Tornadoes, Self-Doubt, and Cheap Stupidity

storm 4On Sunday, we had one hell of a storm roll through.  And it was really weird, I thought, since it’s November.  I mean, are we supposed to get tornadoes in November?  I guess we are in Indiana, after all, since in my state it seems that any kind of weather phenomenon can take place.  Anyhoo, we had a huge storm roll in and I was instantly mesmerized by it.  Since we’re out in the country right now, I could step outside and watch all of the mayhem unfold.  And, I did. 

storm 3

That right there is a wall cloud, I think.  It was super scary to see the entire sky turn black as night.  Of course, I was outside taking pictures while Greg was inside watching the news.  So, he was the first one to hear that a tornado had touched down just north of us.

After a while, I went in to watch the news and Greg went outside.  About 20 minutes later, it was reported that  tornado touched down in our town.  By then, the weather map on the television looked ominous with giant red and yellow circles hovering right over where we live.  Fortunately, our temporary rental home has an unfinished basement and we woke the kids up from their naps and took them down.  And once we took the kids down, I breathed a sigh of relief as we waited for the storm to pass.  That was, of course, until I remembered something.  We don’t have renter’s insurance.

When we sold our home, I cancelled our homeowner’s policy.  But, since I wasn’t sure how long we would be renting, I didn’t sign up for renter’s insurance.  And with a giant storm heading our way, the fact that we didn’t have renter’s insurance made for quite a vulnerable feeling.  Of course, Greg and the kids are the most important things.  But, we have plenty of possessions to protect as well.  For instance, we have a house full of furniture, tons of electronics, and all of the equipment it takes to run my business.  If the tornado ruined all of our possessions and we managed to survive, we would literally have nothing left.

Of course, the storm passed and everything is fine in our area.  North of us, however, is a mess.  Some towns had tornadoes touch down and wipe out city blocks…or worse.  People’s homes were destroyed and some lost everything.  I can’t imagine what that would feel like especially for people who didn’t have renter’s insurance to protect them.

So, I already called my insurance company and will be taking out a renter’s insurance policy sometime today.  It’s only going to be around $100 per year and I can cancel it once we buy a new home.  I got lucky this time.  Our temporary home was spared and my kids and husband are safe.  And now I know not to let cheap stupidity get in the way of doing what I know is the responsible thing to do.

Has your own cheap stupidity ever proved detrimental to your finances?  If you rent, do you have renter’s insurance?

About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.


  1. Sure do, wouldn’t go without it. I put it off for a couple years and then we got burgled. That prompted me to finally take action. (Thankfully we didn’t lose too much in that first robbery.)
    eemusings recently posted..Safe travels? Yeah, nahMy Profile

  2. Ugh I can’t imagine how scary it would be. So glad you were able to get insurance!
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  3. Glad to hear that you and your family were safe during those crazy storms! I was a renter for a couple years during college- I never bothered to get the insurance and lucked out. Looking back it would have been smart.

    • On the news last night, it showed that several towns had huge amounts of damage. I haven’t heard the death count yet but I’m sure it’s bad. Way worse than losing your stuff, that’s for sure.

  4. Glad you guys are safe! Quite the storm this weekend. Renter’s insurance is so cheap for the coverage and the peace of mind.
    kelly @stayingonbudget recently posted..30 by 35 Series: Off to a Rocky StartMy Profile

  5. I lived in a house that got broken into twice in 15 days (right before Christmas about a decade ago). The first time I didn’t have renter’s insurance (I had forgotten to renew my policy from school) and got lucky that all that I lost was a 5 year old laptop that was full of viruses and getting ready to die anyways. I quickly got a new policy and it went into effect the day before we got broken into again. That time the thiefs stole a lot more!

    I learned my lesson to never be without renter’s insurance (or now homeowners).

