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Apt renters insurance
10 Best Renters Insurance of 2019
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Renters insurance is a home insurance product designed specifically for renters. When disaster strikes, your landlord’s or property manager’s insurance policies will usually cover building repairs, but not your personal items. Having your own renters insurance could reimburse you, replacing possessions damaged by fire, flooding, or lost to theft and vandalism. Standard policies also include liability coverage, which pays for any damage or injuries others sustain while visiting your home, and coverage for additional living expenses if your home is destroyed in a disaster covered by your policy. You can also add protection from credit card or debit card theft, as well as from forged checks. Theft extension coverage can even protect some personal items stored away from the home, such as a boat, mobile home, or vehicle.
Although the vast majority of homeowners have insurance policies, somewhere between only 38% and 41% of renters have renters insurance. This may have something to do with the fact that homeowners insurance is always mandated by the bank that issues your mortgage, where renters insurance is usually not required by landlords. However, renters insurance is potentially useful to anyone renting any kind of dwelling. And considering the negligible monthly cost, it is surprising more tenant don’t avail themselves of it. Many renters erroneously believe they are covered under their landlord’s homeowners policy.
When evaluating different renters insurance policies, consider the scenarios they provide coverage for, if there are any discounts available, what riders or additional coverage plans they offer, and finally, the cost. Factors that will impact the cost of your premium include your location, the deductible amount, and whether you opt for replacement cost vs actual cash value. However, most policies are quite affordable, so cost shouldn’t be the top consideration on your list.
If you do decide to purchase renters insurance, a helpful tip is to make a thorough documentation of your personal property when you first get your policy, to facilitate the process should you ever have to file a claim. Also, beware of purchasing too little coverage. Overestimate how much your belongings are worth, or how much you’d likely have to pay out for an accident. Since policies are so inexpensive, more coverage could only result in a few dollars increase a month. Before making a final decision, we recommend you research at least three different companies and obtain an estimate from each.
Top 10 Companies
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Marketplace for multiple types of insurance
- Compares renters insurance online and via phone
- Awarded 2017 Fastest Growing Company by Inc. 5000
- Unbiased: no affiliation with any renters insurance company
- Rates start at less than $1 per day
- Flexible coverage limits and deductibles
- Wide range of insurance products that can be bundled
- Protects property inside and outside of the insured home
- Covers loss of use, personal liability and medical expenses
- Online quotes and 24/7 customer service
- Affordable, tailor-made renters insurance plans
- Coverage for contents, loss of use, liability, and medical payments to others
- Endorsements for valuables protection, personal electronics, bedbugs, and Airbnb
- Discounts on home and household, food and drink products, personal finance
- Answer a few questions to get a quote fast
- No agents and no paperwork
- Compares quotes for policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
- More than 20 insurance companies integrated into the quote search engine
- Over 2,000 agents on the SmartFinancial.com network
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Active social media presence
- Proprietary search engine technology for quotes
- Quick online quotes
- Online payment
- Mobile app
- Multiple discounts
- Large agent network
- Mobile app
- Instantly get a quote online
- Flexible pricing
- 24/7 assistance
- Holds an “A” (Excellent) FS rating with A.M. Best
- 8 Million+ active policies and $22 billion in assets
- Offers customizable renters insurance coverages
- Multiple discount options and add-on policies
- Get a quick quote online or over the phone
- “A” (Excellent) financial strength ratings
- B+ rated and accredited by the BBB
- Protect valuable items at home and on the go
- Discount options and add-ons available
- Round-the-clock online claims processing
- Solid reputation and 160+ years of industry experience
- 24/7 Claims reporting, both online and over the phone
- Personal property, liability & living expenses coverage
- Replacement cost & “valuable items plus” plan riders
- A convenient mobile app for IOS and Android operating systems
- Rated Aa1 by Moody’s and AA by Standard & Poor’s
- Instant online quote
- Policies start at $150/year
- Discount for renters and auto insurance bundles
- Additional coverages available for waterbeds and identity restoration
How We Compare Renters Insurance
A company’s financial strength gains particular importance with insurers, as their business model is predicated precisely on their overall ability to pay out claims. Renters insurance companies are no different. Factors to look at when evaluating an insurance company should include their experience, as demonstrated by their time in business. Though not necessarily a guarantee of their eventual ability to process and fulfill claims, an insurers’ long history demonstrates their track record of success. Finally, looking through a business’ ratings with financial services companies such as Standard & Poor’s or Moody’s can indicate their level of financial competence.
Standard & Poor’s Financial Rating
Standard & Poor’s is an American financial services company that publishes financial research and analysis on companies, stocks, bonds, and commodities. They are part of the Big Three credit ratings agencies, together with Moody’s and Fitch. They rate businesses from AAA to D, highest to lowest.
Moody’s Financial Rating
Another of the Big Three credit ratings agencies, Moody’s also rates debtor’s ability to repay debt, as well as their likelihood of default. Their rating system ranges from Aaa at the top of the spectrum, to C, the lowest quality.
