By: Revanche

Testing the renters insurance waters

October 6, 2009

Given the recent local break-ins, and a belated sense of general responsibility, it seemed like time to check out the world of renters insurance. After all, I did just successfully shop around for my auto insurance and saved a good chunk of change. If I were willing to tackle health insurance this week, we could call this an Insurance Trifecta! But I still have subsidized COBRA for another 5 months, so I might not be that ambitious.

Renters insurance is one of those things *everyone* says you should have, but most people I know don’t. Logically, it makes a lot of sense because I would absolutely hate to have to replace my belongings out of pocket.

The big ticket categories are: electronics, comic book collection, clothing, furniture.

  • As a rough estimate, my personal gadgets probably cost in the neighborhood of $1500 and I can’t begin to calculate how much my comic books would cost to replace.
  • My wardrobe, humble though it is, contains just enough pricier items that it’d be difficult to rebuild in less than 2-5 years. That’s how long it took to accumulate a couple good coats, a high quality leather bag, two suits, and a few really nice dresses (>$1500). That’s without considering all the daily wears which are more numerous than quality.
  • All my furniture is old, I haven’t got anything less than 7 years old in here and most items are well over fifteen years old, but when you have to replace it, age doesn’t matter.

Of course, renters insurance will cover the entire household, not just my stuff, so that puts in perspective the value of the insurance.

I requested my first rate quote from Geico. As a renter, I find some of the questions odd: do most renters know the year their home was built or the construction/build type as a matter of course? I had to look it up on Zillow, and I’m still not sure what sort of build this is. Perhaps that’s a dunce cap question if you can’t answer it, so just call me a construction dunce. (We do have an excellent Walk Score, by the by.)

Geico coverage limits
Personal Property (includes personal items such as clothes, furniture, appliances, linens, even toiletries and cleaning supplies.) $30,000
Personal Liability (protection in the event an insured is found liable for unintentional bodily injury or property damage, occurring on or off of the property, not related to automobiles or business. For example: a slip and fall on the premises, or even if you should accidentally injure someone with a golf ball at the driving range.) $50,000
Deductible $250
Medical payments to others $500
Property damage to others $500
Replacement Cost Coverage included
Earthquake Coverage included

Cost: $435/year

State Farm coverage limits
Personal Property $30,000
Personal Liability $100,000
Deductible (lowest option available) $500
Medical payments to others $5000
Property damage to others n/a
Replacement Cost Coverage n/a
Earthquake Coverage Must purchase separate policy

**State Farm only offers online rate quotes, not online purchase.

Cost: $212.

Spending all the money I just saved by changing auto insurance makes me grumpy, though.

Does anyone out there have renters insurance? Do these quotes seem reasonable to you? (These quotes include coverage of a full household with two large dogs on the “special” list.)

And if insurance shopping bores you, My Pretty Pennies went shopping for much more fun stuff: bathing suits!
And Fabulously Broke bought delicious boots!
Mapgirl went to New York and bought clothes! And food, yumm….
Stacking Pennies has a clothing buying plan!

All of which should provide the color against my boring and DebtHater’s car troubles.

14 Responses to “Testing the renters insurance waters”

  1. Anonymous says:

    My personal prop pro: 22k/100k
    guest medical 1k
    Total Premium $197 + fees = $207 after group discount (auto).
    (This policy contains sep. deductible for hurricane loss which may result in high out-of-pocket expenses to me)

    You can look up your county’s property assessment website to find the age of your house and I think type of build. I *think* if you do not have a crawl space it is generally CBS (concrete block).


  2. Make sure the plan covers your comic books … I have to get riders to cover my firearms, because they are not considered general household items. Expensive collectible things like firearms, jewelry, and stamps generally require riders (read: more money) if they are valued past a certain amount.

