Harvard University has released research that shows an ever-increasing number of Americans prefer renting over buying a home. This trend has been growing for decades, and it does not show any signs of failing. This means that millions of people renting will want to (or be made to) purchase renters insurance to safeguard their personal things.
Whether or not your rental contract forces you to take out renter’s insurance, getting a policy provides a great deal of peace of mind. The best news is that the premiums are surprisingly affordable, and they offer a number of benefits. Here we look at the various aspects and costs of affordable renters insurance.
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One Renter’s Insurance Policy Will Offer Similar Coverage As Another
There is a caveat to the idea that all renters insurance policies are created more or less equal. The highest-quality insurance companies generally offer similar options for their basic coverage. This does not cover other more obvious insurance company differences, like policy management ease, customer service, and price.
Besides this, every person’s own particular circumstances help them decide what company and policy is best. Examples of such unique scenarios include Americans over 50 years of age and military service people and their families. For purposes of comparison we consider coverage, policy management, and cost here.
With the majority of renters insurance policies, they call the cause of loss “perils.” These policies generally specify precisely what you are covered against in these named peril policies.
There a number of the best-known dangers or perils that these renters insurance policies address, including the following:
- Water Damage
- Lightning Strikes
This does not mean that all of these perils will be covered in every policy though. It explains why you need to carefully check that specific conditions are covered for places that suffer from extreme weather such as lightning, hurricanes or tornadoes, or fire-causing conditions.
Common Kinds of Renters Insurance Coverage
There should be four common categories of standard insurance provided by any of the top renters insurance firms. These include all of the following:
- Personal Property Coverage
- Loss of Use/Additional Living Costs
- Medical Payments
We look at each of these next.
Personal Property Coverage
This is the coverage for daily use items. It includes appliances, clothes, and furniture. This coverage also extends to musical instruments and equipment and jewelry. Extended coverage is available for those individual pieces that are higher cost.
Generally, renters insurance protects your personal effects regardless of where the item is when something happens to it. In other words, the coverage extends beyond your personal apartment. This means that your laptop is covered against theft when you are in a restaurant. There is a difference between out of apartment storage and taking an item out of your apartment. Additional coverage becomes necessary for personal effects that you permanently store elsewhere.
Loss of Use/Additional Living Costs
This provision coverage includes supplemental costs of living if your apartment (or house) becomes so severely damaged that you become displaced on a temporary basis. Expenses covered in this category cover restaurants, hotels, and related costs. The individual policy provides time limitations on coverage access.
Liability can be critical coverage. If you are on the hook legally because of property damage or even physical injury to another person resulting from an accident or event that took place and harmed a family member or yourself, this coverage protects you. Medical expenses and treatment are a big component of this.
Guests in a home who become injured there will need medical treatment, and this gets expensive fast. This coverage works regardless of your liability for the injury or accident. In the categories of medical costs and payouts are hospital visits, doctor’s expenses, and x-rays and tests. This coverage is not intended for you or your family members, only for guests and visitors.
Special Extended Coverage Options
In some special circumstances it is appropriate to consider supplemental renters insurance coverage. In the insurance industry, they call this a floater policy. If you keep an expensive stamp or coin collection or jewelry in your apartment or home (or any other highly valuable single item or collection), then this is relevant to consider. Many of the different major carriers offer extended coverage, including Nationwide, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, and other top carriers.
Renters Insurance Policy Management
The first order of business in policy management is the total amount of coverage you require. Estimating this correctly will save you potential grief if you do need to file a claim one day. While you do not want to overpay in monthly premiums for too much coverage, you also should never underestimate the replacement cost of your prized possessions should a theft or natural disaster occur.
Top insurance companies help you in determining this with a handy calculator you can utilize to properly estimate the replacement cost of your goods. Some insurance companies offer tools slightly better than their competition. As an example, Allstate provides their “What’s Your Stuff Worth?”
This online tool excels at assisting visitors in determining the valuables you have, the value they command, and the replacement cost without insurance. It operates by taking you on an imaginary walking tour of all rooms in your apartment or house. Through this process of gathering rather simple information, the Allstate app returns a fast estimate of the real value of your possessions. How often can you claim that a financial services tool is enjoyable to play around with these days?
