How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

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If the thought of another $100-plus monthly expense is keeping you from buying renters insurance, you should know a renters insurance policy isn’t likely to cost nearly that much.

The average cost of renters insurance in the U.S. was $188 a year, or just over $15 a month, in 2015 per data from a 2017 report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), ranging from a high of $262 to a low of $114.

Now that you know that the cost of renters insurance is closer to a car wash than a car payment, read on to learn more about how that number is determined:

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in Each State?

Given that your neighborhood and building type can influence your premiums, it stands to reason the cost of renters insurance varies dramatically across state lines. Keep in mind, though, pricing gets more granular than that, and the cost of renters insurance can also vary dramatically across any given state.

With that caveat in mind, here are the average annual renters insurance premiums in each one as of 2015, per the NAIC:

 

State Avg. Annual Premium
Alabama $242
Alaska $172
Arizona $191
Arkansas $214
California $202
Colorado $166
Connecticut $201
Delaware $156
District of Columbia $158
Florida $195
Georgia $226
Hawaii $201
Idaho $155
Illinois $173
Indiana $183
Iowa $146
Kansas $177
Kentucky $172
Louisiana $249
Maine $147
Maryland $161
Massachusetts $196
Michigan $203
Minnesota $144
Mississippi $262
Missouri $180
Montana $147
Nebraska $149
Nevada $189
New Hampshire $150
New Jersey $171
New Mexico $191
New York $202
North Carolina $154
North Dakota $114
Ohio $185
Oklahoma $242
Oregon $166
Pennsylvania $156
Rhode Island $179
South Carolina $192
South Dakota $121
Tennessee $210
Texas $241
Utah $149
Vermont $155
Virginia $153
Washington $169
West Virginia $186
Wisconsin $132
Wyoming $153
United States $188

The most expensive states for renters insurance

The unifying theme here: Extreme weather. Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and Alabama are coastal and susceptible to strong storms, while Oklahoma has a tornado problem.

  1. Mississippi: $262
  2. Louisiana: $249
  3. Alabama & Oklahoma (tie): $242
  4. Texas: $241
  5. Georgia: $226

The cheapest states for renters insurance

Conversely, the states with the cheapest renters insurance are much more insulated from extreme weather and natural disasters. Is it worth moving to cut your renters insurance rates? We’re gonna go with … no. But it’s good to know about state-by-state disparities if you’re planning a move so you can account for the cost difference in your budget, or just understand why cousin Beth in North Dakota is paying so much less to insure her apartment than you are.

  1. North Dakota: $114
  2. South Dakota: $121
  3. Wisconsin: $132
  4. Minnesota: $144
  5. Iowa: $146

What Determines the Cost of Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance provides protection for your belongings, plus some liability coverage for good measure. Renters insurance rates are determined by a few factors, some of which you can choose, and some of which you can’t.

Renters insurance cost factors that are set by your circumstances:

  • Your location: Renters insurance rates can vary widely by location (see the table below) and can even vary within cities and neighborhoods and property by property (older buildings tend to cost more, while newer buildings with more security and safety features can garner lower premiums).
  • Your credit score: Your credit score influences a lot of the rates you’ll get in your financial life, and renters insurance is among them. A good credit score is considered a sign of financial wellness and is a big factor in lowering your premiums.
  • How much stuff you have: Generally, the more value your home inventory has, the more it’ll cost to insure. We’re saying value because, while having a lot to insure generally costs more, the total price of your possessions is the real driver here. So a two-bedroom full of Ikea furniture may be valued less than a studio full of Eames.

Renters insurance cost factors that are set by your choices:

  • How much coverage you want: More coverage costs more money. If you’re willing to accept lower payouts in the event of a claim, then your premiums will be lower. And if you’re willing to gamble that your entire vintage guitar collection isn’t covered, then you’ll save some money upfront. But if you want higher coverage limits and additional riders for expensive items (and you probably do), expect your premiums to be higher than if you just had a thrift store bed and a beater guitar.
  • How high (or low) you want your deductible to be: That’s the amount of money you pay out of pocket before your coverage kicks in. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.
  • How you want to be paid in the event of a claim: Actual cash value renters insurance will pay you the value of belongings at the time of a claim, not the price you paid for them or the price it would cost to replace them. Replacement cost renters insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing the item at the time of the claim. Replacement cost renters insurance pays out a lot more if you need to file a claim, but it also costs more.

How Do Coverage Choices Affect Price?

Since your circumstances are generally set, it’s your choices about coverage that allow you to have some leeway over the rates you’ll get. Find out how your choices can change your premiums.

What does a basic renters insurance policy cost?

The average renters insurance policy costs between $120 and $190 a year. These basic policies generally offer $25,000 personal property coverage, $100,000 liability protection, and a $500 deductible, though those numbers are just ballpark figures and your particular insurance company’s basic coverage may be different.

