If you rent an apartment, you’re spared the added expense of homeowners’ insurance. But even if you don’t own a house, it’s still a good idea to protect your personal property. Your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance may not cover your possessions, which means you need renters insurance.
Whether you’re a college student, a professional living in the city, or a senior who recently moved to an apartment, renters insurance gives you security. Finding the best renters insurance ensures your personal property is covered in case of theft or damage.
Why do you need renters insurance?
Renters insurance can protect you financially after a disaster. When you purchase renters insurance, you’re covered if your property gets damaged or stolen from your home. You’ll get compensation to replace your damaged belongings if they are ruined in a fire, damaged by water (except in the case of a flood), stolen, or vandalized.
Renters insurance can also protect you from a lawsuit if someone gets injured in your home. It will cover the injured person’s medical costs, which means you don’t have to pay those fees out of pocket. It can help minimize the chances of a lawsuit. If you are sued, your insurance policy should cover your legal fees and any pay-outs to the person.
Renters insurance is usually cheaper than homeowner’s insurance, and some landlords require you to carry it. However, the cost of your premium depends on the coverage levels you select, your deductible, and any discounts on your policy.
The deductible represents the amount you’ll have to pay if you make a claim before your insurance covers the balance.
What does renters insurance cover?
Renters insurance covers most incidents that involve loss or damage to your personal property. Many insurance companies even cover your possessions while you’re traveling. That means if your laptop gets stolen from your hotel room during vacation, your belongings are covered.
Typically, renters insurance covers your property from the following hazards:
- Vehicle or aircraft damage
- Fire or smoke
- Volcanic eruption
- Theft or vandalism
- Falling objects
- Excessive weight from snow, ice, or similar elements
- Storms, including hail or wind
- Water damage from indoor sources
Typically, insurance companies don’t cover loss or damage related to floods or earthquakes—at least not with their standard policies. To get these types of coverage, you may have to pay for add-ons.
Types of Coverage on Your Renters Insurance Policy
A typical renters insurance policy typically covers four contingencies.
- Personal Property: Protects your possessions, including clothing, furniture, electronics and home appliances. The coverage applies wherever you go, except if you have items stored outside your home, such as in a storage unit. Some jewelry, fine art, or collectibles may not be covered. You can purchase a rider for these items.
- Liability: If anyone gets hurt in your home, whether they live there or not, liability coverage can save you from paying expenses like medical bills or legal fees.
- Medical Payments to Others: If someone who doesn’t live with you gets injured in your home, this coverage takes care of their medical expenses. However, it only covers people who live outside your home, those who live with you.
- Additional Living Expenses: If you have to temporarily leave your home due to damage, additional living expense coverage helps you pay for a hotel, food, and other costs.
What factors affect renters insurance premiums?
Insurance companies call the total price you pay for insurance your “premium.” Premiums vary based on your coverage levels, the area where you live, and several other factors.
Even within the same apartment building, you and your neighbor may have different coverage needs, and their policy and premiums will look different from yours.
These are just a few of the factors that can affect your rates:
- Location: If you live in a neighborhood with frequent break-ins or an area prone to hurricanes, insurance companies may consider your home a high risk.
- Deductible: Your deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket before the insurance covers you. A lower deductible usually means a higher premium and vice versa.
- Coverage: The more coverage you need, the higher your premium will be. For instance, someone insuring $10,000 worth of belongings will pay less than someone covering $25,000 worth of items.
- Bundles and Discounts: Many insurance companies offer discounts or lower rates if you bundle your policies. For example, you may be able to bundle renters insurance and auto insurance.
- Credit History: A high credit score implies you’re more likely to pay your premiums reliably and you might pay less for insurance.
- Building Size: A larger building or unit may mean you pay more for your coverage, as there are more items in your space. On the other hand, if you live in a tiny studio apartment, you probably don’t have as much stuff to cover.
- Security Alarms, Fire Alarms, Sprinkler Systems: If your insurance provider sees that your belongings are well-protected in your home, you may pay less, as you are a lower risk.
What makes the best renters Insurance?
When searching for the best renters insurance provider, consider what they offer and how it affects you. Consider these components if you want to get the best renters insurance:
- Coverage Options: You want a company that allows you to expand your coverage if you make an expensive purchase. You may want the option to add riders for jewelry or collections.
- Price and Payment Options: The cheapest insurance may not give you the coverage you need. Also consider how the company accepts payment. Some will allow you to pay monthly while others want an annual payment.
- Company Reputation: Before you purchase insurance, check company reviews, as well as their rating with the Better Business Bureau. You may also want to review A.M. Best ratings, which show how financially secure the insurance company is. A company’s A.M. Best rating may indicate its ability to have the cash to pay out claims.
- Service: Does the insurance company provide an easy-to-use app to make claims? Does it offer 24/7 service? Can you get a quote online? Is it possible to reach an agent by phone? Choose a company that communicates in the way you are most comfortable and provides the level of service you expect.
Top 3 Renters Insurance Companies of 2022
Allstate consistently ranks highly with customers, as exemplified by the company’s A+ ranking with the Better Business Bureau.
They offer renters insurance coverage that includes:
- Personal property
- Identity restoration
- Reimbursed living expenses
In addition, Allstate offers plenty of options for bundles and discounts, like:
- Safe home
- 55 and retired
As one of the top renters insurance companies nationwide, Allstate gives you as many options as possible to make your policy work for you. However, when it comes to the claims process, some people had excellent experiences, while others found it confusing. Fortunately, because Allstate sells through local reps, you can usually get someone on the phone during business hours to help you out.
Amica also boasts an A+ rating with the BBB. That’s because, after 100 years in business, they make renters insurance affordable while giving you some of the best claims service available.
Amica’s standard renters insurance policy includes:
- Personal property coverage
- Liability coverage
- Loss of use coverage
However, your options extend even further. You can get add-ons like identity theft, smart devices and electronics protection, and personal property replacement. With a “replacement value” policy, you’ll be paid full reimbursement value for your belongings so you can buy new ones. If you don’t have replacement value, you’ll only be paid what your items are worth at the time of loss.
Amica also gives you discounts for auto-pay and customer loyalty, along with the standard multi-policy and claim-free discounts.
Erie Insurance is widely acknowledged as one of the best renters insurance companies in the country, as evidenced by its A+ rating with the BBB. JD Power and Associates also gave them the title of top renters insurance company of 2019.
Erie’s standard renters insurance coverage includes:
- Personal property
- Guest medical
With Erie, you can bundle your renters insurance policy with auto insurance for savings. Erie also offers discounts based on your home’s security. You also don’t have to worry about your premium increasing, as they let you lock it in when you buy.
Erie has some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any insurance company, and few people have complained about their customer service or claims process. The only downside to Erie has nothing to do with their service—it’s that they’re only available in 12 states and Washington, D.C.
With rates ranging from $5 to $25 a month or so, renters insurance can provide peace of mind that your valuables will be covered in the event of a fire, theft, or storm damage in your apartment.
While your landlord’s insurance policy will cover repairs to the home, your renters insurance will cover your belongings and pay for a place to stay while your apartment is being repaired.
Rates, coverage, and service vary amongst renters insurance companies, so shop around to find the best renters insurance to meet your needs.