Many of the best rated renters insurance companies will provide you with a good online feature that makes it easier to manage the policy. Allstate again excels in this department. Their app the Digital Locker allows users to catalog all personal belongings through photographs. This means that you can utilize this app via tablet, smartphone, or laptop to snap shots of all personal effects so that you can list values for them and upload pictures to your online account. In the case of this app, (as with top competitors) it works on various platforms including Android and Apple. The Digital Locker in particular helps users to do the following:
- Give precise estimates through either a bar code search or Google search
- Organize personal belongings according to category, room, or in lists
- Base listings on preset category and room templates
- Maintain an up to date inventory so that if you need to file a claim, all of your items are accounted for with pictorial documentation
Apps like this one make it so easy to manage a renters insurance policy and personal inventory.
Cost Comparisons of Renters Insurance
All of the top-rated renters insurance companies are free with their no-cost, no-obligation online quote system tools as well. This is the optimal means of quickly comparing the pricing of various rent insurance policies as it permits you to get an honest snapshot of your personal needs. In other words, it helps you to compare apples to apples as much as possible in the insurance world.
The general costs for renters insurance come down to two important factors: the size of your apartment or house along with your personal credit history. Also important to the quote results will be the location of your address since values and replacement costs range widely from one city and state to another. The good news is that for most first-time renters insurance customers, the premiums seem affordable. This is the case even for the top-ratted companies and policies.
For example, the Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents’ current study revealed that the typical renter pays premiums amounting to an average of $16 a month. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners experts provide guidelines of paying from $15 to $30 each month on common policies.
Comparing Three Well-Known Rental Insurance Companies Prices
It always helps to make real dollar value comparisons. To help provide clarity with tangible examples, we will look at comparable policies and the premium cost estimates for someone with good credit. In this section we will look at Nationwide, Allstate, and American Family.
These policies cover a decent amount of possessions at $30,000 in coverage at replacement cost for rentals on the outskirts of a big American city. Here are the monthly rates that they returned:
Nationwide Rates: $22.42
Allstate Rates: $17
American Family Rates: $11.50
As you can see, the price quotes are within the recommended range per month and not far from the average premium each month per renter insurance customer. By way of comparison, you are able to obtain a solid $30,000 in coverage for your prized possessions over an entire month for about the money you would have to spend on one or two large pizzas. It does not get much cheaper than this.
The most effective means of tracking down the least expensive renters insurance is to obtain several quotes from minimally two to three different renters insurance providers. Some analysts will suggest only two, but as you can see from the sample premiums above, if you had obtained only Nationwide and Allstate premium prices, you might have overpaid on the least expensive rates sampled above by at least $5.50 per month. This represents a staggering 48 percent higher monthly premium cost, all because of only getting two comparison quotes on renter’ insurance.
What Discounts Are Available for Renters Insurance?
The premiums are already low with renter’s insurance, but they can be reduced even further through relevant discounts in many cases. The most popular ones that apply to renters and their insurance needs are the following:
- No Claims Discount – for those who have never filed a claim or not filed one in years, this discount applies
- Multiple Policy Discount – if you have a health insurance, auto, or life insurance policy with the firm, they will reduce the rates for rental insurance
- Safety Devices – these discounts cover such safety devices installed at home as a house security system, sprinklers, or smoke detectors.
The top insurance companies will offer these discounts. There are not so many price breaks as with other types of insurance (like auto or homeowners), yet they still can add up to significant savings on already very reasonably priced premiums.
