If you're shopping for a renters insurance policy, you're on the right track to protecting your belongings. But knowing you need renters insurance and knowing how to find the best policy don't always go hand in hand. Learn more about comparing renters insurance rates, the average costs of renters insurance and the steps you should take to find a policy that works for you.
Compare Renters Insurance Quotes
Allstate has comprehensive renters insurance policies, including additional coverage options such as flood insurance and personal liability umbrella insurance. Numerous discounts are available, such as safe home discounts up to 15 percent for property with security systems or fire alarms and a discount of up to 25 percent for retirees.
American Family Insurance offers an array of renters insurance policies that cover everything from household items to expensive pieces of art and jewelry. The company offers discounts to customers with multiple insurance policies and renters who have not filed a claim for at least five years. There are also discounts for properties protected by security systems.
Farmers renters insurance includes four standard types of coverage: personal possessions protection, personal liability, medical payments and additional living expenses. You can also add their Identity Shield product, which provides coverage for identify theft. If someone does rack up fraudulent charges, the company will help you work with credit bureaus to clear your record.
Renters insurance from GEICO automatically includes liability coverage, a feature that many other companies offer as an optional add-on. Liability coverage pays for legal and medical costs if someone is injured on your property. You can also select from policy extras to cover natural disasters and business liability. Discounts for having multiple GEICO insurance policies, home safety features and a security system are also available.
In addition to standard renters insurance coverage for mishaps such as fire and theft, Nationwide provides a wide range of specialized protection options, including one called Brand New Belongings. With this program, you can buy a new item to replace anything that is damaged or stolen.
Progressive renters insurance covers your belongings, medical payments and liability coverage, as well as hotel expenses if you are displaced from your rental property. Coverage is available as low as $11 per month, and the company will also add additional discounts if you bundle your renters insurance with a Progressive auto insurance policy.
The standard Safeco Insurance renters insurance policy covers your personal possessions both at home or anywhere else. It includes personal liability coverage and provides additional living expenses. You can save money by bundling policies or by paying your entire premium in full instead of in monthly payments.
State Farm has a standard array of renters insurance options, along with up to $800 in savings if you hold multiple insurance policies with the company. Standard coverage includes damage caused by weather (such as hail, storms and lightning) and non-weather events (such as vandalism and theft).
Travelers features a selection of renters insurance options, including personal property coverage, personal liability protection, protection against fire damage, reimbursement for credit card fraud and coverage for additional living expenses. The company offers an after-hours emergency response team to handle claims.
USAA provides broad renters insurance policies for active and retired military personnel and their adult children, including coverage not offered by other companies. Options include flood and earthquake coverage, coverage for costs of moving and storage, reimbursement for identity theft and full coverage for repair and replacement of stolen or damaged furniture.
Money Talk: How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
Renters insurance can be an affordable option for any budget. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average annual premium in 2014 was $190—that breaks down to just $15.83 per month. However, rates depend on numerous factors, from where you live to the value of the personal property you want to insure. Learn more about the cost of renters insurance in your state below.
Top 10 Most Expensive States for Renters Insurance
Nearly three-fourths of all states have average annual premiums under $200, according to 2014 renters insurance data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). North Dakota is the least expensive state ($114) and Mississippi is the most expensive ($262). Typically, premiums range from $140 to $170 in most states. Below is a list of the ten states with the highest renters insurance premiums.
How Much Renters Insurance Costs in Your State
Source: Insurance Information Institute
Step-by Step: How to Compare Renters Insurance Quotes
Not sure what your stuff is worth or the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost?
Check out our renters insurance guide
to learn about your different coverage options and to estimate the value of your belongings.
When you're ready to compare renters insurance policies or companies, there are several things to consider before submitting a quote request.
- Decide what you need to cover
- Complete a household inventory to determine how much coverage you need to purchase
- Document valuable items (such as watches, jewelry and art) that may not be covered under a standard policy
- Make a list of potential insurance companies, visit their websites and review their policy options
- Learn about each company's policy on actual cash value versus replacement cost coverage
- Review each company's floaters and add-on policy options
- Get quotes from at least three insurance companies, either through an online quote form or by contacting an agent. Make sure to compare the same amount and type of coverage from each company.
