Renters Insurance isn't terribly expensive. In some cases, you can get it for about $200 a year, or $16 a month — about the same cost as a streaming cable subscription.
Even so, a survey from the Insurance Information Institute revealed that 60 percent of renters haven't purchased renters insurance even though it helps recoup costs associated with the following losses:
- Stolen or damaged electronics or appliances
- In the event a fire makes the home uninhabitable, you may be covered for a temporary place to stay (such as a hotel)
- Medical bills or legal fees resulting from injuries that happened on the property
If cost is a big factor for you, there are a few tricks to try and get cheap renters insurance. Sometimes, knowing what to ask can score you some discounts. Here are 10 hacks to save money on your renters insurance.
1. Bundle your insurance
Signing up for your car insurance, plus renters insurance, often referred to as a bundle, may save you money. For example, Geico and Allstate offer a multi-policy discount that does exactly this. You should also check out Amica, Liberty Mutual, Farmers, USAA and Esurance.
2. Install smoke detectors
You could potentially get a discount by letting your insurance provider know that you have smoke detectors or alarms in your unit and around the building. If you've recently upgraded to a better device, you should also let the insurance provider know.
Talk to your landlord to see if it's possible to install smoke detectors around the building.
3. Get a security system
There are a number of inexpensive home alarm systems made just for renters. For example, Frontpoint offers a 1- and 3-year contract for about $35 a month, while Protect America has packages starting at $19.99 a month.
There are also security options that don't require a subscription (but you would forgo 24/7 security monitoring). Instead, you'd just pay for the camera and connect it to your smartphone. Make sure you get permission from your landlord to do this.
The “smart" or connected systems come with surveillance cameras and sensors. Installation can also be done on your own and you can access the footage on your smartphone. You can also use Amazon Alexa for some basic home security.
If you happen to live in a building with security staff or one that already has an alarm system, it could qualify you for a discount. Some insurance companies like Allstate may offer up to a 15 percent discount.
4. Get a higher deductible
Raising your deductible (which is the amount you need to pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in) means you may be able to effectively lower your premium. A $1,000 deductible can reduce your premiums by up to 25 percent.
However, having a high deductible doesn't make sense if you don't actually have the cash to pay for it. Make sure you have the cash on hand in your savings account or emergency fund in the event you need to use it.
5. Set up automatic payments
This option isn't universally available, but your provider may offer discounts if you choose to make automatic payments each month. For example, setting up autopay at Allstate can give you a 5 percent discount.
6. Leverage your excellent credit score
Depending on what state you live in, your excellent credit score could score you a lower rate. In many states, insurance companies use credit, along with other factors like your location and any claims you've made in the past to determine your renters insurance rate.
An excellent credit score shows you're responsible with your finances, which means you're a low risk in the eyes of banks and financial institutions (including insurance companies).
7. Your career
If you're a teacher, police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, credit union member or a retiree, you could also qualify for discounts.
Farmers Insurance gives discounts to certain professionals including some mentioned above. Keep in mind this discount varies by state.
8. Move to a safer area
The beauty of renting is that you can pick up and move at a moment's notice. When you choose your next apartment, consider an area that's in a low-crime area or in a newer building. It could help lower your renters insurance.
9. You're over 55
If you happen to be over 55 and retired, you may qualify for a discount. For example, Allstate offers a 25 percent discount to senior citizens who aren't actively seeking full-time employment.
10. Comparison shop
Since it doesn't cost anything to get a quote, get three to five quotes from different providers. Online providers make it really easy for you to type in your ZIP code and give you an estimate or quote.
When you compare, be sure to ask about the various discounts since each provider is different. If you're already using an insurance company for your car, you may want to start there and see if they offer discount bundles.
Bottom line: Renters insurance is worth it
Renters insurance provides a cushion for you in case something unfortunate happens — whether it's a break-in and your laptop gets stolen, a fire or an injury that results from an accident on the property.
Having peace of mind in case something unfortunate happens is worth $16 a month. You can always sign up for the least expensive plan and bump it up over time.
Photo by Norbert Levajsics on Unsplash
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