  6. It’s so amazingly cheap. Definitely worthwhile.
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  7. I have been waffling on renter’s insurance for the past two months since we moved. Ours is actually going to be around $250 for the year because of the breed of our dog, so I’ve been trying to decide if it’s worth it. But, like you, I KNOW it’s the responsible thing to do. So I guess it’s time I just man up and get the policy.
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  8. Wow, what a crazy picture. Glad you guys are all okay. Renter’s insurance is crazy cheap, though $100 a year is even cheaper than ours. I think ours is around $250. I can’t think of any big examples where being cheap burned me, but there are tons of smaller ones where I ended up paying more because I went with the cheaper version of something first. Sometimes it makes sense to pay for quality.
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  9. First, glad to hear you’re all safe.

    Second, insurance is never wanted until needed except it’s always needed. I rolled these dice with health insurance when I was 22 for 6 months and it just wasn’t smart. Thankfully, nothing happened, but I easily could have found a metaphorical tornado come my way and had been in deep trouble. Glad you guys are getting that insurance today. Never go without it.

    The Warrior
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    • I have never gone without health insurance but I agree that it would be really scary. You can go through your money quick if you get hurt in an accident or get cancer.

  10. Those storms were definitely crazy! We luckily didn’t suffer any damage, but the BF’s place didn’t have power until about 6:30 last night.

    I was lucky enough back when I lived in an apartment to be able to get my renters insurance through the same place as my car insurance. The discount they gave me for having multiple policies almost made the renters policy free. Seriously, I paid a few dollars a year for it. It was awesome!
    Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth recently posted..Unexpected MoneyMy Profile

    • I’ve heard that there are still many people without power. It really is crazy to have a storm like that so late in the year.

      • Tornadoes in November are definitely unexpected! But I love the Hoosier mentality of just rolling with whatever the weather may bring. I’ve lived in other states where people flip out over every storm warning. Although, I’ve probably become a little too callous about storms.
        Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth recently posted..Unexpected MoneyMy Profile

  11. I do not rent, but when I did I had renter’s insurance. Actually I take that back. My freshman and sophomore year of college I did not have renter’s insurance and didn’t even know about renter’s insurance. It’s such an important thing to have, though, and so cheap. Glad you guys were safe and your house untouched this weekend.
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  12. I’m so glad that your family and house was untouched by the storm. Taking out renter’s insurance is definitely imperative, especially in a place where you get lots of natural disasters. It is easy to forget sometimes!
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  13. Glad you guys are safe and sound! I went without health insurance for 3 months between undergrad and grad school since my school policies wouldn’t cover the interim, and of course that was when I got mono. Luckily it wasn’t too expensive, but it could have been much worse…
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  14. It’s great that you “learned your lesson” without actually taking any damage or losing anything. That might be the best of both worlds!
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  15. We Ohio folks got that same storm! I thank God that I was at a house with a basement in it at the time the storm came through. I’ve never been one to actually take cover for a storm but the weather alarms in town went off, the news guy said take cover, and the satellite went out so I headed down in the basement. We didn’t have any major damage here but the wind was freaking insane!
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  16. So glad you and the family are ok Holly! That’s just nuts about tornadoes in November! I want to chalk it up to the crazy weather in the Midwest, but that storm was just nuts in how big of an area it impacted.

    We had renter’s when we were renting and it’s so worth it. My youngest brother, on the other hand, is on his own for his first time and we were having this conversation last weekend actually. I asked him if he had it and said “I don’t want to spend $10/month on something like that” I just wanted to shake him. Hopefully some wisdom from both my wife and I will sink in at some point.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Why It’s Financially Possible to Move AbroadMy Profile

  17. The storms in the midwest were pretty bad, and yeah it does seem unusual for that time of year! Glad you are all OK. I still don’t have renters insurance. If there was an earthquake it really wouldn’t matter since that’s something separate, but I do live on the ground floor and rely on my computer stuff and equipment for my livelihood, yet I keep forgetting to get renters insurance.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Feeling the Power to Change Old Financial WaysMy Profile