Primary Factors Determining Premium Costs for Renters Insurance
Renters insurance has something in common with home owners insurance. With both types, several different key considerations impact the price of premiums on your policy. Keep in mind the four following important factors:
- Amount of coverage – Among the top considerations for an insurance company issuing renters insurance is the so-called level of coverage. This amount is different for each person and property. Thanks to their estimate tools online, insurance companies make it easier than ever to determine how much is appropriate
- Deductible amount – The sum of money that comes out of your pocket before the insurance company pays a penny. With higher deductibles come lower premiums, and with lower deductibles come more expensive premiums as a general rule. You should never choose a higher deductible than you can reasonably hope to meet should you need to file a claim
- Location, location, location – streets or neighborhoods with a higher crime rate are going to pay more. You might mitigate the damage of this partially with alarm systems. Areas that suffer more from tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and floods will also command higher monthly premiums
- Replacement cost as compared to actual cash value – Nowadays the majority of renters insurance providers will offer the choice of actual cash value or replacement cost coverage. Replacement cost is the more desirable and more expensive option, since it actually pays the often-higher price of replacing an item than it is worth once “used.” They figure this as cost of replacement less depreciation. Few people regret having paid slightly more for replacement cost coverage when they file their first claim
A Primer on What Renters Insurance Actually Covers and How It Works
The most obvious item that renters insurance will cover is your personal effects. There are several other scenarios it also takes care of in the majority of policies (in particular from highly rated insurance providers). These coverages include the following three features:
1. Your Personal Possessions
This quite simply refers to anything stored in your house or apartment. With an owned property, homeowner’s insurance would cover this. Rental properties are different and need rental insurance to get the job done. This provides you with the flexibility to take this insurance (though some landlords will require it in certain markets and buildings). You also get to decide what dollar value amount you want covered by your policy. The higher amount of coverage, the higher your premium will end up being. It is important to keep in mind that higher cost categories such as sporting equipment, jewelry, musical instruments, and collectibles (watches, coins, stamps, china)come with limits to the dollar amount actually covered. Floaters above and beyond this amount, or endorsements, can cover extra value above the standard policy limitations.
2. Additional Living Costs (or Expenses)
In the event that your apartment is completely destroyed in a hurricane, tornado, or wildfire, you lose not only your possessions but also your place to live. This will create unplanned additional costly expenses for temporary living arrangements. This is logistically difficult enough to deal with, but thanks to this coverage, you would be provided with cash for temporary rental arrangements, hotel costs, meals at restaurants, and other relevant expenses while your home is rebuilt, repaired, or you find a new place to live.
3. Medical and Legal Liability
Many people are unaware of the fact that an unforeseen incident or terrible accident at their apartment or house creates both legal and medical liability for suffering, medical costs, and more. This helpful coverage protects you from costly legal fees and high medical expenses if a person is injured while on your premises or because of your own careless or negligence. You would not intentionally leave a stove top burner going, but it could still lead to a terrible fire that causes serious injuries or seriously burns someone in your apartment (particularly small children). The majority of typical and traditional renters insurance policies cover a good $100,000 worth of liability. You can elect to buy a greater amount of it if you are accident prone.
Renter’s Insurance Premiums Are Paid On A Monthly Basis
With many forms of insurance these days, you pay the premiums on a monthly basis as the insured party. This is common with renters insurance as it is with auto, home, and health insurance coverage.
These premiums can vary, but often will amount to approximately $120 per year given $10,000 worth of personal property insurance coverage and a $100,000 coverage in liability. Companies charging this amount include the likes of household names such as State Farm, Allstate, and Liberty Mutual. The list of rental insurance companies is extensive though since practically every well-rated and nationally known insurance company will write rental insurance policies.
Is It Prudent to Obtain Renters Insurance for Your Apartment or Rental House?
Many renters have the luxury of deciding whether or not to pay for renters insurance on their rental property. Others will find the landlord mandates carrying and providing proof of this form of insurance. Yet statistics from the Insurance Information Institute reveal that approximately 31 percent of Americans renting opt for rental insurance. The fact that nearly seven out of 10 consenting adults choose not to pay for such inexpensive insurance should not sway your decision in the least. It is more important to decide if such coverage is worth the price of having the peace of mind it brings.
Is Renters Insurance Worth this Peace of Mind?
Since the cost of the typical renters insurance policy ranges from $12 to around $20 per month, it is hard to say that your peace of mind is not worth the cost. It amounts to between 40 and under 70 cents per day. For far less than a daily cup of coffee out, you can rest easy at night, knowing that your possessions are protected.
It is not merely a question of you being responsible and careful. Anyone who shares a multiple unit housing facility or apartment building is ultimately at the risk of his or her neighbor’s responsibility. Just because you could never do something to cause a building fire, does not mean that your neighbor down the hall will not.
Sitting down to figure out the cost to replace even a basic amount of furniture, clothes, and possessions will quickly show you that it is irresponsible not to carry renters insurance. Replacing everything you own can break you however much you do or do not have. It explains why you should shop around for the best possible and most affordable renters insurance policy that you can. Some great news is that he two factors of high quality and low cost are not mutually exclusive (for a change) with this very reasonable form of insurance on your personal possessions. Consider the Additional Living Expenses coverage and Liability coverage a little extra icing on the cake.
