If you’re currently paying rent, you need renters insurance. There is no way to get around this simple fact. Despite popular misconceptions, your landlord or landlady’s homeowners insurance does not cover your personal belongings in a disaster. If you cannot live in your home for a certain period, the property owner must give you a break on rent for that time. But your extra living expenses would be on you.

It may seem like you don’t own much or have serious liabilities. But the average cost of replacing your belongings after a loss quickly outpaces the cost of renters insurance.

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If you are renting an apartment, condo, townhouse or duplex, then you are in the position of not being in control of how the property you rent is being treated. Imagine your losses in an apartment fire. A neighbor can smoke in bed and set the place on fire and you could end up losing everything as a result. No matter how careful you are, you simply cannot control these situations.

In addition, no amount of control or preparation can stop a thief from entering your home. Buying renters insurance ensures that you can replace any items that the thief might take, in the event that a theft occurs.

Renters insurance also protects you from any legal action should someone get hurt while visiting your home; if you purchase the right type of coverage. No, you won’t be responsible for any accidents that might occur from something your landlord is responsible for, such as a damaged sidewalk. If someone trips on a toy or takes a tumble down your stairs, they could potentially sue you for damages. Renters insurance protects you from this liability.

How Much Does an Affordable Renters Insurance Policy Cost?

Cost is everything when it comes to many parts of life. A renters insurance policy is no exception. Assumed cost is the #1 reason many renters never even get a quote for the renters coverage they need.

What would happen if you got a free renters insurance quote? Renters insurance is very affordable. Depending on the state you live in, the average premiums are $200 a year or less. That’s less than $20 a month.

This covers basic renters insurance including an average of $10,000 in personal belongings replacement, extra living expenses if your home is uninhabitable, liability coverage, and much more. If you file a claim, your average rate will rise, and the first claim generally has the biggest impact. Even when you only account for the $10,000 minimum on most policies for personal belongings, a renters policy is a steal. If you have specific items that are particularly expensive, you can add on specialized coverage for an affordable price.

How Can You Find Renters Insurance Coverage That Meets Your Needs?

Renters insurance companies are diverse in their offerings. So you should always get multiple quotes to compare your options. The good news is the market has driven down the average cost no matter what state you live in. This is largely because they’re not expected to cover the building or structure you live in.

Keep reading to learn more about the two types of renters insurance available, which one you should choose, and how to save money on this important coverage.

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What Are Your Options in Renters Insurance Companies?

When you purchase renters insurance, you don’t have a whole lot of options to choose from. Basically, you are going to choose between actual cash value coverage or replacement cost coverage.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that actual cash value coverage is the better coverage. They think that the term actual cash value means that they are going to get all of the money they spend on an item back.

In actuality, actual cash value coverage only covers the depreciated value of the item in question, and insurance companies don’t depreciate items the way that you do. In fact, most insurance companies have a standard annual depreciation for all household items. In some cases, after one year, the depreciation could be as much as 50% with a depreciation rate of 5% for each year after. You can try to appeal the algorithm, but you’d waste a lot of time just on personal property coverage if you choose actual cash value. You pay less, but when you’re talking about $200 a year, are you really saving that much?

Many people who choose this option are shocked when they make a claim and only receive 10% to 20% of the total original value of an item that they purchased. While actual cash value coverage is truly only a few dollars a month, there is a reason for this; it doesn’t cover the cost of replacing your item.

Replacement cost coverage, on the other hand, covers the cost of replacing the lost item in your home. If you have a couch that will cost $1000 to replace, then you will receive $1000 in order to replace it.

Replacement cost coverage is usually limited, however, which is why it is such an affordable insurance. Some insurance companies have a cap on electronic items, such as computers and televisions, so it is important to understand your policy limits when you make a purchase.

In addition, neither actual cash value nor replacement cost coverage provide benefits for cash, bonds or gold you keep in your home. You will also find that rental insurance doesn’t cover furs, works of art, or priceless items. You will have to purchase different insurance for these types of items.

When you choose renters insurance, you determine how much the cap is on your insurance policy. The best way to do this is to inventory all of the items in your home. Include things like Christmas decorations, your bedside table lamp, books, clothing vacuum cleaner and more. Everything that you own, with the exception of the items mentioned above, should be listed on your inventory.

Once you have your inventory, you need to determine the cash value of replacing each of these items. To do this, you will need brand names, serial numbers, receipts if you have them* and any other pertinent information. Once you have the total value, add at least $5000 to that total and that is the amount of coverage that you should purchase.

*If you don’t have product receipts, a picture or video inventory will be sufficient for proving that you own what you claim.

Keep in mind that overestimating the value of your items will only increase the cost of your monthly premiums, if you make a claim the insurance company is going to do their own research to determine the value of each of your inventoried items.

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Choosing the Best Renters Insurance

If you were to speak to an insurance expert, they would tell you that the best insurance that you can purchase for your possessions is replacement cost coverage, and we agree. Replacement cost coverage is the only way to ensure that you can replace everything that you lose.

Think about it in these terms: If tomorrow a fire swept through your home, would you rather receive a check for $40,000 to replace the things that were lost or a check for $15,000. If you don’t choose replacement cost coverage, you could end up being unable to buy the things you need to make your home livable again.

Saving Money on Renters Insurance

As mentioned above, renters insurance is quite affordable; however, there are ways to save even more money. One way is to purchase your renters insurance from the same company you purchase your car insurance.

While having duel policies doesn’t necessarily mean that your insurance company will have the lowest rates, you should get a quote from them regardless so that you can compare them with other companies.

Speaking of comparisons, taking the time to do a quote comparison between companies will be the easiest way to save the most money. With our free quote tool, you can compare several companies to see who can offer you the best rate on your renters insurance.

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