  18. I rented all through college and grad school and never had renter’s insurance (which my husband was horrified to find out- of course he had also been renting at the time and had renter’s insurance). I’m not sure I had even heard of renter’s insurance at the time- scary, huh?
    Dee @ Color Me Frugal recently posted..You aren’t your balance sheet- you really aren’t!My Profile

  19. So glad you guys are safe and didn’t experience any damage from those storms! Renter’s insurance is definitely a good idea and I’m glad you have it now – if nothing else, it’s peace of mind for you.
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  20. Looks like you dodged a bullet on this one! I can certainly say yes, my own stupidity has caused me financial detriment. Many time over!
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  21. I don’t even want to know the amount of money I’ve lost for stupidity, most recently with a speeding ticket. I’m glad your house missed the worst of it, but my heart goes out to those in the tornado zone. They are so random and unpredictable. I don’t miss tornadoes from my time living in the South.
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  22. Glad you guys are okay. We do have renter’s insurance and it’s only about $144 for the year. It’s worth it for the peace of mind. I know a lot of people don’t like paying for insurance thinking nothing will happen. Well hopefully nothing will happen, but when something does…then you’ll be glad you had it. Especially with renter’s insurance being so affordable, no reason not to get it.
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  23. Glad to hear you guys are ok! Lots of crazy events going on lately relating to weather… I know Peoria was hit bad… how far North of Indiana did the storm hit?
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  24. Wow! Those are some pretty scary pictures. Tornadoes are not common here but I did live in Dallas for a few years. I’m glad you guys are okay. Honestly, I understand why you didn’t get immediately renter’s insurance but I’m glad you have it now. It’s better to be safe than sorry and thankfully renter’s insurance is really cheap peace of mind.
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  25. Glad your family and home were spared Holly. I always have renter’s insurance after my sister lost most of her belongings in a fire. They weren’t all burnt but anything that wasn’t burnt was badly damaged by smoke. You’d never know how the smell of smoke can permeate things so severe that you can’t get the smell out.

    Like you, once I had an ahh! moment with our renter’s insurance when I realized the idiot who updated our policy did it incorrectly and our policy was still insuring our old apartment but listed our new address as the mailing address after we moved! I freaked out and my husband called immediately on Monday (the discovery was on a Sunday) and we are now 100% covered. Such peace of mind!
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  26. That is so good that everything was safe! On Sunday we had really bad weather too and we thought we would come home to a tree on our house (our neighborhood is sadly notorious for tornadoes – happens at least a few times). Luckily we just came home to branches in our yard but nothing hit the house!
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  27. Renters insurance is definitely a must I’ve seen so many incidents occur being that im in the rental business, that really ended causing tenants a lot of money. Whenever I sign leases I always make it a point to hand out insurance pamphlets because ppl think nothing bad can happen to them when it can.
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  28. Here’s a scary story of a different kind……My mom and step father owned a lot of rental property and didn’t have insurance on any of it. Not casualty coverage, not fire and especially not liability. I can’t believe how lucky they were to never have an incident. After my step-father died, we convinced Mom to get insurance right away and guess what, some woman had a medical emergency while driving on their street and her car ran through two of the properties next to each other. Whew!! (Wiping sweat off forehead now)

  29. So glad you and the family are okay! <3
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  30. I am glad that everything turned out fine and that you’re all safe! Tornadoes are so scary to me. They don’t happen very often here at all, so when I hear about a warning or watch, I freak out. I don’t like storms in general. This is a good reminder that I need to get quotes for renter’s insurance. Just when you think nothing will happen, it will, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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  31. That storm was pretty frightening here in Missouri as well.. We were actually at church when it rolled through, and the power went out and it was actually pitch black for a while. Our city was spared major damage, but it was a bit scary. Glad to hear that you all were okay as well!
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  32. That sounds like a terrifying situation! I’m glad your family, your home and your possessions are safe. On the bright side, your post has opened the eyes to many about preparing for the unexpected and the significance of having insurance!
    Terry @EasyFinancialTips recently posted..5 New Year’s Money Resolutions Everyone Should MakeMy Profile

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