While millions of Americans rent or lease a house, apartment, or manufactured home, studies indicate that fewer than 30 percent carry renter's insurance for their personal property or liability protection.

Consider the following common questions on this important topic.

Q. Why do I need to buy insurance if I am only renting an apartment?

A. In the event of a fire, tornado, theft, you would still face the cost of replacing your personal belongings.

Q. Doesn't the landlord's policy cover my personal property if something were to happen?

A. No. Generally, a landlord's policy does not cover renter's property, nor does it provide for any personal liability risks a tenant might face.

Q. Is renter's insurance very expensive?

A. Typically, renter's insurance is in the range of $200 to $300 a year, or less. The amount obviously will vary depending on the value of belongings insured. This is quite inexpensive when you consider the cost of replacing your belongings as the result of a fire, or the cost of defending yourself in a liability suit if you were charged with fault for someone's injury.

Q. Should I purchase "depreciated" or "limited replacement" coverage?

A. That's up to you. Depreciated cost means property would be repaired or replaced at its aged, depreciated value. Limited replacement cost means that covered property will be valued, less deductible, at the cost to buy (replace) such property without counting depreciation. This type of coverage costs a bit more than depreciated cost coverage.

No one plans a fire, severe storm, theft, or similar catastrophe. But if such should occur, the cost of insurance protection is only minimal when compared to the value of the property at risk. If you are renting or leasing a dwelling, consider the importance of acquiring renter's insurance.