I pay less than $15 a month for renters insurance, but the peace of mind is worth so much more

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How much is renters insuranceJustin Lambert/GettyHow much is renters insurance? Probably cheaper than you think. (The author is not pictured.)
  • How much renters insurance costs depends on the amount of coverage you want and where you live.
  • Most people pay between $US15 and $US20 a month for renters insurance.
  • Renters insurance covers all the personal property in your apartment, hotel room, or car in the event of a fire, break-in, leak, or weather-related catastrophe.
  • Insurance-comparison site Policygenius can help you find the lowest rate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When I relocated to Los Angeles from New York City about two and a half years ago, I took the opportunity to draw up a laundry list of things to finally get around to doing.

One item I’d been putting off for years: Buying renters insurance. I now pay $US11.91 a month for coverage, and ultimately, peace of mind.

I’d heard enough horror stories over the years to know that it’s a silly, and potentially dreadful, mistake to skip out on renters insurance. Yet, according to insurance-comparison site Policygenius, only 40% of American renters have it.

If you’re living on your own – i.e. not with your parents or on a college campus – you probably need renters insurance. The good news is that it’s dirt cheap. Most people pay between $US15 and $US20 a month for coverage, according to Policygenius.

Generally, the cost of renters insurance depends on your location and how much coverage you get. Renters insurance is more expensive in states at risk of extreme weather – Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Alabama top the list with annual premiums between $US242 and $US262, according to Policygenius.

To be clear, a landlord typically covers the cost of any damage to the building (if you live in an apartment) in the event of a weather-related catastrophe, as well as a fire, leak, or break-in. Renters insurance covers the belongings inside, including electronics, furniture, clothing, and jewellery. Actually, your belongings are covered whether they’re in your home, car, or hotel room – everything you own is protected under renters insurance.

And while fires and break-ins (hopefully) aren’t regular fare, if and when they happen, they could put you in deep financial ruin if you’re not insured.

Business Insider’s Libby Kane describes it best: “Having insurance is a lot like carrying an umbrella with you at all times: Most of the time it feels burdensome, but boy, are you glad to have it when the rain comes.” Suffice it to say, I’m happy to fork over less than $US15 a month just in case.

When I bought my insurance back in 2016, I went directly to State Farm’s website, but using a site like Policygenius to compare rates from different insurers will help you find the lowest one.

The process, for me, was fairly easy. I entered in my name, address, Social Security number (optional), the number of roommates I live with (two), and the amount of personal property coverage I want (I don’t own expensive clothing or jewellery, and I bought a policy for my belongings only, not my roommates’, so I chose the lowest coverage option at $US18,500).

I also checked off whether or not my apartment has specific security measures, like deadbolt locks, a fire extinguisher, sprinkler system, alarm system, and smoke alarm. Because I do have several of these, it translates into a $US58 “discount” annually.

I got a quote for a premium of $US17.25 a month, or $US207 a year, with a $US500 deductible. That price also includes $US100,000 of personal liability protection, meaning I’ll have coverage if someone is injured in my apartment.

In the more than two years since first buying coverage, my premium has incrementally decreased and is now $US11.91 a month, probably because I purchased car insurance through the same carrier at one point and saved on a “bundle.” I no longer have car insurance through State Farm, but my renters insurance premium has remained low.

What my policy doesn’t include, however, is earthquake insurance, which I’d have to sign up and pay for separately. Thankfully, I grew up in California and know that earthquakes of home-destroying magnitude are extremely rare, so I’m still holding off on that for now (check back with me when “the big one” hits).

Still need renters insurance? Our partner Policygenius can help you find the best policy for you ยป

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