A: A little peace of mind isn't reserved for the landed gentry alone. You can buy a basic renter's-insurance policy that will cover your personal possessions like clothing, furniture, and computer equipment and will give you liability protection in case someone is injured in your home or, in many cases, by your pet ("Baxter! Let go of her ear!"). Figure on spending $150 to $300 per year for a policy, though the actual price will depend on the extent of the coverage as well as calculations made by the insurance company about your home and neighborhood that are complex enough to make the proofs for Fermat's Last Theorem look like second-grade multiplication tables.
Independent agents like Campbell Solberg Associates (843-4343) will compare policies from several different carriers to help you find the most appropriate coverage, and they have in-house agents to help you through the claims process. If you want to go it alone, start by looking for a company with high customer-satisfaction ratings and a strong financial outlook like State Farm Insurance (look them up in the White Pages to find the agent in your neighborhood, or visit www.statefarm.com), which is one of the most affordable carriers in the area. AMICA Mutual Insurance (800-24-amica), also highly rated and financially sound, has the added benefit of allowing you to buy directly over the phone.