Average Cost of Renters Insurance (2019)

Find the Cheapest Renters Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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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. On average, renters insurance is very affordable relative to how much coverage it provides. We studied the average cost of renters insurance across the nation and in each state to show what people typically pay.

Average cost of renters insurance

The average cost of renters insurance is $187 per year in the U.S. This changes depending on where you live. A typical renter in South Dakota pays $118 to insure their rented apartment or house, while the same coverage would cost $244 in Mississippi. The table below shows the average renters insurance rate per state, along with the difference between the mean in each state and the national mean.

StateMonthly Renters Insurance CostAnnual Renters Insurance Cost% Change vs Avg
New Hampshire$12.50$150-20%
New Jersey$13.83$166-11%
New Mexico$15.25$183-2%
New York$17.58$21113%
North Carolina$11.17$134-28%
North Dakota$9.58$115-39%
Rhode Island$15.17$182-3%
South Carolina$16.33$1965%
South Dakota$9.83$118-37%
West Virginia$14.67$176-6%

Typical renters insurance rates are between $15 and $30 per month ($180 and $360 per year). That's just a ballpark number to give renters an estimate of the cost - your quotes will depend on a variety of factors including the location of the rental unit, your personal property coverage, the amount of liability protection, safety features such as burglar and fire alarms and any optional endorsements or floaters for personal property. Having an address near a flood area or in the middle of hurricane territory will drive the average cost up higher compared to other locations. If you or your apartment or house have a history of multiple claims, your insurance premiums will likely be higher. Increasing reimbursement levels for valuable jewelry or electronics will increase average rental insurance costs too.

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%.

Find the Cheapest Renters Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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How much does your coverage level affect renters insurance costs?

Outside of your location and insurance claims history, the main factor affecting how much rental insurance costs will be the coverage limits you select. Dollar for dollar, it costs much more to expand coverage for your physical belongings than it does to raise your liability limits. A typical renters insurance policy might cover your personal property against theft and damage for up to $25,000 and personal liability insurance up to $100,000. However, you can usually adjust these figures to fit your own priorities.

For most renters, $100,000 in liability insurance coverage is probably enough, but raising this limit doesn't cost much. For example, we found that increasing your renters liability coverage from $100,000 to $300,000 would increase average annual premiums by 5% to 6%. Based on our calculation of the national average for renters insurance, that's no more than an extra $12 a year.

On the other hand, raising property coverage limits inflated the premiums we saw by roughly 20% to 80%. The table below shows how your annual premium can change 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.

Personal Property LimitPersonal Liability LimitAnnual Renters Insurance Premium

Picking the appropriate limits for property damage and liability coverage are some of the most important decisions to make when buying a renters insurance policy, but they aren't the only choices that affect how much renters insurance costs. Your rates will also change depending on your selection of deductible, how your insurer values your belongings, whether you add endorsements for high-value items and the presence of safety features in your home or apartment.

How Your Deductible Affects Renters Insurance Costs

A renters insurance deductible is the amount of damage costs you're responsible for when you make a claim. A typical renters insurance deductible is either $500 or $1,000, but you will often have the option to select from a range of choices. Choosing a higher deductible means you'll be responsible for a larger share of the costs in the event that you make a claim, but it also means you'll pay lower rates. The right choice of deductible will depend on how comfortable you are with the risk of potentially paying more out of your pocket if something goes wrong. Regardless, you should always check how changing your deductible will affect your rates, which you can usually do using an insurer's online quote tool. We recommend selecting lower deductible plans when possible given the potential costs of making a claim.

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, you can choose renters insurance policies that value your items on either an actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost value (RCV) basis.

If you choose an ACV policy, the cheaper of the two, you will be reimbursed for damaged property based on its current value, including wear and tear. So a damaged 10-year-old television that cost $1,000 when you bought it may be worth very little now, depending on insurer calculations. As a result, your insurer's reimbursement for the damage can be quite a bit lower than the original price you paid. An ACV policy may be a good choice if you're looking to lower the cost of your renters insurance policy and if you own a lot of new things that haven't lost much value.

If you purchase a RCV policy, the more expensive of the two, your reimbursement will be based on an item's current value, excluding wear and tear. So your insurance company would reimburse you for the damaged television based on the cost of a new television of similar specifications in today's market. An RCV policy may be a good choice if you don't mind a slightly higher rates and you're looking for a more generous reimbursement from your insurer when you make a claim.

How Endorsements for High-Value Items Affect Renters Insurance Costs

Coverage of high-value items like jewelry or art may be excluded from a standard renters insurance policy, or the items in question may only be covered up to separate, lower limits. In these instances, renters insurance will cost extra if you purchase an endorsement to obtain or increase coverage for a certain type of item. Purchasing an endorsement will increase the cost of your renters insurance policy, but the coverage might be vital if you have high-value goods which have limited or excluded coverage in a standard policy.

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

When shopping for renters insurance, you'll notice that prices 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 renters insurance price. These include your insurance and credit history, your location and whether you own any pets.

Insurance and credit history: Customers who are considered higher risk—in other words, those more likely to file a claim—are generally changed more for renters insurance. Insurers measure this 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. Insurance companies have found there is a correlation between an individual's credit score and the likelihood that customer will file a claim. Policyholders with poorer credit scores tend to file claims more frequently than those with strong credit scores. Consequently, if you have good credit—a long history and a track record of on-time payments—the price of your renters insurance may be lower than someone with bad credit, who may have a limited credit history or has failed to make timely payments on their credit obligations.

Where you live and what type of building you live in: Locations at higher risk for natural disasters will generally have pricier renters insurance policies. Policyholders in these areas are more likely to make a claim for property 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.

Even the type of building you live in could 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 suburban neighborhood, all else equal.

Pets: Owning animals is considered an increased liability risk to insurers given that a pet could injure other people or damage their property. Although owning a fish or cat won't raise the price of your renters insurance policy, a pet dog could prompt some providers to raise your rates. Further, if you own a dog breed considered to be particularly aggressive, or an exotic animal—such as a monkey or large reptile—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 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. 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 south of it. These factors contribute to lower than average rates for a year's worth of renters insurance.

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

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. 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.

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

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 most claims have to do with renters' 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, when in fact, the opposite is the case. Smaller cities outside major metropolitan areas have higher burglaries per capita (822 burglaries per 100,000 people) than in 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 could 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 is 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

Over a three-year period (2010–2012) surveyed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated annual average of 360,400 fires resulted in an average of 2,170 deaths, 12,720 injuries, and $6.49 billion in property loss. Cooking-related fires averaged an estimated 149,000 fires over the same period, or 41.3% of residential fires.

Accidents a tenant could 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 might cover 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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