How Often Should You Shop Around for Renters Insurance?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it 100 times: Renters insurance is one of the most important things to have while you’re renting an apartment, condo, or home. Many renters often think that the items they own — be it a sofa, computer, or fancy espresso maker — aren’t worth insuring. But what would you do if your building caught fire or was damaged in an earthquake?
While your landlord likely already holds his or her own insurance policy, this won’t cover your personal belongings in case of damage or theft. You’ll probably want financial help as you build back your life — and that’s where renters insurance kicks in.
Unlike other insurance policies (like homeowners insurance, car insurance, or life insurance), renters insurance isn’t actually that expensive. Which is a good thing, considering that many properties require you to provide proof that you have renters insurance in order to sign a lease. So with that in mind, it’s a good idea to keep track of the going rates and to browse different companies in order to get the best deal.
In this article, we’ll review how often you should shop for coverage, what you need to consider when purchasing renters insurance, and where to buy it.
How Often Should You Shop Around for Renters Insurance?
Shopping around annually can help you find the best rates, so consider looking for a new policy around your renewal date. Besides this “annual audit,” you should also shop around if you have a major life change — which, in the case of renters insurance, is usually a move. In the event you move to a new place, you’ll need to notify your provider of your change of address and let them know if there are any new safety features or changes in the type of property you’re now renting.
Remember: some moves may require an entirely new policy! Your new landlord may want a higher level of coverage, for example. If that’s the case, we recommend shopping around to make sure you’re getting the right level of coverage at the most affordable price point.
While insurance prices are regulated, they can rise (or drop) depending on other factors (like changes made by the state department of insurance) — which is why you should still shop around regularly to make sure you’re getting the best rates.
What to Look For in a Renters Insurance Policy
If you think your renters policy only covers the cost of damages incurred to your personal property, well, think again! Renters insurance punches way above its weight. (Did you know, for example, that it can sometimes cover not just your possessions, but those of your family or roommates?) And if you know exactly what your renters insurance covers, you’ll know how to avoid paying higher premiums when you shop for a new policy.
Renters insurance protects your personal items, such as furniture, jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, and most other assets you have in your home. While renters insurance also protects you against damages incurred from extreme events like fire, explosion, theft, windstorm, riots, vandalism, and water damage, keep in mind that renters coverage never provides earthquake or flood insurance coverage. Also, personal property coverage is subject to deductibles.
Your rates will be decided by your assets: The more expensive your things are, the higher you can expect your premiums to be. Which makes sense, given that you need to pay more to insure more expensive items (and to get paid out if they get damaged or stolen). Bear in mind that setting a higher deductible can reduce your premium significantly, but could also mean that you need to pay more out-of-pocket for minor losses.
Your renters coverage will cover the expenses and any medical fees if someone sues you for property damage or bodily injury caused by your negligence. Should you need a lawyer, the policy will also cover your legal fees. For example, you can file a claim for liability insurance coverage if water leaks from your rental property and damages your neighbor's apartment.
To make sure your liability limits and coverage benefits are sufficient, we recommend comparing multiple policies from different insurance providers.
Loss of Use
Also known as temporary housing coverage, loss of use coverage will cover additional living expenses if your property becomes inhabitable for any of the reasons covered by the policy. So if, for example, your roof is damaged in a windstorm and you have to live somewhere else while it’s being repaired, your insurance will pay the expenses.
When buying a renters insurance coverage, make sure your new policy covers damages caused by water leaks, windstorms, and extreme weather conditions so that you can make a claim in the event of a loss.
Guest Medical Payments
If any kind of damage to your property results in a visitor to your rental getting hurt, your renters insurance also covers medical payments. As long as the accident occurs within your rental property, rental insurance will cover all medical bills, even if you (the policyholder) are not involved in the accident. But be forewarned: You must have proper evidence proving the injury happened in your rental unit.
As we walked through above, renters insurance should cover personal property, loss of use, personal liability, and medical payments. This will give you sufficient protection by ensuring that you are not entirely on the hook financially in case anything bad happens to (or in!) your rental property.
So do your research! Because having quality coverage brings peace of mind. To stay organized and make sure everything is covered, consider creating an inventory of your stuff. We also recommend collecting receipts for big ticket items, cataloging serial numbers for your electronics, and taking pictures of your belongings to determine their overall value. Going through this exercise will help you understand the cost of your assets and then determine which type of policy and what coverage limit best fits your needs.
How You'll Be Paid Out
When it comes to how you’re paid out, you’ll want to have a think as to whether you want to go with replacement cost coverage or the actual cash value. Replacement cost coverage reimburses you for the expense of replacing or repairing your possessions. If your TV is destroyed in a freak power surge, for example, your insurer will replace the unit with a brand new one under the replacement coverage plan.
Actual cash value (ACV), on the other hand, takes into consideration depreciation costs when calculating what a belonging is worth. These plans are usually cheaper, but getting one may mean that, in the wake of the aforementioned freak power surge, you can’t necessarily buy a new replacement for that damaged TV. Since you only received its cash value at the time the damage occurred, you may or may not have the funds to cover a new replacement.
Where to Shop for Renters Insurance
When you’re ready to shop for a new renters insurance policy, you should get quotes from at least three different insurance companies. That way you have a better sense of market rates, not to mention the level of coverage you can get for your money.
Comparing terms, coverage levels, and prices can be a challenging task when looking at each insurance provider individually. So check out Marble’s comparison tool, which can help you compare rates and shop for the best renters policy all from one convenient app.
Easily Switch Renters Insurance Policies with Marble
When the time comes to switch to a new renters insurance provider, Marble is here to make any and all quote comparison easy breezy. Using Marble’s comparison calculator, you can quickly compare policies from different renters insurance providers to find renters insurance with coverage limits that make sense for your needs. Just enter your information in the app and get all the quotes you could need to make the right decision for you.
Sign up for Marble today and manage all your policies from one single platform — and even earn rewards on your insurance, too!