When you're shopping for a home to rent, there are several things to consider. The location, building, staff, neighbors and nearby amenities are all important factors. Moving is expensive, and sometimes renters want to bypass purchasing renters insurance to save a few dollars a month. This may not be possible if your landlord requires renters insurance, however.
In most states, landlords can require their renters to carry insurance. Typically, landlords request this to protect other tenants. They are likely to ask that tenants carry liability insurance in case said tenant causes property damage or bodily injury to someone else. Some landlords may also request that you carry pet liability insurance if you bring a pet into the rented property. You are required to carry this insurance for the length of your rented stay. And you may be asked to present proof of renters insurance before you're able to move in. Most landlords require tenants to carry $100,000 in liability coverage.
Landlords can't make outrageous demands on how much insurance tenants must carry, though. Several states have caps on how much renters insurance landlords can require. And Oklahoma outright refuses to let landlords require insurance. Even in states without this restriction on landlords, it's possible to find a place to rent where renters insurance isn't required.
If you do purchase renters insurance, it's important to have coverage for yourself and your belongings, instead of liability alone. There are two different types of renters insurance policies:
- Specified Perils: A specified perils policy only covers damage done by incidents explicitly listed on the policy. For example, if your renters insurance policy covers "fire, theft and vandalism" it won't cover water damage — as it's not listed.
- All-Risk: All-risk policies cover named and unnamed perils, unless it's specifically excluded from the policy. Check these policies closely, as most don't cover flood damage.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
Luckily, renters insurance is relatively affordable. The average cost of renters insurance in the United States is around $15.58 a month. The states with the most expensive renters insurance are:
- Mississippi: $20.33 per month
- Louisiana: $20.17 per month
- Alabama: $19.92 per month
The cheapest states for renters insurance are:
- North Dakota: $9.58 per month
- South Dakota: $9.83 per month
- Wisconsin: $10.83 per month
Keep in mind that the cost of renters insurance varies depending on other factors, too; these include the amount of coverage (the items being covered) and claims history. Areas or structures with a history of claims tend to pay higher insurance premiums. You can purchase anywhere between $15,000-$50,000 in personal property coverage and between $100,000-$300,000 for personal liability renters insurance.
Difference Between Actual Cash Value And Replacement Cost Value
Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost Value (RCV) are ways you can receive compensation after filing a renters insurance claim. When you sign up for your policy, you can either choose ACV or RCV. With actual cash value, you will receive the cash value of the lost or damaged items. This cost includes depreciation. In other words, the value of your belongings goes down each year with normal wear and tear and market value. This means you'll receive less money than your item was originally worth. As you can imagine, this policy typically costs less than Replacement Cost Value. RCV will replace the exact item or a similar item equal in value to the one you lost.
Your landlord has no say in whether you can receive Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost Value. The only insurance a landlord typically cares about is liability, which affects other tenants. When searching for renters insurance to protect yourself and your belongings, be sure to read the coverage limits.