What You Need to Compare Renters Insurance
As you start comparing renters insurance options, you need to gather several pieces of information to submit to insurance companies. Here are some things you may be asked to provide when getting a renters insurance quote:
- Date of Birth
- Marital status
- Employment status
- Your history of renters insurance claims
- Names of other residents
- Whether or not you own a dog (and what kind of dog you own)
- Property address you want to insure
- Length of time you've lived at that address
- Type of property (such as a home, apartment or condo)
- Number of units at the property
- Whether or not you operate a business at the property
- List and type of security and fire alarm systems at the property
- Distance of the property to the fire department
- List of personal items you wish to insure
- Total value of all personal property, from furniture to clothing
How to Cut Costs on Renters Insurance
While renters insurance premiums won't break the bank, if you're a student on a budget or a family struggling to make ends' meet, every penny you can save helps. Here are our best tips for saving money on your policy:
Not all policies are the same and insurance companies offer a range of discount programs. For example, Allstate provides a 25 percent discount to retirees on their premiums, while Travelers provides up to five percent off a renters insurance policy for individuals renting a LEED-certified home.
The standard deductible amount for renters insurance typically ranges between $250 and $500. If you increase that deductible, you can lower your annual premium payments.
"The biggest savings is bundling or multi-policy discounts," says Ryan Scruggs, a Farmers Insurance Agency owner in Phoenix. "Combining your auto and renters insurance can lead to big savings. In some cases, these savings can almost pay for the renters policy itself."
If you purchased personal property protection for high-value items, have them appraised yearly to keep the proper amount of coverage, instead of paying more for items that may have decreased in value.
Reducing the security risk of your rental property means you're less of a risk for the insurance company. Most insurance companies offer discounts for safety systems and devices, such as fire alarms and window locks. For example, Allstate offers a 15 percent discount for qualifying security features. (Talk with your landlord before you install anything, though.)
Employers, unions and professional associations may offer group coverage. If you qualify, you could receive a discount on your renters insurance.
Most insurance companies reduce insurance premiums if you have your payment automatically withdrawn from your bank account each month. Discounts vary, but they typically hover around five percent.
According to the US Fire Administration, 13.8 percent of all residential fires resulting in a death in 2015 were started by smoking. So, it's no surprise most insurance companies offer a nonsmoker's credit.
"You should of course get adequate coverage, but don't go overboard with the optional coverages," says Cody Thompson, Insurance Advocate at GetMargo.com. Add-ons and floaters can add up, so only buy what you need.
An Experts Take on Finding the Best Renters Insurance Company
Comparing renters insurance quotes starts with comparing companies. Insurance advocate Cody Thompson shares some tips for finding the renters insurance company and policy that's right for you.
What sets a good insurance company apart from a bad renters insurance company?
There are two things that make a good insurance company. The first is having the coverage that fits your needs. The second is having an agent who values you as a person, and not just a sale—someone who can answer all your questions, explain coverages and ensure you get the policy that best fits your needs.
Selecting an insurance company is almost as important as the policy itself. Even if you have a great policy, if the insurance company is not reputable, your claims process could be difficult. Having an insurance company that you feel you can trust is the most important aspect of choosing an insurance company. Whether that is the local agent or the call center employee, you need to trust the company that you do business with.
What steps can consumers take to compare renters policies?
Start by going to an agent or company with a good reputation for transparency. Once you get their quote, ask for it in writing. As you continue to shop, keep getting copies of the quotes and compare each one to ensure they all include the same coverages. From there you'll be able to compare prices on an even level.
What are the biggest mistakes consumers make when comparing renters insurance quotes?
When comparing any insurance quote, it's important to make sure the coverages are comparable. At Margo, I often talk to people who are looking for insurance but don't know what a quoted policy actually covers. Don't let them assume you know what the coverages mean. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you get a second quote that has less coverage than the first, you'll likely pay less but also have less protection.
What are some red flags consumers should keep an eye on when comparing renters insurance policies?
A major red flag is price. Just because the price is more attractive, that doesn't mean that the policy includes the coverage that you need. You need to be wary when insurance companies attempt to sell a policy that is significantly less than what you're paying. Be sure to compare coverages before price. If both policies have the same coverage, then move to price. Lastly compare the companies themselves. Always do your homework.