The cheapest or best Renters Insurance for 2019

A lot of individuals and families rent properties since the either cannot afford to buy one, or are traveling, studying, or prefer to invest in other assets rather than in properly. Whatever the reason, when you rent a property you need to be insured.

Whenever you rent a property you will sign a contract that has certain stipulations in it. Also, the landlords most probably have insurance policies out to cover them for any event. As such, it is advisable to have an insurance policy even for short-term renting, just to secure yourself from emergency situations as well as from unscrupulous landlords.

When it comes to the best, and that includes cheapest, best coverage, best customer care, best shopping experience, bets digital interface and more, I came up with the following list of companies.

  • Allstate
  • Nationwide
  • Liberty Mutual
  • American Family
  • State Farm
  • MetLife
  • USAA
  • AARP

Before I go into the details of each one, let’s take a look at who really needs renters insurance and why.

The first thing is that everyone that rents need insurance, within this large group of everyone, what insurance does is gives peace of mind before it gives anything else.

College Students

Students that rent a dorm of unit close to the campus will most probably be covered by parents renting or homeowner’s insurance policy. However, if this is not the case, get a renters insurance, since college dorms and rental units are always susceptible to damage, and if you are responsible for the unit, whether you damaged it or not is irrelevant. The other aspect is the coverage of possessions. When you rent a dorm, you get a 10% of your parent’s personal property value as coverage. So, as a rule of thumb, if your parents have a $100,000 personal property coverage, you will get $10,000 coverage. If you rent an off-campus property, you need a full rental policy, this is not linked to your parents, and as such, you need to consider damage and theft issues as the key to the policy coverage.

Young Professionals

Over 33% of all apartments in the US are rented by people under 30 years of age, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

The only issue with young professionals is where they rent. If you rent in a managed building, in most instances the contract forces you to take out a renter’s insurance. If not, you should take such an insurance coverage out. It doesn’t matter if you only have used furniture and backpack, even in a most modest of conditions, you need to secure yourself against possible litigations from unscrupulous landlords, and from the theft of property.

If you rent a fully furnished penthouse worthy millions, then obviously you will need insurance to cover any form or damage or theft to your property as well as to the landlord’s property.

Senior Citizens

It doesn’t matter where you live, as a senior citizen, if you rent, you must have renters insurance to cover theft and personal injury issues. Most senior citizens live on a fixed income, as such, you need to buy a comprehensive renters policy that will cover you from theft, personal injury in the property as well as from damages to the property and its contents.

How to Choose the Best Solution

As you can ascertain, every individual fits into a specific niche; these niches include age, income levels and personal possessions (jewelry, art, equipment, etc.) Based on your specific niche, there is a policy that will cover your needs.

Let’s take a look at some of the issued that need to be covered when selecting a renters insurance package.

Policy Management

Determine your needs, and this is done by determining your budget allocation for insurance coverage based on your current income status and the level of personal possessions you own, your age and health status.

Check out which companies offer you a Digital Locker Mobile App. These apps make managing your policy much easier. They help you list all your possessions, assigns a value for each one and lets you upload an image of each one with a date stamp.

While you might think that such an app is not so important, you are wrong. All property insurance coverage for renters and homeowners starts off with two bases; the policy holder’s details and the possessions.

Once you have organized your possessions, you can ascertain what level of insurance coverage you want and for what.

Coverage

Coverage is based on what is termed “Peril,” and peril is named and categorized in the following form:

  • Theft
  • Water damage
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Smoke
  • Lightning
  • Flood
  • Earthquake
  • Hand of God

Yes, there is the hand of God, which means you are not covered by this peril, and will not be paid if a meteorite falls out of the sky and hits your building. Now let’s look at the rest.

Flooding refers to house floods caused by plumbing and leaks. If you live in a flood zone area, you need to make sure you have actual natural flooding as a feature. The same goes for damage from earthquakes, and if you live near a volcano, you should add that too.

So, if you live in Las Vegas, you won’t need a policy covering you from natural flooding or volcano, but you might need coverage from everything else.

As such, match your policies features to the location you live in and consider the additional costs based on the probability of occurrence, Such as earthquake coverage in San Francisco.

