Before buying a renters insurance policy, you should take a home inventory to determine how much coverage you need. You also need to consider how much liability coverage and loss-of-use coverage you want to buy
You should compare quotes from different insurance companies. You can do this online, over the phone, or in person
When shopping for a renters policy, you should look to see what perils are covered, and if it is a replacement cost or actual cost value policy
Insurance companies will offer you discounts on your renters policy for various reasons, like taking safety precautions in your home or paying your premiums in full
Renters insurance is one of the most affordable insurance products you can buy, and one of the easiest to shop for. A landlord might require their tenants to buy a renters policy, but there are a lot of other reasons to get renters insurance regardless of whether or not your landlord requires it.
Renters insurance provides you with financial protection in case your belongings are destroyed or stolen, or when a guest gets injured in your home and you’re liable for his or her medical bills. It will also pay for you to stay elsewhere if your home becomes uninhabitable. Renters insurance may be cheap but it can save you thousands of dollars if disaster strikes.
And not only is renters insurance affordable for almost any budget, it’s also very easy and convenient to get. Unlike other forms of insurance, such as life insurance or disability insurance, you’ll almost always be eligible to get coverage regardless of your age. You can also get renters insurance entirely without speaking to anyone else if you’d prefer that: Some insurers automate the whole process through an app or website.
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Before buying renters insurance you should take an inventory of your personal property. Renters insurance personal property coverage will pay to replace or repair your belongings if they are damaged by a covered peril, like a fire or a burst pipe. It’s important to take an inventory of how much your personal property costs so you know how valuable your belongings are and how much coverage you need to buy.
For example, if you have roughly $20,000 worth of personal property – TV, laptop, coin collection, couch, clothing and so on – you should get a renters insurance policy with a personal property coverage limit of $20,000 or more. Anything less and you risk being unable to replace your things.
When taking a home inventory, you don’t have to write down every single thing you own, but you should aim for a rough estimate of the contents of each room, and consider recording the specific value of any big ticket items. There are a few ways you can do this.
There are free home inventory apps out there, along with other services that make cataloging your personal property easier. When you file a renters insurance claim, these records will be used to confirm that you actually owned your things as well as the condition they were in prior to the loss.
Make special note of any difficult to replace or expensive items like art, collectibles or jewelry. Many policies, if they cover these things at all, have lower coverage sublimits for expensive items that may not match up to what they're actually worth. Because of this you may want to buy additional coverage in the form of a renters insurance endorsement.
Once you know the approximate value of your personal property, it’s time to start shopping for renters insurance. Renters insurance contains three different types of coverages.
For each category of your renters policy, you’ll choose the coverage amount you want. Here are typical coverage amounts for a standard renters insurance policy:
|Type of coverage||Coverage amounts and ranges|
|Personal property||$15,000 - $500,000|
|Liability and medical expenses||$100,000 or $300,000 or $500,000|
|Loss-of-use and additional living expenses||$3,000 - $5,000 or 40% of your personal property limit|
When you start shopping for renters insurance, you should compare quotes from several different insurance companies. You can do this on your own, or an independent agent can help you get multiple quotes and compare coverage options.
You should find a policy that not only meets your coverage needs, but also fits easily into your budget. In terms of renters insurance rates, what you’re aiming for is a low premium, the amount you’ll pay to keep your policy in force.
However, besides premium price, there are a few other significant factors you need to keep in mind when purchasing a renters policy.
Once you know how much coverage you need, what you can afford, and how much you want your deductible to be, you can get a quote from the renters insurance company. Quotes are an estimate of how much your premiums will be once the carrier calculates exactly what it will cost to insure you. The Insurance Information Institute recommends comparing at least three different insurance companies before buying a policy.
You can compare quotes by:
Your renters insurance policy will contain all the information you need about your coverage. But these policies are full of legalese and, although usually very thorough and clearly written, are kind of a slog to read through.
Here are some significant factors to look for in your policy:
There are a few things you can do to get lower premiums. One way is to bundle your renters policy with another insurance product from the same company, like an auto insurance policy, which could save you money on both policies. An insurance company may also give a discount if you’ve been claims-free for the past few years. Here are some other ways to lower your renters insurance premium.
About the author
Kara McGinley is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius. She previously worked as a freelance writer and a copywriter for various startups. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, Mask Magazine, 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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