AM Best Financial Rating
Renters insurance, also known as tenant’s insurance, is designed to protect you and your belongings in the case of damage from disasters such as fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, water, and other disasters, as specified in each policy. This part of the policy falls under personal property protection, but there are typically two other coverage areas as well: personal liability and additional living expenses. Personal liability provides coverage for repairs and medical bills, should you be found liable for a guest suffering injury to themselves or their property while at your home. It also takes care of paying for damage you and your immediate family members may cause to other’s property, for instance, your kid ruining your neighbor’s antique Persian rug. Liability limits tend to start at $100,000, but some experts recommend triple that amount. You can also purchase umbrella or excess liability coverage, to expand your coverage up to an average of $1 million.
If your home is damaged or rendered uninhabitable, some renters insurance policies also provide additional living expenses, which covers incurred costs, such as hotel bills. This generally works by paying the difference between your normal cost of living and additional expenses.
In order to decide the amount of coverage you need, it’s a good idea to get a ballpark figure for the monetary value of all your personal possessions, from high-cost items such as major appliances and electronics, to small things such as bed linens and kitchen utensils. The simplest way to do this, though time-consuming and painstaking, is to make an up-to-date inventory of all your personal possessions, which will also be helpful for filing and processing insurance claims. Ideally, you should get enough coverage that you might theoretically be able to replace all of your belongings in the event of a disaster.
Lastly, it’s also important to fully understand the limits of your policy, not only in terms of how much money it will actually reimburse, but also in that these generally don’t cover structural damage to the rental property (which is covered under the homeowner’s insurance policy). Most insurers offer two types of policies: actual cash value, which pays to replace your possessions minus their depreciation; or replacement cost, which doesn’t deduct for depreciation. Though the latter can cost up to 10% more than cash value, replacement cost coverage can prove well worth the additional investment.
- Personal Liability: protects policy holders from paying for another individual’s medical bills and/or damage to another individual’s property
- Personal Property: covers the policy holder’s property if it is stolen or damaged by covered events
- Loss of Use / Additional Living Expenses : covers the cost of additional costs and living expenses if the property becomes unlivable as a result of covered events
It’s important to note that some insurers also offer optional policy riders, such as:
- Scheduled Coverage: this is an optional increase in coverage provided on specified items; such as high-cost possessions like jewelry and art, which may not be fully covered by the basic policy
- Identity Theft Restoration: covers costs associated with identity theft, including legal fees and lost wages
- Off-Premises Event Coverage: extends coverage while the policy holder is away from their property, for instance, while staying at a hotel
Pricing & Discounts
The average cost of renters insurance premiums in the U.S. (2017) is $187 per year, or less than $16 a month. However, this number can vary significantly depending on where you live, and the frequency and intensity level of the disasters you may be subject to, reaching as much as $244 in Mississippi and as little as $115 in North Dakota. In any case, of an approximate 43 million households being rented in the United States, only 38%-41% currently have renters insurance. This number is growing, though, as people realize that they can obtain a significant amount of coverage for a relatively low investment.
When comparing the costs of different policies, the first thing to evaluate is the coverage limits, which can range between $5,000 and $500,000 for your basic personal possession coverage. This generally won’t include novel or valuable items, such as jewelry or vintage vinyl collections, which must be insured under a separate policy rider. As we discussed under coverage, insurers either pay the full replacement cost, or their actual cost value, which deducts each item’s depreciation.
There are many ways to save money on your policy. The most common is choosing a higher deductible, which can reduce your monthly payments by as much as twenty-five percent. There are usually also a number of discounts available, the most common of which include:
- Claims-Free History – Policyholders who haven’t used their insurance within a specific period are eligible to get a claim free discount when renewing their contracts
- Multi-Policy – Bundling renters insurance with a company’s other policies, such as auto or business insurance, can also get you discounts
- Additional Discounts – Some insurers offer discounts for safety systems like deadbolts, alarms, and smoke detectors. Others also knock down prices depending on your age and whether you smoke
Some common property-level discounts are for sprinklers, fire protection, security systems, lobby staff or building security, and other anti-theft measures.
Policy-level discounts can include reductions for senior citizens, bundled policies with the same company, automatic payment options, and claims-free history.
Customers only use insurance when filing a claim, usually after a devastating event. In such cases, the quality of an insurer’s customer service truly comes into play. It’s essential that the company be easy to contact, supplying multiple ways of doing so. Options can include via email, online claims filing, live online chat with agents, and 24-hour call centers. Likewise, we consider it important that companies provide educational resources, assisting their potential and current customers to better understand their policies. Good resources such as coverage calculators, instant quotes, articles, and FAQ’s can be invaluable.
Finally, gaining an appreciation for customers’ real-life experiences with a company can give a good idea of things to look out for and which questions to ask. Independent customer review websites, such as the Better Business Bureau and TrustPilot, are good starting points for this. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (or NAIC), also collects data on businesses, offering a handy complaint ratio which allows potential customers to see how their insurer of choice’s complaint ratio compares to the industry at large.
The Better Business Bureau has been setting high ethical standards for businesses for more than 100 years. Millions of people depend on their rating systems to identify trustworthy companies, by virtue of the BBB’s continued commitment to fostering honest relationships between businesses and customers.
TrustPilot is an online review community, in which consumers share their experiences with services and products. Apart from the fact that getting real-life feedback from people who’ve used a product can be very helpful when choosing between companies, TrustPilot also provides a score, which gives a measure of average overall satisfaction.
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