Types of Rental Insurance Coverage

There are four basic rental policies available, and these include:

Personal Property Coverage

This means your possessions, and it covers you from damage and theft. You need to see exactly how they are covered and to what levels of coverage, and check out maintenance and repair coverage for equipment. Also look at coverage for loss of possessions such as jewelry and small electronic devices. This kind of coverage covers you wherever you are, and not just at home.

Liability Coverage

This covers you’re from bodily injury or others that are injured bodily while in the property. It covers you and others from damage that occurs to yourself in the household, and also covers you from damage to household fixtures that are not yours.

Medical Payments to Others

If another person is injured while visiting you in the property, whether you are liable or not, it covers their medical expenses and is a great plan to have just to be sure. This plan does not cover you or people living with you, only visitors.

Additional Living Expenses/Loss of Use

This plan covers you in the instance of natural disasters covered by the policy or house fires and flooding that force you to leave while the property is being repaired. It will provide you with living expenses to rent another property until you can return.

Extended Coverage

For the more lucrative renter, where prized possessions include expensive collections or works of art and jewelry, some insurance companies offer an extended coverage feature, but obviously, this comes at a cost based on the value of the possessions being insured.

Online Comparing

All top-level insurance companies give you an online calculator to evaluate the overall cost of a policy. This means that you need to only work with such companies since they provide you with access to information and full transparency. Also, you want a company with enough backbone and integrity to stand up to claims and deliver claim handling with speed.

When you compare companies, don’t just look at the price, look at what it really covers and what are the stipulations. Consider that some of the factors used to create a policy price will include personal details and credit history.

Having stated this, most renters insurance policies are affordable and based on research and surveys the average monthly price you will pay is around $16 per month, where the upper bracket is around $30.

Let’s take a look at three national companies, providing the same policy.

  • American Family: $11.50
  • Allstate: $17.00
  • Nationwide: $22.42

As you can see, the variance is in line with the survey. Now the question is, which one is the best since the cheapest is not necessarily the best.

According to research and customer reviews, and comparing thousands of policies, including discounts, protective devices, and shopping experience too, the following list gives you the best of every category:

  • Best for online tools: Allstate
  • Best for extended coverage: Nationwide
  • Best for discounts: Liberty Mutual
  • Best for rates: American Family
  • Best for policy management: State Farm
  • Best for customer service: MetLife
  • Best for Military personnel: USAA
  • Best for Senior Citizens: AARP

Summing Up

Is Renters Insurance Worth Taking Out?

It comes down to your budget; the bottom line is can you afford that $11.50 for a renters insurance? IN 99% of the cases you can since you are renting and that already means you are making some form of income to cover the cost of renting. Adding a further $11.50 or even less will give you that extra secure feeling that if anything goes wrong you are covered.

Obviously, you don’t want to spend %11.50 on an insurance plan that doesn’t cover you for what you really need. So, bottom line, yes, renters insurance is a must, but take out one that suits your needs and not one that enriches the insurance agent.

 

What Is The Best Car Insurance Company?

I was recently asked what I thought about car insurance companies and is there a “best” one. Well, essentially best is objective to so many circumstances that you cannot really find one “best” company when considering all the factors involved. These include the price of the premium versus the content of the policy, and then there is the time it takes to process a complaint and the outcome of a claim. Paying less premium for more coverage is not a sign of the best when the company involved doesn’t pay out when required, or of the process is convoluted and restricted.

In this article, I look at the best insurance companies based on application, and not as a comprehensive best, which actually doesn’t really exist.

When comparing all the data of each sub-set, I found that Erie is the overall winner, or best, when it comes to all the sub-categories. These sub-categories include size, handling of claims, military, low mileage driving, handling accidents, and shopping experience.

This is the list of the categories and their winners and then I will go into more detail with each one.

  • Overall Best: Erie
  • Best of the Largest Companies: State Farm
  • Best at Handling Accident Issues: Progressive
  • Best for Military Clients: USAA
  • Best for Low Mileage: Metromile
  • Best for handling claims: The Hartford
  • Best for shopping experience: Liberty Mutual

Now, let’s take a look at each one and understand why they deserve their titles.