As with anything, you really need to spend the necessary time to shop quotes on renters insurance to obtain at least three separate insurance providers before you take the plunge and buy a policy. This makes great sense and is well worth the time invested as odds are you will stay for many years if not decades with your rental insurance company once you pick one. Since renters insurance is simple to obtain, really reasonable, and provides no downside, making the decision to do without it could prove the worst financial decision of your entire life.
And if you still have doubts as to whether or not you own enough to bother with the premium cost equal to a large pizza each month, the solution is obvious. Sit down and figure out everything you own, how much it would cost to replace it entirely, add up the replacement cost amount, and see what total you get. You may be surprised at the clarity doing this exercise will provide.
Cheap Renters Insurance Basics
Are you in search of cheap renters insurance? This section is a collection of the common questions that renters might find themselves asking as they shop for insurance.
What is renters insurance?
Renter’s insurance is a type of liability insurance that covers the tenant’s personal property. It will cover any type of loss or damage in uncontrollable circumstances such as theft, fire, or natural disasters.
How to get renters insurance?
If you are currently renting the property you live in, you must acquire renters insurance. It is an insurance policy that will protect your personal items or those that aren’t covered by the landlord’s policy.
How does renters insurance work?
Renters insurance will pay you for any damage or loss of items when your rental home is burglarized or damaged by natural disasters.
Do I need renters insurance?
If you do not want to cover the cost of replacement of any personal properties within your rental home, you need renters insurance. If you want to protect yourself, it is a must.
Is renters insurance worth it?
If you live in an area prone to disasters or known for break-ins or theft, buying renters insurance is definitely worth it. It will save you from the cost of paying for the lost or damaged items.
Should I get renters insurance?
Yes. If you want to protect yourself from the cost of replacement of your lost or damaged personal items in your rental home, it is an important investment. We recently reviewed Lemonade renters insurance if you want to take a look. Read more: Is lemonade insurance good?
Is renters insurance required?
It varies from one landlord to another. Some landlords require their tenants to buy renters insurance as part of the lease requirements.
Is renters insurance mandatory?
It is not mandatory to get renters insurance. However, your landlord might require it before allowing you to rent their property. Each landlord has their own policies.
Should a landlord require renters insurance?
The choice is completely up to a landlord. By requiring renters insurance, it will benefit the landlord and offer financial protection especially when it comes to damage to your property.
Can you get renters insurance without a lease?
No, a lease is not required to get renters insurance. A good example is when college students obtain renters insurance to protect their personal possessions from damage or theft if they leave their dorm room.
Which items are covered under a typical renter’s insurance policy?
A typical coverage of renters insurance includes your personal belongings that are stored in a rental property, or your car.
Is it required by law to have renters insurance?
No. It is not required by law to obtain renters insurance; this is only a requirement that could be imposed by the landlord.
Renters Insurance Specifics
When shopping for cheap renters insurance, we have a collection of questions and answers that you need that will inform your decision while you shop around.
What does renters insurance cover?
Renter’s insurance will provide financial reimbursement in the event of loss or damage to the possession of a renter, caused by theft, vandalism, or fire.
Does renters insurance cover flood?
Most renters’ policies will not cover flood damage. However, you can find policies that will enable you to purchase this type of coverage separately, especially if you live in a flood-prone area.
Does renters insurance cover theft?
Yes. Theft is one of the situations that renters insurance protects you from. You will be paid for any loss to cover the value of the item/s.
Does renters insurance cover water damage?
If the water damage is caused by flood, it is typically not covered except if you purchased a policy that specifically includes this clause. If the water damage is due to a leak in the property, this will be covered by your insurance.
What does renters insurance not cover?
Renters insurance does not cover the following: damage from natural disasters (you can purchase the coverage separately), damage by pests, damage from terrorism, and any high-value items.
Does renters insurance cover bed bugs?
Bed bugs, or any type of bug infestation, are not typically included in renters insurance policies. Any damage caused by these bugs or pests are not covered in your policy.
What does renters insurance cover from state farm?
As a renter, you can get protection from loss and damage of your personal items due to theft, fire, and vandalism.
Does renters insurance cover hurricane damage?
The standard coverage for renters insurance won’t provide protection from hurricane damage. If you live in an area prone to hurricane, you can add this to your policy.
What does USAA renters insurance cover?
