How to Buy Renters Insurance
If you rent your home, renters insurance is a smart way to protect your property and financial interests. You may know about renters insurance, but do you know what affects the cost? Do you know how to get a policy? Read on to get the scoop on renters insurance.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
Like all insurance, the amount you pay for your renters insurance policy will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Location: The crime rate in your ZIP code will influence your rate, as insurance companies use it to determine your risk.
- Type of residence: The kind of structure you’re renting may play a part in how much you pay. Renting a single-family home, duplex, or condo will be more expensive than renting an apartment. That’s because theft is more common in homes than apartments.
- Credit and insurance score: Renters insurance companies may use an insurance score in some states. Your insurance score is generally calculated from information on your credit report. Insurers value this information because data suggests a correlation between credit history and insurance risk. The higher your score, the lower the cost of insurance.
- Dogs: Since you could be sued if your dog bites someone, certain breeds may raise your rates or even prevent you from getting a policy. Some carriers simply don’t provide coverage for animal liability. So even if you have the friendliest dog in the world, you may be denied coverage.
Pricing will also be affected by your coverage amount and deductible. Your deductible is what you pay out of pocket before your insurer steps in to provide the rest. The higher your deductible, the smaller your premium (the fee you pay every month) will be.
Common Renters Insurance Discounts
To help you pay less for your renters insurance, many providers also offer discounts. If you’re applying online, discounts you qualify for will often be automatically applied as you fill out your application. These discounts can include:
- Multi-policy: You can save when you bundle multiple types of insurance from one provider, such as renters and auto insurance.
- Quote in advance: You can get a discount by getting a quote at least three days before your policy starts.
- Receive documents by email: If you’re comfortable receiving your documents via email, you might qualify for a discount.
- Pay in full: Some providers will offer a discount simply for paying your policy upfront in full.
- Secured/gated community: You can save if you drive by a security guard or use a key to enter a gated complex.
How Do You Buy Renters Insurance?
There are basically three ways to buy renters insurance: online, over the phone and in-person with an agent.
Each method comes with its own benefits. The face-to-face aspect of working in person with an agent may help you better understand your policy. If you’re working with a local agent, they may be able to find a policy that suits your specific area.
Similar benefits come with purchasing over the phone. While not face-to-face, purchasing a policy over the phone still allows you to deal directly with an agent. It’s easy to ask questions, request customization and get clarification.
While dealing with an agent in-person or over the phone has its benefits, purchasing a renters insurance policy online is by far the most common and convenient method. In fact, most providers now make it possible for customers to apply for and purchase a renters insurance policy in a matter of minutes.
For most providers, the online process for purchasing a renters insurance policy typically consists of the following three steps:
- Fill out a quick online application consisting of personal information, property information and contact information.
- The provider will look over your application, request any required additional information and eventually reach out to you with relevant offers. In some cases, if you are using a quote aggregator service instead of an insurance provider, you will get multiple offers from different providers within the aggregator’s network.
- Look over the offers, customize to better fit your needs (if the provider allows) and ultimately purchase a policy.
After purchasing a policy online, many providers make it easy to manage everything related to your policy (submitting a claim, changing payment information, etc.) from their website.