Overall Best: Erie

Erie earned this title because they provide an all-round package of experience and content that screams the best. It starts by allowing you to secure a quote online in a fast and easy process. The variety of policies available is also exceptional, and they include such coverage as pets, free accident forgiveness, free vanishing deductibles, and roadside assistance, as well as much more.

Erie provides you with more flexibility and diversity than all the other companies. They also have a unique rate lock program that locks your payment rates when you move to a different area, when you add or remove someone from your policy, or when you add or subtract a car. Note that while adding locks the rate, so does subtract, so it’s a double edged sword, but still convenient.

Erie’s policies include a plethora of discounts that cover bundling, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft, young driver, a senior driver, and many more.

The only con to the title was the availability or accessibility to the general public. Erie is only available in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Another issue is automation if you want a totally automated experience without having to talk to an agent, forget it, with Erie you have to talk to an agent at some point. I personally like that, but some think it’s not necessary for this digital age.

Best of the Largest Companies: State Farm

State Farm is one of the big five insurance companies that includes GEICO, Allstate, Progressive, and Farmers. In total size, State Farm is the biggest, as such it benefits from the largest network of agents with over 18,000 locations nationwide. As such, you always have a free and available agent to handle most cases.

Discounts are another area that State Farm excels in, and you have around 15 different discount options available that adds up to a lot of money saved. Another plus was the shopping experience, which stood about for State Farm, perhaps due to the many agents available.

The downside of State Farm is how they handle claims and is slow mainly due to it’s seized. The larger the company, the slower the process, and remember all claims go through the same process of validation, verification, authentication and any form of “cation” that can make sure they don’t need to pay out.

If you are a large “legacy” carrier, then size does matter, and you would want to go with State Farm.

Best at Handling Accident Issues: Progressive

When you enter an accident, you have to consider the participating rates, and Progressive was by far the easiest to work with since they increased the rates by 29% which is significantly cheaper than the competition that starts at a 35% increase.

Progressive, as the name suggests, is a modern company with a totally automated online process. This is a boon to some that don’t want to spend time talking to a person. Although what I found interesting is that when you make a claim, you don’t want to talk to a machine. Having said this, I can state that Progressive has an excellent customer service department and their agents handle cases in a fast and efficient manner when compared to other companies.

Best for Military Clients: USAA

Being a vet or an active military person carries with it certain advantages, one of these is that not only do you get to have a USAA auto insurance policy, but if one of your parents, or parent-in-law, or your spouse is or was in the military you are eligible for USAA auto insurance.

USAA provides military and military-related clients with an exceptional policy that is the best when compared to all others, and this goes into all aspect from cost to claim.

Best for Low Mileage: Metromile

One of the biggest issues with car insurance is the actual non-driving part of it. Essentially, a large percentage of the population drives less than 4 hours a day, and as such, the majority of the time, your car is standing in a parking location.

If you don’t drive so many miles than you want a company that has a low mileage policy, and this is where Metromile step in. They have a special low mileage policy that covers up to 7,500 a year. However, with this nice policy comes to rather lackluster claims handling side to things. So yes, its best for low mileage, but would you want to use them?

One other major issue with Metromile is that it is only available in seven states: CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA.

Best for handling claims: The Hartford

The Hartford is also known as AARP; this company scored top points out of all when it came to customer satisfaction with handling claims. The claim process starts at the accident and goes through the as step-wise process including witness reports, repairs, police reports, hospital claims and more. No matter how simple or complex the accident was, AARP handles it better than all others.

Best for shopping experience: Liberty Mutual

Both Liberty Mutual and Erie tied for this category. However, Erie has a title, so we can give this to Liberty Mutual. What shopping experience means is how well was the policy choice and process acquired by clients. As such, Liberty Mutual has a very flexible and diverse number of policies with exceptional digital and human services supporting the experience.

Conclusions

As you can see, there was a best” rated overall, but when you focus on some key issues, it failed against others. So when you go shopping for insurance, try to whittle down your requirements so you can focus on what is best for you. Budget is not always the main issue for some, and different drivers in different states require different policies based on their driving abilities, their vehicle, and the applications they intend to drive for.