You will be covered for your personal possessions in the event of fire or theft. On the other hand, you will also be covered financially when held responsible for damages or injury.
Where to get renters insurance?
There are many insurance companies that provide renters insurance. Make sure you inquire with various companies about their offering when it comes to renters insurance so you can find your ideal provider.
Does renters insurance cover mold?
If your insurance provider does not specifically exclude mold as one of the causes of damage, it can be covered within your renters insurance policy.
Does progressive have renters insurance?
Yes, Progressive does offer renters insurance.
How long does it take to get renters insurance?
Depending on where you decide to get renters insurance from, it will typically be a quick process. Some insurance providers can approve the policy in less than an hour.
Can a landlord require renters insurance?
Yes. Some landlords will include renters insurance as one of their lease requirements.
Does renters insurance cover dog bites?
If a dog bite occurs within your rental property, this can be included in the coverage of renters insurance.
Does renters insurance cover fire?
If your rental home becomes unlivable or when your personal possessions are damaged by fire, it is covered in your renters insurance.
Does renters insurance cover pet damage?
If the damage is caused by your own pet, it is not covered in your renters insurance.
Does renters insurance cover storage units?
Yes. You can add any personal items that are stored away from the rental home. However, your items might not be protected from flood damage.
Does progressive offer renters insurance?
Yes. Progressive offers renters insurance with the option to get additional coverage.
What is liability renters insurance?
Liability renters insurance offers protection for any damage to the rental property that you are held responsible for. This can be caused by your personal activities or that of your pet.
Does renters insurance cover theft outside the home?
When you obtain renters insurance, it will cover your personal belongings within your rental home or items that are stolen in your car or while traveling.
Does renters insurance cover wildfires?
Yes. Your personal items are covered by renters insurance when it is destroyed by wildfires. You may also get additional living expenses, if the property is deemed uninhabitable.
Does renters insurance cover tornado damage?
If you have obtained renters insurance, you will be covered for any damage to your personal belongings during the tornado.
Will renters insurance cover stolen cash?
Yes, but with a very low limit. This is designed to avoid making false claims on stolen cash.
Does homeowners insurance cover renters damage?
No. Homeowners insurance will cover damage to the property due to theft, vandalism, or fire. But you will need renters insurance to cover for any damage that is caused by tenants. This explains why landlords require renters insurance as part of leasing requirements. Even the top home insurance companies will recommend you require renters insurance too.
Does renters insurance cover collectibles?
Any collectibles or high-value items are not included in the renters insurance. If you want to protect them from loss or damage, you can pay for additional coverage.
Does renters insurance cover car break ins?
Yes. Any personal items that are owned by the policy holder is covered by the renters insurance, even if the items were stolen from your car.
Renters Insurance Cost
Do you want to obtain renters insurance? Browse the list of commonly asked questions for those interested to buy renters insurance.
How much is renters insurance?
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioner, the average annual cost of renter’s insurance policy is $184 (roughly $15 a month). This figure could vary depending on the location of the home or property you are renting.
How much is renters insurance for an apartment?
The national average for renters insurance of a home or an apartment does not have any significant difference. You can expect to pay no more than $200 a year for coverage worth $30,000 to $50,000.
Who has the cheapest renters insurance?
The cost of renters insurance will vary according to your location and other specifications. Thus, you can find the cheapest renters insurance to ensure that you can get the best policy for the cheapest price.
How much is renters insurance a month?
The average cost of renters insurance is $15 a month. This can vary depending on whether you have other inclusions to the policy.
How much is renters insurance Geico?
If you want to obtain renters insurance from Geico, you must request for a quote so you can decide if it is worth purchasing a policy from them.
How much is renters insurance State Farm?
The cost of renters insurance from State Farm varies according to the deductibles. You need to get a quote to know how much your policy will cost.
How much is the average renters insurance?
The average renters insurance in the US is at $15 a month or around $180 a year.
How much renters insurance do I need?
There are two factors to consider when deciding how much renters insurance you need: how much you own and the risk you are willing to take.
Is renters insurance tax deductible?
No. The renters insurance is not tax deductible.
How does renters insurance payout?
There are two methods that renters insurance is paid out: actual cash value settlements and replacement cost settlements.
How much aircraft renters insurance do I need?
The amount of coverage for aircraft renters insurance will vary according to a few factors such as the type of aircraft, or if you belong to a flying club.