Case Study: Low Income, No Credit, and House Hungry

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with an absolutely lovely young couple that wanted some advice. For anonymity’s sake, let’s call them…Amelia and George. Amelia and George are wonderful savers, partially due to necessity right now, as George is a full time student and Amelia is the current breadwinner with a small salary at a nonprofit. They both have sizeable side-hustles that are bulking up their income, but money is tight.

And they really want a house, possibly even a tiny house. Oh, and they have no credit score to speak of. Oh, and they may have to move in two years after George has graduated. Oh, plus, since we first started communicating months ago, a decision has already been made – the suspense!

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Cambridge Fire 2016

Rental Insurance and Holy Shit, Cambridge Fire

Last Saturday there was a ten alarm fire in Cambridge, MA, the largest fire in the area since the 80s. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but still – holy shit. Eleven buildings, over 60 people affected, multiple fire departments on the scene, and now that area looks unrecognizable.

It started scarily close to Fergus’s grad school apartment, making me even more thankful nothing similar happened to that fire trap of a house he lived in for years. Seriously – an electrician came by once to fix a problem and basically said “This house would be up in flames instantly if there was a fire,” which unfortunately is not that uncommon with the older homes in Cambridge. And of course those living in these fire traps are often lower income, students, or immigrants – people who don’t have a choice.

We know at least one family that’s been displaced. Apartment, car, all material possessions – gone during one awful day. And no rental insurance. Like many others, they took to crowd funding (we contributed), but not everyone can rely on that.

What does rental insurance cover?

Rental Insurance covers a few different things, the core being (more detail below):

  1. Cost to replace personal possessions
  2. Costs related to loss of use of insured location
  3. Personal liability
  4. Medical payments to others

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