  3. Be sure it covers full replacement value…that is, what it would cost to buy new stuff. Unless a policy specifically says that (and check with the agent to be sure what the wording means), the insurer may pay you only what it decides is the used value. And used furniture and clothing isn’t worth much, by anyone’s reckoning.

  4. If you did want a higher deductible, try another company. I can’t remember what mine is through, but I jacked up the deductible (I have an efund!) and mostly carry it for liability reasons.

    I think mine is about 200/yr but it is a leaner policy. I think.

    Thanks for the link! Hmm, clothes or insurance?

  5. Mine is about $115 a year through Traveler’s. I think it has a fairly high deductible.

  6. Mine is $101, despite living smack in the middle of New York City. Even in Harlem it was about that much. I’m not sure of the exact numbers it covers, but it was enough when I got it. I probably asked for a higher deductible.

  7. Miss M says:

    It’s been years since I had renters insurance but I think I paid about $200 for $36k in coverage. That was through USAA.

  8. Revanche says:

    Karen: Thanks for the tip, I’ll search the county website. Your hurricane coverage is a separate rider?

    The Lost Goat: Good point. It’s not that my comic books are highly valuable collectibles, I just have a lot of them and the replacement cost adds up.

    Funny About Money: True. That’s probably going to require a phone call.

    Stackingpennies: Actually, I didn’t play with the deductible too much but I’ll add that to the list.
    And at that price, you can afford Clothes + Insurance!

    me in millions: My quotes are looking a bit high in comparison to everyone else’s. Maybe it’s the dogs …

    Little Miss Moneybags: Wow, if it’s so cheap in NYC, I can’t believe none of my friends there have it. They all have valuables that would cost several times the deductible + premiums to replace.

    Miss M: That sounds much more reasonable. *Frown on my quotes*

  9. Anonymous says:

    Revanche: I haven’t looked into the hurricane portion really but I would guess anything that is due to wind damage is not covered…which was the issue during Katrina…and the negative with State Farm. I don’t know that SF accepts new policies here anymore.
    I’m surprised about the hurricane note because I’m in an apartment, the building would be covered my the business.
    I have Allstate if you wanted to check them out (although I think they just changed their name to Castle-something).

  10. eemusings says:

    Haha, I called up my insurance to update my address, and had to go through the rigmarole of “what year was it built? do you have deadlock windows? what’s the house made of?” I asked her to hold while we debated for five minutes about what material the exterior was made of.

    Seriously, I bet if I was to lose everything I’d be so disheartened – can you imagine replacing everything you own? I mean, a solid can opener runs to about $10. A CAN OPENER! Imagine equipping a whole kitchen from scratch.

    Okay, maybe I need to increase my coverage…

  11. 444 says:

    Here’s what I got from the USAA site where we have renters insurance:

    Coverage Type Coverage Limit
    Personal Belongings $35,000
    Personal Liability – Each Occurrence $300,000
    Medical Payments to Others $5,000

    Earthquake Deductible $5,250 (15.00%)
    Other Covered Perils $250

    Total Annual Premium $197.98

    This is just a summary, of course. I hope this helps. In the past we have added riders for expensive musical equipment which wasn’t otherwise covered.

  12. Delicious Boots INDEED!!!

    I am in love with them. *pet pet*

  13. SavingDiva says:

    I spent about $150/year for renter’s insurance…and then I ended up getting a payout of around $700…I think it’s worth it for the peace of mind.

  14. Revanche says:

    Karen: Allstate changed their name? Weird.
    I’ll give them a look-see, keeping all my business with the same company doesn’t seem to be working out.

    444: Wow, your coverage seems the most substantial thus far. But if I’m not mistaken, USAA’s insurance is restricted to members, right?

    eemusings: And you’ve officially freaked me out. Yes, I cannot imagine replacing my belongings from scratch. Yipes!

    FB: I’m gonna want to see some outfits with those boots, missy.

    SavingDiva: Cheapest rate yet, and you’re proof that they do pay out! (at least once.) *Relief.*

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