If you’re a renter, it goes without saying that you need renter’s insurance! Unless you’re a minimalist whose entire life could fit in a suitcase, your belongings are worth more than you realize and they mean more to you than you think.
Not only will renter’s insurance cover the cost of replacing your possessions, but it’ll give you liability coverage and a host of other forms of protection for you and your stuff.
So, now you know why you need it. But how do you get the best renter’s insurance coverage for your needs? Let’s find out!
How to Get Renter’s Insurance
As mentioned, renter’s insurance covers the financial worth of your possessions if they’re damaged, vandalized or stolen while you’re renting. Once you’ve made the wise decision to get some renter’s insurance, here’s what you need to do:
1. Create an Inventory
Take time to record what you own and estimate how much coverage you’ll want to have to replace all of it. Group your possessions into things like electronics and appliances, furniture, clothes and shoes, jewelry, soft furnishings and so on. Then, tackle any special items like that fancy exercise machine or bicycle. Take pictures of your more expensive items and write down brands, models and serial numbers if you know them. Save receipts for big ticket items if you can. Keep this info in a safe place or an external cloud drive.
2. Consider Your Liabilities
Think about any extra liability coverage you might need. If you’re a smoker or have pets, you might want to increase your liability. You’ll be asked about these because both can affect your premium. Also, consider how often you have company in your home—whether you host a book club or plain old parties! This could affect your liability needs.
3. Have Those Small (but Important) Details Ready
You’ll be asked for these details and more, depending on where you live. Providing as much detail as possible is vital to getting a good quote!
- What’s your full address and type of residence?
- Does your home have a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, sprinkler system and security alarm?
- Is your home powered by electricity, gas or both?
- What floor do you live on if you’re in an apartment building?
- Who lives with you?
- Does your front door have a deadbolt?
4. Shop Around With Help From an Independent Insurance Agent
Yes, you could go online to gather some quotes yourself. But it’s always worth speaking to an independent insurance agent before you buy a policy.
Protect your home and your budget with the right coverage!
Why? Because, after looking at your specific details and needs, they could find a policy that gives you the same or more coverage than the one you found online and for a similar cost or less in premiums. Or they could advise you about coverage you’ve forgotten to include and discounts you could be eligible for—like bundling your renter’s insurance with your auto insurance.
Bottom line: Independent agents can scan many more insurance companies big and small. It saves you time and, remember, they’re free to use!
How Much Does Renter’s Insurance Cost?
Now, renter’s insurance premiums vary depending on how much coverage you want and the type of place you live in, but you’ll generally you’ll pay around $15 to $30 a month on average.1
If you’ve estimated your personal property coverage to be $100,000, for example, you’ll pay more in premiums than compared to having $25,000 of coverage. And opting for replacement cost coverage instead of actual cash value, will also increase your premium.
If you wanted to bring your premium down, you could raise your deductible. This means you’ll pay less in premiums each month but pay more out of pocket towards a claim if you make one.
It’s definitely worth raising your deductible if you know you can afford it. Raising it from $250 to $500 can bring down your premiums. When it comes to liability coverage, increasing your liability limit means your premium bumps up a bit.
But, don’t forget, even the higher end of a renter’s insurance premium adds up to less over the course of a year when you compare it to replacing an unexpectedly damaged or stolen laptop or TV. You don’t have to lose everything at once to be able to file a claim.
Is Renter’s Insurance Worth It?
In a nutshell, renter’s insurance is absolutely worth it. If you compare an average annual premium of $185, that already costs less than what so many of your valuable possessions are worth.2
And, as the number of renters increases across the country, so does the popularity of renter’s insurance. In 2016, 41% of renters surveyed had renter’s insurance, and the numbers have steadily grown during the past decade.3
Without renter’s insurance you’d pay huge amounts out of pocket for anything you need to replace—not to mention you’d have to pay to cover your own liability if someone makes a claim against you due to an accident in your home.
Think about it. You’re protecting your personal computer, TV, favorite armchair, those early hardback editions of Harry Potter you collected years ago and that pair of shoes you love more than you should and just can’t find anywhere anymore.
When you total how much these things are worth in dollars and cents and how much they’re sentimentally worth to you if you lost it all and had to replace it in a hurry, it’s more than the premium and then some. That’s why renter’s insurance is something all renters should have.
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