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Your ultimate guide to renters insurance
Your ultimate guide to renters insurance for house rentals, apartments and roommate situations
No matter where you live or how much stuff you have, in 2021 you can find an affordable renters insurance policy to protect your belongings and future earnings. We were quoted rental insurance rates as low as $5 per month.
Did you know you can be sued if someone hurts themselves in your apartment or if your dog bites them? Or if you cause water damage to your rental home? And, why would you want to replace your stolen $3,000 laptop outright if you didn’t have to? A good renters insurance policy will help you out when you need it.
Maybe you only want to get renters insurance because your new lease agreement requires it. Or maybe you moved into a risky (but cheap rent) neighborhood. Whatever the reason we did a bit of the legwork for you to help you find a customizable policy that suits your needs. We reviewed thirteen rental insurance companies to help you create your short list of 2021 best rent insurance companies to request quotes from. Once you find a company you want to work with, you can usually obtain a new policy almost instantly.
What is renter’s insurance?
Renters insurance is insurance coverage for your things. While the property owner is required to have insurance for the building, that insurance doesn’t cover your belongings. Renter insurance covers things like your furniture, electronics, clothing, sports equipment, and kitchen items.
It also helps protect you from liability such as if someone is injured in your apartment or help pay for damages to your apartment if you accidentally start a fire or something else. In some cases, renters insurance may also help cover costs such as hotel rooms if you are temporarily not able to live in your home. Across the US, 44 percent of Americans have renters insurance.
This type of insurance is cheaper than most types of insurance. The average cost of renters insurance is only $10-$20 per month.
How to find the best renters insurance
Consider why you want renters insurance in the first place. Do you want it just because your landlord requires it or do you have expensive items you’d like to protect? If all of your possessions together add up to less than $10,000, consider a low-cost, basic plan. If you own a few (or a lot) of costly items, look for a customizable plan that will help you replace your property if needed.
1. Compare Rates: How much does renter’s insurance cost?
When we requested renters insurance quotes from the reviewed companies, the average quoted rate was about $15 per month for about $10,000 worth of personal property. However, often if you lower coverages and take advantage of available discounts, you can likely lower the rate even further. We were able to lower Lemonade’s and State Farm’s rates to less than $10 per month.
Keep in mind that the service will run your credit and your quoted rate may be adjusted based on your credit rating after you submit your Social Security number.
2. Mobile Experience
Nowadays, if you can’t handle business on your phone, what’s the point? Or worse yet having to remember policy numbers to submit a claim. Good mobile apps are designed to help you review your policy, submit claims, change your coverages, and more. Many will even help you keep track of your personal belongings. If you spend more time on your phone than a desktop, consider a service with a helpful mobile experience.
3. Customer Service
It’s important that your insurance company is there for you when you need them and how you want to interact with them. Do they offer 24/7 chat? Are local agents available if you want to visit an office? How quickly do they respond to claims? Look at their FAQs and customer service offerings to see if they offer the kind of service you are looking for.
If you have two or three companies on your shortlist, call each one and reach out to them using the chat service—your experiences will likely clearly reveal which company you’ll want to work with.
4. Quick Coverage
Do you need renters insurance right now or before you move in? If your landlord is asking for proof of insurance immediately, consider a service that can provide proof of coverage to your landlord ASAP.
Note that renters insurance isn’t retroactive, meaning that it won’t cover something that already happened. So, if you overfilled your bathtub and damaged the floor last night, you are out of luck.
Most insurance companies offer a variety of discounts. For example, you may be able to get a discounted rate if you also hold another policy with them such as car insurance. Other things that might help you get a lower rate include security alarms, not having submitted a claim in the past, or setting up automatic payments. If you don’t see what discounts they offer, ask.
If you or your spouse is in the military or is a retired service person, you probably can acquire military-specific discounts. Ask if they offer military discounts or consider seeing if you are eligible for acquiring insurance through the USAA, which often offers rates as low as $10 per month to military members and their families.
Check out our article on rent insurance discounts for other ideas and tips on how to lower your monthly expense.
