One of the great things about renting is that typically the renter is not responsible for things like upkeep and home maintenance. However, it is important to be aware that while the responsibility for maintenance may not fall on the renter, the responsibility to maintain renters insurance definitely does.
The great news is that renters insurance is usually affordable and gives you the peace of mind of knowing your belongings are covered. So, how should you go about finding the cheapest renters insurance that also offers you great coverage? We’ve created this stress-free guide to help you get the best deal.
Step 1: Take an inventory of your belongings
The first step in getting renters insurance is to make a list of your belongings. It can be difficult to know what kind of things you should list and what things you should avoid listing.
The best way to think about your list is to imagine a disaster occurs and everything in your apartment or home is destroyed, then think about each thing you would need to replace and what it would cost to replace. This list should include things like furniture, technology, clothing, collector’s items, instruments, jewelry and any other items you own that are of value.
To determine the replacement value of these items, utilize the internet. For example, if you own a 50” Samsung smart tv, search that exact item on Google and select the “Shopping” tab to see what this item would cost if you bought a new one. This will allow you to assign a replacement value to that item.
Step 2: Learn about ways to lower your renters insurance premiums
There are some things you can do before seeking renters insurance that may help to lower your renters insurance cost. While some of these things cannot be done until you’ve begun seeking quotes, we’ve listed this as step 2 so you make preparations before getting quotes.
- Does your home have smoke detectors and CO2 detectors? All rental units should have, at minimum, smoke detectors. If yours doesn’t, please request these from your rental’s management! When you ask for quotes, be sure the renters insurance company knows you have these detectors.
- Does your home have a security system? Things like detectors and alarms help decrease the risk for the insurance company and, therefore, usually result in lower premiums.
- How is your credit score? Many people do not realize that credit scores affect insurance premiums. If your credit is below a good level, look at a credit simulator to see what you can do to increase your score.
- What about Fido? Some renters insurance companies refuse coverage to owners of certain dog breeds. Whether we think it is fair or not, this decision is based on the insurance company’s assessment of risk. If you have a dog, check to see if your dog is on the list of breeds commonly rejected. If not, make a note to ask if pet liability is included in the coverage or not if you determine you need it.
- Do you have other insurance coverage like auto insurance? If so, consider letting the renters insurance company also quote your auto insurance if they offer bundle discounts.
- Do you smoke? Now is a good time to quit! Smoking can increase your renters insurance premiums significantly.
Step 3: Get multiple renters insurance quotes
Now it’s time to start shopping for the best renters insurance rates. Many companies that offer homeowners insurance also offer renters insurance, so looking at the cheapest homeowners insurance options is a great place to start.
Insurance shopping online gives you convenient access to many insurance companies. You might also ask your rental management if they can recommend an insurance company for renters insurance, or you can get recommendations from other renters. Don’t be afraid to consider non-traditional insurance options like Lemonade. This company offers enters insurance for as low as $5 a month, and Lemonade treats your premiums like a savings account for you.
You will be asked to provide the inventory list you created in step 1, or at least the total of it. You will also be asked for some basic personal information and authorization to pull your credit report.
When shopping, request quotes that will result in “apples to apples” comparisons. In other words, be sure each company is quoting the same levels of coverage, the same deductibles, and the same policy type.
For example, actual cash value policies are different from replacement value policies. Actual cash value policies factor in depreciation of your covered items, and that is what they will pay out if a claim is made. Replacement value policies do not consider depreciation and will cover full replacement cost of replacing the item today.
Getting the same options in your quotes will allow you to do an easy side-by-side comparison of the companies. Don’t forget to ask about discounts so that you can accurately see the price you’ll pay.
Reading the fine print is no fun, but when it comes to important matters such as renters insurance, don’t skip it. Read the fine print, and do not be embarrassed to ask questions to the insurance agent for clarification.
When you’ve made your decision on which renters insurance company you will select, it is important that you understand both the cost and the coverage. Discuss how your premiums will be paid (monthly, quarterly, or yearly) and whether you want to set up automatic payments. Keep a record and a backup record of your policy in the event you need to file a claim.
Congratulations on selecting an affordable renters insurance policy!