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Thanks for making it easy to find the cheapest renters insurance. Knowing our stuff is always protected gives me peace of mind.

Matt and Bethany, Charleston SC

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One of the last things people who rent their home or apartment think of is insurance for the personal property. The fact is it should be one of the first. Renters insurance is the best way to protect your possessions and to help deal with accidents that can occur in your home. If you live in an apartment or condo, the apartment or condo owner carries an insurance policy that covers the structure of the building, but that’s all it covers. Your belongings, your guests and the unfortunate accidents that can occur that are caused by your neighbors can affect your life in a dramatic way.

Renters insurance rates are highly competitive and now that many companies offer policies over the internet, the ease with which a renter can obtain a policy is significantly greater. The renters insurance rates charged by insurers vary by company but they all cover the same general items. Those include: fire or lightning strikes, windstorms or hail, explosions, riot or civil commotions, damages caused by automobiles or airplanes, smoke damage, vandalism or theft, falling objects and damage from ice, snow or sleet. They also cover items overflowing water or discharging steam damaging your property, damages from water heaters, air conditioners or fire protection systems. Electrical surges that damage your electronic equipment and even damages from volcanic eruptions can be included in the coverage package.

Two items that are not covered in most policies are floods and earthquakes. Most companies provide renters insurance rates to handle these occurrences in separate policies or as riders to the main policy however coverage can be added if you live in a flood plain or earthquake state such as California

Once you’ve decided on the renters insurance company who will provide the policy for you, it is important to determine which type of replacement calculation you will purchase with the policy. The two types of renters insurance rates are actual cash value and replacement cost.

Actual cash value pays only what the damaged or destroyed item was worth at the time it was destroyed. A television purchased five years ago wouldn’t be worth much as far as its actual cash value is concerned. And don’t forget, whatever the value of the item is determined to be, you aren’t going to get the full amount until after the cost of your share of the deductible is calculated

Replacement cost calculates the amount required to replace the property so that you can enjoy its use again. The deductible still applies, but you’re a lot closer to replacing that television set with a replacement cost policy than with an actual cash value policy. The area you live in will partly determine what type of coverage is available to you so be sure to check with your potential insurer as to what type of coverage they are quoting you. Replacement cost policies can be a little more expensive, but sometimes, it’s worth the additional premium to get back what you lost.

One area the renters insurance rates will be adjusted is the cost of any expensive personal items you might own. Tell your renters insurance agent about any expensive jewelry, antiques or electronics you have. Find out how much coverage those items will be receiving within the terms of the policy because many times, the policy will limit the amount that will be paid for the loss of one of these items. If the general policy won’t cover the cost of the item sufficiently, you should consider purchasing a separate polity or rider on the main policy to allow for the potential loss.

The best way to insure your renters insurance policy will cover items you own is to provide the company with a list of the property and its initial purchase price. If the items have serial numbers, it’s always good to include that in your listing. Walk through your home and videotape or photograph the items and include a copy of the video with your submission forms for the agent. Record items in garages, including expensive tools, vehicles and other valuables as these will also affect your renters insurance rates.

If an accident occurs and your apartment or home becomes uninhabitable, due to fire, flooding damage from another apartment or some other reason, your insurance policy should provide coverage that pays for additional living expenses. Relocating temporarily to another apartment or having to stay at a hotel or motel can be expensive and the policy should have provisions included which help cover these costs.

Other liabilities exist for which you should make sure you have coverage. If someone slips and falls in your apartment or home, you are liable and your policy should clearly specify what amounts will be paid in the event of an accident. Additionally, if the injured party sues you, you should be covered for what they might win in a court judgment as well as the attorney’s fees and expenses, up to your policy limit.

Renters insurance rates are always affected by factors like where you live, the amount of the deductible you’ve chosen, your experience with prior policies, your credit rating and the company providing the policy. You can control some of these costs, but it might prove difficult because the rental policy contents insurance coverage will dictate how much a company will have to charge. For this reason, it is important to shop around, compare policies and insurance companies. Highly rated companies charge a little more for their policies and provide better service. A lower rated company might be difficult to deal with in the event you have to file a claim. Try to stick with nationally recognized insurance providers when exploring renters insurance rates as they have the largest group of policy holders to spread the cost and the risk over.

Take advantage of discounts many policy providers offer for having and maintaining fire detectors and smoke alarms. Burglar alarms and fire extinguishers can also help bring down the cost of your renters insurance rates. Some companies offer Senior citizen discounts for policyholders aged 55 and older and many companies offer discounts for multiple policies that cover both auto and home policies.