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When determining which renters insurance to choose, it’s important to consider the track record and financial solvency of the various renters insurance carriers. Tenants need to know that if they have a claim, that claim will be easy to submit and will be subsequently processed in a timely and professional manner.
To compile our list of the best renters insurance carriers, we went to an expert in ranking companies and services -- J. D. Power. With decades of experience in customer-focused research, J. D. Power is the most trusted name in evaluating and comparing products and services for the benefit of the consumer.
What factors determine how good an insurance carrier is?
Many of your tenants may be unsure how to choose among the various insurance carriers. They may choose based on who has the most clever television commercial or who comes up first when Googling “renters insurance.”
However, it is important to base the choice of an insurer on real factors that impact the quality of the service provided. Insurance is something that is purchased in the hope that it will never be needed, but it is vital to make sure that it will be there in case a claim is ever required.
The overall customer experience provided was the single most important determinant of whether or not a renter or homeowner would renew with their insurance carrier at 67% of customers surveyed. Basing the choice of an insurer on those with a reputation for excellent customer care translates into ongoing customer satisfaction.
For renters, price is the biggest motivator in determining their initial choice of an insurance carrier. Because renters are more price-sensitive, it is important to give them an array of solid choices at a low price point.
For Millennials, in particular, excellent service throughout the lifecycle of the insurance product -- from initial purchase through the claims process and policy renewal -- makes a big difference. While renters insurance customers are price-sensitive, they expect excellent service along with affordability.
Smart homes and technology
Insurer-provided tools -- including those used to sign up and manage the account as well as to inventory the customer’s furnishings and other possessions -- translate to better engagement with the insurer. This gives clients an opportunity to interact and experience value-added services that are so important to customer satisfaction.
Here are some of the country’s best renters insurance carriers:
Lemonade is the top-ranked insurance carrier in America, offering on-demand coverage and a variety of convenient tech tools to facilitate accurate valuations. In addition, their prices are among the most affordable, with renters insurance premiums starting at $5 per month. For budget-minded, tech-focused Millennial and Gen-Z renters in J. D. Powers report, Lemonade offers everything they’re looking for.
With an emphasis on customer care and affordability, Erie is a top-ranked insurance company for the twelve states it serves -- Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin — plus the District of Columbia.
Allstate offers an emphasis on affordability, a streamlined process to facilitate application and inventory, and a high level of customer satisfaction. They also offer discounts for customers who bundle their renters and auto insurance policies.
American Family operates in 17 states, including Arizona, Kansas, Ohio, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Idaho Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois, Nebraska, Utah, Indiana, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota. They offer discounts for autopay, paperless billing, and bundling.
Farmers offers specialty options to protect against identity theft and to provide for the replacement of electronic devices if stolen. They also offer discounts for smoke-free homes, alarm systems, and multiple policies.
Auto Club of Southern California (AAA)
With services in 14 states -- Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin -- plus Puerto Rico, AAA offers coverage for a wide variety of circumstances with an emphasis on affordability.
State Farm is known for its individual, local State Farm agents who provide individualized customer service along with comprehensive coverage. Quotes can be impacted by insurance history, safety features, and fire protection features, as well as high-priced items like jewelry and electronics.
Progressive offers some interesting additional features including riders that provide extra coverage for jewelry or artwork as well as optional coverage for water damage caused by backed-up sump pumps or sewage and personal injury coverage which pays legal fees for lawsuits resulting from accusations of slander or libel.
Nationwide offers a complimentary annual On Your Side® Review to help policyholders review their coverage and determine if they have additional needs. In addition, they provide discounts for multi-policy, protective devices, and claims-free insurance history.
Liberty Mutual offers low-cost (as little as $5) coverage and an emphasis on customization options. This allows renters to create coverage that is right for their particular needs and allows them to pick and choose among different levels of coverage in order to fit their budget.
The Hartford offers a renters insurance policy in partnership with AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons). Renters insurance cost through The Hartford is determined by a variety of factors including geographic region, coverage types, and insurance or credit score. Discounts are available for renewals and for customers with 24-hour security.
Travelers offer a variety of options and discounts including those for multiple policyholders, claim-free customers, and those with protective devices including smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, security systems, and smart home devices that alert the homeowner in the event of a fire or burglary.