Comparing renters insurance companies
Lemonade Renters insuranceGet A Quote
Allstate Renters insuranceGet a Quote
Gabi renters insurance
|Gabi is an independent online insurance broker. Think of them as a platform that replaces the human insurance agent of the past. They don’t insure directly but reach out to multiple carriers to find you the best rate. Their technology compares your current auto and renter insurance policies across top providers.||• Fast online quote |
• Strong reviews: 4.7 on Facebook, 4.8 on Google.com
• Consistently good at finding better deals (they claim $825 year)
• No fees
• Licensed in all 50 states
|• Requires car insurance to be bundled with renter insurance in order for you to get a quote — so if you don’t have a car you’re out of luck|
• Quotes are not binding (meaning actual may vary)
• They do not work with all insurance carriers
• Customer chat is rated on the slow side
American Family Renters Insuranceget a quote
Amica Renters insuranceget a quote
Assurant (Geico)get a quote
Erie Renters insuranceget a quote
Farmers Renters insuranceGet a Quote
MetLife Renters InsuranceGet A Quote
Nationwide Renters insuranceGet a Quote
Progressive Renters InsuranceGet a Quote
State Farm Renters InsuranceGet a Quote
Travelers Renters InsuranceGet a Quote
Information needed to get a renters insurance quote
To save time, gather the information required to fill out the quote forms in advance. You likely already know most of the information. You’ll need your full name, address of the rental, type of building, security features of the building, your email address and phone number, an estimated value of your belongings, and a list of possible add-ons (such as flood, earthquake, or pet coverage). Also, consider whether you need to add coverage for expensive belongings such as luxury items or musical instruments.
What does renters insurance cover?
Although add-ons can vary by rent insurance policy, most are based on the following types of coverage:
Personal property loss
This is if your belongings are stolen. The great thing about property protection is it covers your belongings wherever they are. For example, if your laptop gets stolen in a cafe or out of your car, you’ll be covered (phew!). The average two-room apartment holds possessions totaling $30,000 in value according to Allstate.
Not sure how much your stuff is worth? Use the Insurance Information Institute’s home inventory tool to figure it out and then pick a plan with the right amount of personal property coverage.
“Ask your agent about limitations on your personal property. There may be limitations on how much that could be paid for things like jewelry, firearms, furs, silverware, securities, money, and many other items in the event of a covered claim. You may want to purchase additional coverage for some of your valuable items such as those, or even ask about scheduling those items onto your policy for broader coverage and often, little or no deductible.”
— Evans, Ewan & Brady Insurance Agency from Eebins
If someone is injured in your home, you’ll make a liability claim. (If you did not have this type of coverage, you could be directly responsible for any costs the injured person incurred, or they could sue you.) A standard renters insurance policy will cover you for up to $100,000 in legal liability coverage but you can go considerably higher for a few dollars more per month if you need it.
If your belongings get destroyed by fire or water damage, you’ll file a property damage claim. Also, look for loss-of-use coverage. Loss-of-use coverage helps pay for another apartment or hotel if you can’t stay in your place due to damage.
Most will offer you the option to add-on coverage for identity theft, earthquakes, flooding, luxury items, musical instruments or sports equipment. You may also be asked if you want coverage for actual cash-value or the replacement cost. Cash-value pays out less since most items lose value quickly (so a laptop you bought last year might be worth half the price now). Replacement-cost coverage usually requires a higher monthly rate but will help you replace items at the “cost of new” price.
What does renters insurance NOT cover?
If you do not have a lot of stuff and are only getting renters insurance to satisfy your lease agreement, you may not need to worry about extra coverage. But if you own a few things that you care about or live in a high-risk weather area, you may want to think about what your insurance doesn’t cover.
For example, basic renters insurance may not cover:
- Damage from earthquakes or flooding
- Expensive luxury items like jewelry, art or designer clothing
- Costly music equipment or band gear
- High-end sports gear
- A dog with a history of biting
- Your roommate’s stuff
- Electronics over a certain amount (some have a threshold of about $1500 per item)
To add coverage for items not covered in your general policy you may need to add additional insurance or even a policy per item such as a policy to cover your $10,000 piano or $5,000 mountain bike.
Renters insurance deductibles
Your deductible is how much you have to pay out-of-pocket when a claim is paid out. So, if you have a $500 deductible, you’ll pay for $500 worth of replacement or repair costs on your claims. You pay the same deductible whether you’re filing a claim to replace $500 worth of items or $5,000.
The lower your deductible, the more affordable a claim is going to be, but it also makes your policy more expensive per month. A higher deductible, on the other hand, will result in a lower monthly rate, but you’ll pay more if you ever need to file a claim. Thankfully, deductibles usually apply to your personal property, not liability coverage.
Choosing the right renters insurance company may seem confusing at first. But it doesn’t have to be. If you are having trouble deciding which company to go with and how much coverage you really need, just remember, the first step is to make an assessment of your valuables, your living situation, and your budget. Once you have this basic understanding of your renters insurance needs you can start narrowing companies down. Decide which factors are important to you, such as quality customer service or low deductibles and you will find the company that is right for you in no time!
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