Some examples of what a basic renters insurance policy will cover:

  • At least part of the replacement cost of a laptop that gets fried by a water damage from a burst pipe.
  • Some coverage for medical expenses if a friend gets hurt making a smoothie in your apartment — plus some court expenses if that friend decides to sue you.
  • Coverage for personal property that is stolen when you’re away from home.
  • If a covered event renders your apartment uninhabitable, your policy will also pay additional living expenses so you can stay in a hotel during repairs.

Check out our deep dive on what renters insurance does and doesn’t cover.

What is the cheapest renters insurance you can buy?

The cheapest renters insurance will have the least amount of coverage. If you opt for low coverage amounts for personal property (say, $10,000), personal liability ($100,000), and medical payments to others ($1,000) and you choose a high deductible ($500 to $2,500), you can conceivably get renters insurance for as little as $5 to $8 a month.

Learn more about how to buy cheap renters insurance online.

How much does more coverage cost?

As you up the coverage limits of your renters policy, you also up your premiums. But remember, renters insurance is super affordable, so even huge leaps in coverage can result in just a few more dollars a month.

For example, if you increase to the most common coverage amounts — $25,000 for personal property, $300,000 for personal liability, and $2,000 for medical payments to others — your premiums can still often be under $20 per month.

You can also purchase riders to increase your coverage for specific belongings, so if a basic policy only covers $1,000 worth of jewelry but you have a $5,000 ring, a rider could make up the coverage difference.

Riders are also available to add to your policy that cover you and your belongings in more situations. For example, renters insurance policies don’t cover earthquakes, but you can purchase a rider so that you will be covered in the event of a seismic disaster.

These additions can be as low as a few more dollars a month, or in some cases, even less than that.

Read more about popular renters insurance riders, floaters, and endorsements.

How can you save on renters insurance?

You can lower your insurance rate by increasing the number of safety and security features in your home. Many renters insurance companies offer discounts if you have one or more of the following features in your home:

  • Local fire/smoke alarms (sounds in home)
  • Central fire/smoke alarms (alerts monitoring system)
  • Automatic sprinklers
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Local burglar alarm (sounds in home)
  • Central burglar alarm (alerts monitoring system)
  • Deadbolt lock

Some companies also offer discounts if you bundle your renters insurance plan with another plan, like auto insurance, or if you pay your annual premium at once instead of monthly.

Finally, another huge way to save: increase your credit score. This one takes time, but as your score gets higher, you can get better renters insurance rates.


Colin Lalley is a writer for Policygenius, an online life insurance site with one purpose: “To get people the insurance coverage they need and make them feel good about it.”’ Please note that this editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you. 
This post originally appeared on Policygenius.

Paint Chips Aren’t the Only Toxic Hazard I Found While Apartment Hunting

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I‘m a single mom, so you might say I’m a little overprotective of my daughterwho isn’t?

My daughter and I are a dynamic duo. When it was time for us to pack up our stuff and journey across the city, my overprotectiveness made sure our new home was safe for the one thing in my life I couldn’t possibly live withoutmy little girl.

I also happen to live in New York City. And like many families here and other metropolitan areas, we’re your average apartment dwellers. Guess what? Especially here on the east coast, apartment buildings are often old, which set off my mom alarms when I was looking for a new place.

What I already knew to do was be vigilant about paint chips. But after a scare that led me to do more research, I found out there was so much more than lead paint to worry about. I want to share what I learned so other families can be safer when they move.

Asbestos

Have you heard of asbestos? I had heard of it before but never understood what it really was until I was told that the material was actually in my new apartment.

Through my ordeal with the removal process, I learned that this toxin is the only known cause of a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma. Wow! Getting cancer from the one place meant to keep you safe?

What happens with asbestos is this: when disturbed, the asbestos particles are released into the air and then unknowingly inhaled. Those particles get caught in the lining of vital organs. Consistent exposure can cause cancerwhich can form in the abdomen, lungs or even heart. Asbestos is tricky because you can’t identify it by sight with the untrained eyeyou actually need to pay someone to inspect your home. (Sometimes this can come with your home inspection, but you might need to ask for the actual test.)

Though when I say you need to, I mean just that. If your home or apartment building was built between 1930 and 1980, it may have asbestos in it. The initial cost may seem like a heavy burden now, but in the long run, will prevent an unnecessary battle with cancer. Get that stuff far, far away from your loved ones!

Radon

Radon detecting units being built underneath a house

So you’ve checked for asbestos. Now onto radon, another sneaky toxin. Radon is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as many as 8 million homes throughout the county have elevated radon levels. That is problematic because the gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon leaches from the soil and into the home where it can collect. There is the highest risk of elevated radon levels in the basements or lowest levels of buildings.

The only way to know if you have elevated radon levels is to test your home. There are two different forms of testing: short and long-term detectors. Short-term detectors measure radon levels for two to 90 days. The long-term tests determine the average radon concentration for more than 90 days. Long-term detectors are more accurate, as radon levels change constantly.

