If you're running out of money before you run out of month, it's hard to imagine finding extra cash for the renter insurance you know you should have. But here's a welcome surprise for anyone with renter insurance on their Someday List: It's waaay more affordable than you might think. For most people, renter insurance costs around $200 a year – about 55 cents a day!
There are all kinds of reasons to have renter insurance (more about that below). But first, have you ever wondered what goes in to calculating your rate? Just like your car insurance, it's a combination of things you can and can't control. Those include the amount of coverage you choose (can!), your deductible (can!), bundling with your car insurance (can!), and your location (probably not). And more good news: It turns out the Northwest is on the cheaper end of the scale nationally. Prices in Washington and Oregon come in toward the bottom-third of states, thanks to our relative absence of extreme weather like tornadoes and hurricanes.
What determines rates and ways you can save
Multiple factors influence what you'll pay for renter insurance, but these are the big five:
- Amount of coverage. The more belongings you own and the higher their value, the more they'll cost to protect. You'll also want to thoughtfully estimate the future income you'd need to protect in a lawsuit (yes, renter insurance covers that, too!). It's not worth cutting corners by minimizing what your stuff is worth (the average renter's personal property totals about $30,000) or assuming you'd never get sued if, for example, someone slips on your stairs or your friendly dog has a not-so-friendly moment. On the other hand, if the jewelry you inherited from your great aunt never leaves the safe deposit box at the bank, you may not want to pay extra to insure it. Creating a personal property inventory is the surest way to determine how much coverage you need.
- Deductible. That's the amount you pay out of pocket after a loss before your insurance kicks in. The higher the deductible, the less you pay in premiums. The key is settling on an amount that you could reasonably "insure" yourself.
- Policy bundling. You get a serious price break when you bundle a renter policy with your PEMCO auto policy. When you combine the two, it's like getting your renter insurance for one-third off the regular low price.
- Safety. Choose a safe home, then make it even safer. You'll save for homes that are less than 15 years old, equipped with fire sprinkler systems or built from fire-resistant material like brick. You also get discounts for things you do, like using self- or centrally monitored fire, gas, theft and water leak alarms. Save even more when those devices (gas or water) have an automatic shutoff.
- Location. Our loss experience in the area affects how much you pay for renter insurance.
What you get for your money
Fewer than half of renters carry renter insurance, often because they mistakenly believe common myths about renter insurance. The truth is, it gives you a lot for your money – protecting both your property and you.
It pays to replace your belongings at today's new prices (furniture, computer equipment, sports gear, clothing and more) if they're stolen or damaged from perils like fire, windstorms, vandalism and flooding from a broken pipe. It also covers items stolen out of your car (like holiday packages), since your car insurance only covers parts attached to the car.
Renter insurance protects you from liability and legal defense costs if you're deemed responsible for someone getting hurt. It even covers you if you get sued after posting an unfavorable review online! It also pays your temporary living expenses (like hotel costs and takeout meals) if your home is unlivable after a covered loss.
Don't write off renter insurance as "something for someday." Get the facts with a fast, free quote online, talk to your local PEMCO agent or call 1-800-GO-PEMCO.
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