Get renters insurance discounts with these apartment safety upgrades

Colin Lalley 1600


Colin Lalley

Colin Lalley

Insurance Expert

Colin Lalley is the Associate Director of SEO Content at Policygenius in New York City. His writing on insurance and personal finance has appeared on Betterment, Inc, Credit Sesame, and the Council for Disability Awareness.

Published April 18, 2017|5 min read

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Renters insurance is already really affordable. Protect almost all of your possessions, no matter where they are in the world, for under $15 a month? That’s less than you’d pay for a share of Snap, Inc.— plus, there’s no chance of Facebook copying your insurance policy and running its value into the ground.But there are ways to make your renters insurance even more affordable. Preventative maintenance can pay off with other types of insurance – you may get benefits from your health insurer for taking part in wellness programs, and car insurance companies will provide safe driving discounts – and renters insurance is no different. The more you do to protect your possessions on your own, the cheaper it’ll be for the insurance company to protect them, too.Here are easy safety upgrades you can make to your apartment to lower your renters insurance rates.

Upgrade your security

In 2015, there were nearly eight million property crime offenses in the United States, including burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Burglary victims lost an estimated $3.6 billion in property – an average of over $2,300 a person.With those dollar values, it’s no surprise that helping ensure that your stuff isn’t stolen can do wonders for your life insurance rates.An easy win for upgrading your security is adding or replacing locks and deadbolts. Especially if you’re in an older building, your locks and doors may not be in the best shape. A stronger lock can help prevent break-ins. Or, even better, make sure you have a deadbolt installed on any doors leading to the outside world; most burglars enter residencies by forcing open windows and doors, and fewer than 10% actually pick a lock, so a deadbolt is a surefire way to deter crooks.Another safety precaution you might not have thought of? Replacing door hinges! Weak hinges can make forced entry easier, so replacing them with new ones can improve your security.If you want to go a little more high-tech when it comes to savings, consider an alarm system. If you’re in an apartment building it’s unlikely you’ll be able to wire up your own security system, but there are a lot of wireless and app-based alternatives.Window alarms like Dobermans stick to your window and sense vibrations to sound an alarm at a potential break-in. You can get a two pack for under $20.

If you want something a little more thorough, a Blink motion detection security camera can connect to your Amazon Echo, and a Canary security system can provide indoor and outdoor protection. Plus, Canary’s membership program will reimburse your renters insurance deductible up to $1,000.If all else fails, just buy a sticker or decal of an alarm company and stick it on your door or window. Sixty percent of burglars say that the presence of an alarm makes them rethink their choice of target, so a fake alarm can still be a deterrent.One thing that probably won’t help you: getting a guard dog. In fact, it might raise your costs; not all pet damage is covered by renters insurance, and some breeds of dogs can make it impossible to get a policy at all. It’s better to rely on a strong lock than a dog to help protect your things.

Upgrade your fire prevention systems

Besides protecting against losses from theft, renters insurance also protects against losses from damage like water and fire. In 2015, approximately 95,000 fires accounted for $1.16 billion in property damage. You can lower your rates by making sure that you’re on top of your fire prevention game.Homes with smoking residents are at a higher risk of suffering from a fire, so you can save on your renters insurance by not smoking. That can also help you in other ways, like lowering healthcare costs and getting you more affordable life insurance rates, so it’s really a win-win-win if you drop the habit.It’s also common for renters insurance companies to offer discounts for having smoke detectors installed. Your building likely already have some smoke detectors in place (it’s probably legally required), but if not – or if you just don’t trust them – you can buy your own for cheap.

Upgrade your apartment (to a new one)

Okay, this one is a little easier said than done, since picking up your life and moving to a new apartment just to save on renters insurance is a bit much. But if it’s time to move anyway, keep in mind how a new location can affect your renters insurance rates.First, there’s the building itself. An older or unkempt building that has electrical or plumbing problems can result in higher rates. A newer residence that’s better maintained and already has all of the upgrades we’ve been discussing in place – without you having to put in the extra effort – can lower your renters insurance rates.Then there’s where the building itself is. If you’re in a low-crime area near a fire station, that will be taken into account when setting your rates, too.

Upgrade your policy

Can’t upgrade your apartment but still want to save? Try upgrading your policy instead by bundling it with existing insurance policies.Insurers are competing for your business, and many will do so by providing discounts if you have more than one line of insurance with them. For instance, if you have Progressive auto insurance, you can bundle it with a renters or homeowners insurance policy to save.If you’re getting a new policy or it’s time to renew an existing policy, see if you can bundle it with a company that you have another insurance type with as a low-effort way to save a few bucks every month. It’ll add up quickly.The exact renters insurance discount you’ll get from making safety upgrades to your apartment depends on the policy and company, but be sure to ask what you might be eligible for. If and when you make any changes, it’s as easy as getting in contact with your agent or renters insurance company to see what discounts can be applied to your policy.Renters insurance is something that you should have for as long as you rent, and even a few dollars here and there means a lot over the years. The worst case scenario is that your apartment is that much safer.