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Average Cost of Renters Insurance (2020)

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The average cost of renters insurance in the U.S. is about $16 per month, or $187 per year.

Nationally, 37% of all households rent their homes — that's more than 43 million households. Only 40% of these renters have purchased renters insurance coverage, but the number is growing. We studied the average cost of renters insurance across the nation and in each state to show what people typically pay.

Renters insurance rates by state

The average cost of renters insurance may be $187 nationally, but the actual cost depends on where you live. We've ranked each state according to its average cost for renters insurance, along with the percentage of renters who have active coverage.

RankStateMonthly premiumAnnual premiumInsured renters
11New York$17.58$21124%
16South Carolina$16.33$19627%
20New Mexico$15.25$18320%
23Rhode Island$15.17$18221%
24West Virginia$14.67$17620%
31New Jersey$13.83$16631%
42New Hampshire$12.50$15038%
48North Carolina$11.17$13426%
50South Dakota$9.83$11845%
51North Dakota$9.58$11540%
U.S. average$16.00$18734%

Typical renters insurance rates are between $15 and $30 per month (that's $180 and $360 per year). The data shows that where renters insurance is expensive, the ratio of renters who are covered tends to fall below the national average. However, the reverse is not always true: Some of the states with the lowest costs for renters insurance also have more uninsured renters than average.

These numbers offer a better picture of the cost in each state, but your actual quotes will always depend on several factors such as:

  • Location
  • Claim history
  • Amount of coverage

For example, renting a unit in a flood zone drives up your premiums regardless of which company you choose. Having a personal history of making claims (or living in a unit whose previous tenants made claims) also leads to inflated rates. Finally, expanding your coverage to account for high-value jewelry or electronics means paying more per month.

While well below the average cost of homeowners insurance, costs have been relatively stagnant in recent years. Between 2010 and 2015, the mean cost of renters insurance increased 1.6%.

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How much does your coverage level affect renters insurance costs?

Besides location and insurance claims history, your chosen coverage limits are the main factor in how much rental insurance costs. A typical renters policy covers your personal property against theft and damage for up to $25,000 and also provides personal liability insurance up to $100,000. However, you can adjust these figures to fit your own needs.

Dollar for dollar, expanding your personal property coverage costs much more than raising your liability limits. We found that increasing renters liability coverage from $100,000 to $300,000 raises annual premiums by 5% to 6% — if we use the national average premium, that's no more than an extra $12 a year.

Personal Property LimitPersonal Liability LimitAnnual Renters Insurance Premium

In contrast, we found that raising property coverage limits inflated renters insurance premiums by 20% to 80%. The table above shows how your annual premium changes based on different combinations of property and liability coverage. The numbers represent the average price of renters insurance offered in New York City by major insurance companies using similar coverage and a standard $500 deductible.

How Your Deductible Affects Renters Insurance Costs

A renters insurance deductible is the amount of money you're responsible for paying before you get compensation in a claim. A typical renters insurance deductible is $500 or $1,000, but you can choose a lower deductible to increase your protection — or a higher one to lower your premiums.

Choosing a higher deductible means you'll be responsible for a larger share of the costs if you ever make a claim, but it also means you'll pay lower rates. You should choose a deductible amount that reflects how comfortable you are with the risk of paying more out of your own pocket if something goes wrong.

Either way, you should always check how changing your deductible will affect your rates, which you can usually do using an insurer's online quote tool. Given that most claim situations come with substantial costs, we recommend erring on the side of a lower deductible.

How Item Valuation Affects Renters Insurance Costs

The type of item valuation in your policy will also affect how much your renters insurance costs, and if you select a policy with more generous valuation for your belongings you'll pay a higher premium. Usually, getting a policy based on actual cash value (ACV) costs less than one based on replacement cost value (RCV).

If you choose the cheaper ACV policy, you'll be reimbursed for damaged property based on its current value, including wear and tear. A damaged 10-year-old television that cost $1,000 when you bought it may be worth very little in the insurance company's eyes when it pays your claim. This makes ACV policies better suited to lowering the cost of your renters insurance and insuring new things that haven't lost much value.

If you purchase an RCV policy, you pay higher premiums but gain coverage that pays you the cost of replacing a lost or damaged item with a new version of equal quality. That damaged TV would be replaced by a new TV of similar specifications in today's market. An RCV policy is a good choice if you don't mind paying slightly higher rates for a more generous reimbursement from your insurer.

How Endorsements for High-Value Items Affect Renters Insurance Costs

In a standard renters insurance policy, high-value items like jewelry or art are often excluded from coverage or covered up to lower, category-specific limits. Endorsements are extensions of your renters policy that you can buy to add or increase coverage for such items.

Purchasing an endorsement will increase the cost of your renters insurance policy, but that coverage might be necessary if your most valuable belongings fall outside the protection of standard insurance. Make sure to review what limits and coverages you're buying into before you sign up with an insurer.