Mold

Mold … now that I’ve done the research, just thinking of this word gives me the willies. Mold is quite common, and for those with allergies or asthma, the presence of mold can be really disruptive to their lives. Yep, unfortunately, I am one of those people. (All my fellow allergy suffers please blow your nose in solidarity.) 

Unfortunately, mold does not discriminate against any homes or apartments—you lucky ones with brand spanking new homes may still fall prey to mold growth. Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to remove! 

Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than one cup of household laundry bleach in one gallon of water.

To prevent further mold growth, ensure that humidity levels in your space are low. An air conditioner or dehumidifier can help to dry that air out! Cleaning bathrooms with mold killing products will also ensure no little spores have time to flourish. Also, make sure to consider your vents. Keeping household vents open will allow for proper circulation to keep mold at bay.

Lead-Based Paint

Lastly, it’s still important to be on the lookout for lead-based paints. Bad paint was at the forefront of my mind with a little “ankle biter” in tow when I looked at prospective apartments.

Lead is particularly dangerous for kids because, if you weren’t aware, just about everything goes into their mouths, including paint chips. For kids, lead exposure can result in behavior and learning problems, slowed growth and lower IQ. Again, older homes and apartments have a higher incidence of lead paint—those built before 1940 have an 87 percent chance that they contain lead paint. If the lead paint is in good shape, there is little to no risk. but if the paint is chipping, peeling or cracking, it’s time to get it removed.

It’s important to have your homes inspected for lead-based paint. Don’t be shy about bringing it up to a landlord, even if you’re already moved in! A basic risk assessment will inform you about any lead-based paint present in the space and how to mitigate the risks.

As a young professional making my way on my own I was confident that I was smart enough to know what to look for when apartment hunting. It turns out I wasn’t smart enough without additional research. But hopefully, through the tips and tricks I’ve mentioned, you can be sure to save yourself from some headaches (and heartaches) and prevent you and your little bundles of joy from exposure to toxins.


Tonya is a single mother and blogger raising her daughter in NYC. She has a newfound passion for health after journeying into motherhood and hopes to share her knowledge with those around her. In addition to writing, she enjoys going to the park with her daughter and cozying up with a good book.

7 Things I Learned When Downsizing From a House in California to a Shoebox in NYC

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Full disclosure: I’m a child of the suburbs. I grew up in sprawling northern California, where trips to used bookstores and the mall are practically pastimes. There wasn’t much spatial constraint when it came to accumulating things. If I picked up a tchotchke, there would definitely be a place for it somewhere in my home.

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Movehack: How to Perfectly Wrap an Office Chair in Under 3 Minutes

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When you move, protecting your furniture is a huge part of the deal. And for most people who move, we’ve noticed the hardest piece of furniture to truly protect is none other than the common chair.

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Prioritize These Things for Your Rental, They’ll Be Following You to Your Future Home

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We often get questions from readers who are renters and they’re ready to upgrade their hand-me-down furniture pieces for “grown-up” ones. They’re usually hesitant to spend too much money out of fear that it won’t fit or go with the look of their next home.

While we don’t suggest that everyone go out and buy a ginormous sectional, there really are pieces you can buy now! Here are home decor items that you can (and should) invest in now, because they’ll most likely be able to find a place in your next pad. (more…)

5 Things to Ask Before You Move Into a City Apartment

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So you’re all set to move into your new downtown apartment! Congratulations! You’ve got your life loaded up and your old life is in the rear view mirror of a U-Haul. Nothing to do now but set up the new pad and get your new life in the city rolling!

Wait!

There’s more to moving into a new apartment building than just picking up your key and having your buddy hold the elevator. City buildings likely come with a whole list of rules and regulations for moving in, so whether you are moving by yourself or hiring movers to do it for you, it’s wise to contact your building manager ahead of time for the complete run-down. With that in mind, here’s a list of five questions that should top your moving day FAQ.

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A Look Back at the Moving Industry Trends We Saw Develop Last Year

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MyMovingReviews has published their findings for all of last year. Here are our thoughts.

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10 Tips: How to Get your Rental Deposit Back

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We’ve already chatted about ways to make your rental feel a little homier and comfier. But when it’s time to move, you’ve got a big task on your to-do list… get that rental deposit back! That means that those holes in the walls from your gallery wall need to be filled, and everything should be fresh & lookin’ good for your landlord.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips for how to get your rental deposit back, so you can pick up that big ol’ check when it’s time to move on out. (more…)

7 Temporary Decorating Tips for Renters

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We are big believers in the idea that you should make every place you live feel like home. Heck, that’s why we have an entire blog about personalizing your space. We don’t care if you’re in your “forever home” or if your lease ends in 6 months…you should take some time to create a home that reflects your style, personality, and interests.

But now you’re thinking, “I rent and my landlord won’t let me do anything to make my pad more cozy.” Well renters, it’s time to rejoice. Gone are the days of staring at blank white walls devoid of any personality. There are plenty of ways to transform your rental, and still get your deposit back when it’s time to move onto another place.

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(And when you’re ready to get that deposit back, don’t move without Moving 101)

 

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