How to get your belongings — and yourself — covered in the city that never sleeps.
Whether you rent brownstone in Harlem, a living room in the East Village, a one-bed in Kips Bay, or a classic six on the Upper East Side, you need renters insurance.
Smart New Yorkers make sure they are protected by buying renters insurance, an affordable insurance plan that will replace your belongings in case of theft, fire, or one of several other covered perils; pay liability and medical payments in case you accidentally hurt someone (who hasn’t wondered what would happen if their A/C fell out the window…); and would pay for a few weeks in a hotel if your building burned down.
|Insurance Company||Monthly Cost - $500 Deductible||Monthly Cost - $1,000 Deductible|
Methodology: We pulled renters insurance quotes online from five of the most popular insurance companies: State Farm, Lemonade, Allstate, Travelers and Stillwater. Quotes were for policies with $500 and $1,000 deductibles for a 30-year-old male apartment renter. We deferred to the most comparable coverage amounts when identical policies were unavailable.
|Loss of Use||N/A||No Max||$9,000||$8,000||$6,000|
|Medical payments to others||$1,000||$1,000||$1,000||$2,000||$1,000|
Renters insurance provides renters with four types of coverage, including:
Each of these types of coverage comes with its own coverage levels. Loss of use and medical payments to others are usually set by the insurance company, but property coverage and liability coverage are variable and can be chosen and adjusted by you. The more coverage you have, the more expensive your plan will be.
Read more about what renters insurance covers.
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Sometimes New Yorkers are surprised when their landlords stipulate that they have to have renters insurance. Is it legal for your landlord to require renters insurance in NYC? It sure is. The law allows landlords to require renters insurance, but you should know that the law itself doesn’t require you to have renters insurance. Don’t want to buy it? Just find a building that doesn’t require it.
There are two reasons landlords may require you to have renters insurance:
If you damage the building through negligence — say you accidentally leave a candle and it burns your apartment — your landlord will want the option to collect from your liability coverage. (His own insurance will cover damage to the building, but there he may have a high deductible, and that’s what he’ll look to your renters insurance company to pay.)
If your building does burn down, the landlord wants you to have coverage to stay somewhere until it gets repaired — this is where your renters insurance coverage for loss of use/additional living expenses comes in. His insurance won’t pay for your expenses, and by requiring you to have your own policy, he ensures that you won’t try to get him to.
Renters insurance is a smart move no matter what city you’re renting in, but it’s especially smart in New York City. New York City has the highest population density of any city in the U.S., and with two-thirds of the city’s dwelling units renter-occupied, there are huge numbers of New Yorkers in need of protection. 1
Crime rates are at a record low in NYC, but there are still reasons to protect yourself. In 2016, NYC residents experienced nearly 13,000 burglaries and over 44,000 thefts, according to the NYPD. 2 The property crime rates in New York exceed national rates.
New York weather runs the full gamut of the seasons. July is the hottest month on average, with highs averaging 85 degrees, and January is the coldest, at 35 degrees. The city can also experience extreme weather, including hurricanes and big winter storms.
For renters, that means burst pipes can be an issue, plus damage from heavy winds, and in some cases, flooding. Renters insurance doesn’t cover floods, so if you’re renting and worried about floods, you may be interested in flood insurance for renters.
New York City tenants looking for more resources on renting, renters insurance, and their rights should visit the following:
New York Housing Preservation and Development Info about city regulations straight from the source.
Metropolitan Council on Housing Non-profit organization working towards housing justice in NYC.
New York Legal Assistant Group Tenant’s Rights Unit Legal assistance for low-income renters.
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest Fact sheet on housing rights for people with disabilities in NYC.
About the author
Logan Sachon is the co-founder of The Billfold, a groundbreaking personal finance site for millennials that was named one of Time's 25 Best Blogs of 2012. Her work has been published in New York Magazine, Glamour, The Guardian, BuzzFeed and more.
Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.
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