How Safety Features Affect Renters Insurance Costs

If you can prove you're a lower-risk customer you'll often pay lower rates, so if you're a tenant with fire alarms, burglar alarms, deadlocks or other safety features, you may be entitled to a discount from your insurer.

Other factors that influence your renters insurance rate

We've explained how prices for renters insurance can change depending on the coverage features you select in your policy. However, there are also important non-policy factors related to you and your home or apartment that will affect your costs. These include your location, pets, and insurance and credit history.

Insurance and credit history: For any kind of insurance, policyholders who are considered higher risk — in other words, those more likely to file a claim — pay larger premiums. For renters, insurers measure risk in two ways: your claims history and your credit-based insurance score.

If you've filed insurance claims in the past, an insurer will consider you more likely to file a claim again in the future. A history of filing claims makes you a higher risk customer, resulting in insurers increasing the price of your renters insurance policy.

Insurers may also look at your credit history when providing you with a renters insurance quote. Statistically, insurance companies have found that policyholders with lower credit scores tend to file claims more frequently than those with high credit scores. This makes it more expensive to buy insurance with bad credit, no matter how careful you are.

Building type and location: Locations at higher risk for natural disasters generally have pricier renters insurance policies. Renters in these places are more likely to make a claim for damage caused by natural perils such as fire and wind. Because renters insurance covers theft, renters who live in locations with higher crime rates could also see higher prices for their policies.

The type of building you live in can also affect your rates. Single-family homes are bigger targets for theft than apartment complexes. As a result, the cost of renters insurance may be lower for apartment dwellers than those renting a home in a nearby suburban neighborhood.

Pets: Owning animals that can injure others or damage their property represents a liability risk. Fish and cats won't raise the price of your renters insurance policy, but a pet dog could prompt some providers to raise your rates. If you own a dog breed considered to be particularly aggressive, or an exotic animal — such as a monkey or large reptile — liability coverage for your pet may be excluded completely.

States with the cheapest renters insurance

The states with the lowest renters insurance rates on average are scattered across the U.S. but they do have something in common: none are subject to heavy or frequent natural disasters compared to the others. North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Montana all receive their share of heavy snowfall in the winter, but hurricanes and earthquakes are comparatively rare.

This graph shows the average renters insurance cost for the five least expensive states

Like the others, North Carolina is not a victim of frequent earthquakes and its coastline is not typically as hard hit by hurricanes as states farther to the south. These factors contribute to lower than average rates for a year's worth of renters insurance.

States with the most expensive renters insurance

The states with the most expensive renters insurance rates have a higher than average rate of natural disasters. Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas all have coastlines in the Gulf of Mexico, where hurricanes are a recurring threat to residents and property. Oklahoma residents also live through extreme weather.

This graph shows the average rates for renters insurance in the five most expensive states

It has more tornadoes per square mile than any other place in the U.S. and is affected by hail and severe thunderstorms every year. Because of the high amount of damages, the renters insurance quotes are typically higher on average compared to the rest of the nation. Below are the mean renters insurance premiums for these five states compared to the average in the U.S.

What are the most frequent renters insurance claims?

Renters tend to file claims for theft, fires and injury liability more frequently than any other types of loss. Unlike homeowners, renters aren't responsible for covering accidental damage to the properties they live in. This means that most of their insurance claims involve belongings going missing or getting damaged.

Burglary and theft account for many renters insurance claims, according to Esurance. Some tenants wrongfully assume they are less likely to be a victim of theft if they live in a smaller city — in fact, the opposite is the case. Smaller cities outside major metro areas have higher burglaries per capita (822 burglaries per 100,000 people) than the biggest cities (727 per 100,000 people).

Renters insurance covers your personal property, even if it isn’t inside your rental unit. For example, if something is stolen out of your car or from your bag on the train, you can file a claim for it. In 2012, the number of reported thefts in public was nearly 6 times the number of home burglaries.

Items destroyed in fires often result in renters insurance claims, and not just in dry climates. Based on 2012 data, the Midwest was the U.S. region with the highest fire loss per capita.

  • Midwest: $46.70 lost per capita
  • South: $34.60 lost per capita
  • West: $36.90 lost per capita
  • Northeast: $43.60 lost per capita

Between 2010 and 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded an estimated annual average of 360,400 fires leading to an average of 2,170 deaths, 12,720 injuries, and $6.49 billion in property losses. Cooking-related fires averaged an estimated 149,000 fires over the same period, or 41.3% of all residential fires.

Accidents that a tenant can be liable for also result in a lot of renters insurance claims. Injuries that occur inside of the home result in more than 21 million medical visits per year. Renters insurance will not cover expenses for injuries to tenants, but it often covers guests who trip or fall, dog bites and other occurrences a renter might be liable for.

Sources: National Multifamily Housing Council, NAIC, I.I.I., U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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