything to worry about in the City of Brotherly Love.

“We see no shortage of inventory among any asset class,” he says. “In real estate the old adage was and will always be location, location, location, and we can attest that that is still true. Philadelphia proper is the place to be and renters are competing to live here.”

Despite local opinion, the Furman Center study shows vacant rentals are disappearing fast in Philadelphia as more people move in. The city saw a 14-percent increase in rental units and a 23-percent increase in renters between 2006 and 2013 — meaning demand outpaced supply. The long and short of it? Vacant rentals are a hot commodity, and homeowners and renters, alike, have something to gain from renting single-family homes.

The Benefits

So, you’re looking for roommates in Philadelphia. Pay close attention to those open rooms in single-family homes. If you’ve lived the apartment life for years and find comfort in your small organized spaces, keep on doing you. But imagine the possibilities if you check into a house in Philadelphia instead. Here are just a few benefits you can expect renting a house in Philly.

So. Much. Space

You remember that two-bedroom apartment you were paying an arm and a leg for in that other metro you called home? Imagine having an entire house between you and your roommates living in Philadelphia. It could be a two-story house, with plenty of room to stretch your legs between the kitchen and your very own bathroom. In a single-family house, you’ll actually have the chance to have things you’ve never dreamed of as an apartment dweller. Granted, you’re unlikely to have everything you want, but things like garages, storage sheds, basements, and yards don’t come standard with an apartment. And just think about how happy your four-legged roommates will be.

Better Privacy

Sure, you’re still rooming with other people, but at least you know everyone (or, at least, you’ll get to know them). Even a small house is still a house. It’s separate from other houses nearby and only subject to the whims of the people living there. No more having to share a communal area with 50 other renters; no more awkwardly having to make forced small-talk in the mailroom; no more having strangers pass by your door in the middle of the night; no more brooms knocking on the floor or dance parties on the ceiling. And even if there are (it’s probable your roommates will get rowdy every now and then in a house), it’s nothing a calm conversation and open communication can’t fix.

A Worthwhile Price

Roommates renting in Philadelphia can expect a warmer market than some other expensive metros. The average home sells in Philly for $121,200, according to Zillow. Compared to Boston at $480,000, or NYC at a shocking $614,500, it’s considerably cheaper to be a property owner in Philadelphia — and the rent shows it. Boston rent averages around $2,300 for an inner city one-bedroom apartment, and Philly rent is an average of $1,470 for a similar one-bedroom in the city center. If the suburbs are calling your name, you can rent a three-bedroom house in the Philadelphia suburbs for $1,570.

All in all, The City of Brotherly love is a pretty awesome place for Philadelphia roommates to rent. (Just be cautious of a deal too good to be true.) Whether you’re a current resident or are moving there soon, keep your eye on the housing market for single-family homes as more Philadelphia homeowners jump ship in favor of renting. Or don’t; they’ll find something for you.

“To each their own, which is what makes Philly, Philly,” says Oller proudly.