USAA is available only to members of the military and their immediate family members. USAA’s renters insurance policy is more generous than others in some regards but limits coverage for damage caused by pets, insects, and water leaks. In addition, it does not cover items belonging to roommates, so each roommate will need his or her own coverage.
Find out how to find the best renters insurance carrier
For renters who are trying to find the right renters insurance coverage, there are many ways to gather information and to determine which policy will provide the satisfaction they are looking for. Since cost tends to be low across all of the carriers, a dollar-for-dollar comparison isn’t necessarily a determining factor.
Here are some other things to take into consideration:
Talk to friends and family members for references
One of the best ways tenants can find affordable, reliable coverage is by checking with friends and family members for recommendations. It is especially helpful to ask referring friends if they have ever had to make a claim as this will give insight into the company’s process and how helpful their agent was throughout.
Use an existing insurance carrier to qualify for bundled, multi-policy discounts
Most insurance carriers offer discounts when customers bundle their renters insurance policy with auto or life insurance policies. When comparing coverage and prices, tenants should be sure to ask for the bundled price as it may be worthwhile to switch both auto insurance and renter’s insurance if more comprehensive coverage and a better, bundled price is found.
Compare coverage options for special circumstances
Coverage can vary just as coverage needs can vary. For example, most policies do not include flood insurance though they may include various levels of coverage for water damage. Others may charge different prices according to local market conditions while others may offer a flat base price no matter where your tenant resides.
Still other insurers offer special coverage riders to provide a range of options depending on individual circumstances.
Check for discounts from organizations or employers
There are many ways to find discounted coverage. Often a potential customer can check for discounts depending on membership in an organization, like the alumni association at their alma mater or a sorority or fraternity of which they are a member. Tenants may be able to get discounts through their employer or through a professional association. Part of comparison shopping should involve asking for a list of discounts and looking for any that might be applicable.
Determine whether you want local or centralized service
Some people like the security and reassurance of a trusted local insurance agent who’ll be there in the aftermath of damage or disaster. For others, a centralized, 24-hour service with highly functional online and mobile applications offering on-the-go policy management and claim submission is a better option. As your tenant is comparing renters insurance carriers, they should first determine which of these offers the service they would prefer.
Compare tech options and infrastructure
Some insurance carriers offer on-demand, instant quotes while others require an agent to evaluate and communicate the cost of a new policy. Some offer mobile claims with photos sent from the customer’s cell phone while others send an agent to evaluate the claim in person. Customers should evaluate their renters insurance policy based on the services that are most important to them.
Can you require tenants to maintain renters insurance?
While tenants are not required by law to purchase and maintain renters insurance, the landlord can require tenants to carry renters insurance. In addition, you may be able to include a minimum liability coverage requirement in your lease.
Why is it worth your while to include a renter’s insurance requirement in the lease?
- Renters insurance lowers the liability of the landlord in the event of an injury in the home. If your tenant has a guest who falls or has property damaged while in the rental property, the injured party may seek compensation from the landlord. Renters insurance takes priority in any legal proceedings that follow and helps to protect the owner from court costs associated with these types of claims.
- Renters insurance keeps tenants from seeking damages or redress for personal property destroyed in the event of a fire or natural disaster. Many tenants do not realize that the property owner is not responsible for their personal possessions or, in some states, from making provision for displaced tenants in the event of structural damage to the property. Renters insurance helps to make sure that tenants are taken care of in adverse circumstances.
- Renters insurance may offer coverage for the landlord’s deductible in the event that the tenant causes fire or water damage through their neglect or error. This helps to offset the costs that the landlord will incur due to structural damage while compensating the renter for damage to their personal property.
From your perspective as a rental agent or property manager, you’ll want to be able to track whether tenants are regularly renewing their coverage. In order to do this, you may require them to submit proof of insurance on a regular basis. They can obtain a verification letter outlining their coverage from their carrier.
RentSpree has partnered with Sure to provide a fast and efficient process for landlords and property managers to share with tenants. There they’ll find on-demand quotes and easy sign-up for renters insurance policies. Afterwards, rental agents and property managers can check for ongoing policy coverage right from the RentSpree dashboard for maximum convenience and reliability.