You don't have to buy renter's insurance to rent an apartment, but you're missing a great opportunity of you don't.

Is renters insurance required?

Some of the greatest joys in life come with a price, buying a home and owning a car being perhaps the best examples. Besides the actual dollar value of a house or a set of wheels, you have to get coverage for both, as lenders typically require it to get a mortgage and states mandate it to register a vehicle.

But what about renters? In other words, if you're renting an apartment or a home, do you have to buy renters insurance?

The short answer: No, you don't. However, given all of the advantages and protections that come with a policy, the better question may be: Why wouldn't you want to?

It's not surprising that more people aren't aware of the benefits that come with the proper policy in place. Last year, in a survey conducted by ORC International on behalf of the Insurance Information Institute, 95% of homeowners had homeowners insurance. However, among renters, only 40% had a policy.

The following are some reasons why you should get renters insurance – and why you put your valuables in jeopardy if you don't.

Not protected by landlord's policy

Many people wrongly assume that because their landlord is covered, so are they. While it's true that the owner of a rental unit is protected by insurance, that coverage is only for the physical structure should it be damaged by weather or fire. That means that if your belongings are destroyed, you'll have to pay to replace everything out of your own pocket. That's quite the undertaking given the cost of rent as it is, although prices are moderating.

Coverage is extremely affordable

Insurers offer a variety of discounts to help keep premiums low, whether its with auto insurance, homeowners insurance, or life insurance. Renters insurance, even without the discounts, is quite affordable and fits virtually every budget. In fact, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average policy costs less than $30 per month – that's a fraction of the typical monthly cable bill!

Covers a wide variety of perils

Every policy details some of the specific things that insurance will cover when the unfortunate happens. With renters insurance, the list is quite lengthy. In addition to what you'd expect it to provide for – like theft, weather-related damage, and fire – a policy will also pay to replace belongings that are lost, minus the deductible. Even if your things fall victim to something as unlikely as a volcanic blast, renters insurance will reimburse you.

Protects you from lawsuits

Hopefully it never happens, but you never know when the court room might come calling after an incident in which you're deemed responsible. Whether you are to blame or not, some renters insurance may provide liability protection, with some policies paying out $100,000 to settle whatever fees and expenses that may result.

Often pays for temporary living expenses

If you've ever had to leave your primary residence due to an emergency or accident, you know what an inconvenience it can be, besides the added cost that comes from renting a hotel room, for example. With renters protection, you may be able to pay for these temporary living arrangements that come up every now and then.

Save a bundle when you bundle

Most of us need more than one form of insurance, which is why most insurers offer multiple products. By bundling, which is buying two or more policies with the same insurer – you can save a ton of money versus those who buy from several carriers. So, if you buy renters insurance through Elephant Auto Insurance and already have a policy out for your vehicle, you'll save a bundle!

And that's just the beginning. In short, renters insurance may not be required to rent, but from the consumer's perspective, it's a must-have.