When the rent is too damn high, can New Yorkers get cheap renters insurance?

New York is rightly known as one of the most expensive cities to live in. When the cost of living is high, it’s easy to let some expenses go…but renters insurance shouldn’t be one of them! Sadly, most renters in NYC are forgoing an inexpensive, potentially life-saving service.

While it’s true that crime rates are lower in New York than other cities, theft isn’t the only danger renters face. Hurricanes, burst pipes, residential fires could all spell disaster. And no, your landlord may not be liable for damages.

For around $20 a month, you could protect yourself from catastrophic loss. Read on to learn more about renters insurance and how to get the best cheap renters insurance in New York City.

Looking to save even more on your insurance costs? Check out Insurify. Compare quotes for home and auto insurance in minutes. Shop today!

Getting Cheap Renters Insurance in New York City

It’s easier than you think!

How much does renters insurance cost in NYC? 

The average cost of renters insurance in NYC isn’t necessarily the best way to gauge what you will pay. New York is host to a diverse bunch of renters, each with unique needs. Costs vary based on:

  • Coverage limits 
  • Neighborhood 
  • Deductible
  • Riders
  • Discounts

You should expect to pay anywhere from $130 to $280 a year or more for renters insurance, depending on your needs.

How do I get the cheapest renters insurance in NYC?

The best way to get cheap renters insurance is by comparison shopping. You’ll need to gather renters insurance quotes from four to six companies. But, before you run to competitor websites, you should lay some groundwork:

  • Make a list of everything you own
  • Decide how much liability protection you need
  • Make a list of features you’ll need from your insurance company

Laying the groundwork beforehand means you’ll be looking for the right amount of insurance. Plus, it helps you narrow your options, especially when choosing between two similarly priced companies.

How do I lower my renters insurance costs in NYC?

In a word, discounts. Discounts are your best friend when it comes to insurance, period. Here’s a list of common discounts for renters:

  • Bundling or multi-policy 
  • Paperless
  • Automatic payments
  • Pay-in-full
  • Advance purchase
  • Fire alarm or smoke alarm
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Deadbolt locks
  • Burglar alarm system
  • Gated community
  • Security guard
  • Military affiliation
  • Employer affiliation

If you’re that rare breed of NYC driver, bundling with your auto policy is hands down the easiest way to get a significant discount. Some companies offer as much as 25 percent! Check out top car insurance rates and bundling opportunities with Insurify.

Don’t have a car? Try bundling your policy with a life insurance plan. Many companies offer multi-product discounts, even if those policies aren’t necessarily compatible.

Best Renters Insurance Companies in New York City

To get you started, here is a list of some of the best renters insurance providers in New York City:

  • State Farm
  • Allstate
  • Travelers
  • Progressive
  • Chubb
  • Lemonade
  • Nationwide

Learn more about these companies’ wide range of insurance products on the Insurify blog.

Is renters insurance required in NYC?

No, renters insurance is not required in New York City. However, landlords can still ask tenants to purchase and maintain a renters insurance policy. We recommend carrying renters insurance even if you aren’t required to. Policies are inexpensive and can save you tens of thousands of dollars when things go wrong.

What does renters insurance cover?

Many renters assume that their landlord will pay for damages, but this is faulty logic. Landlords must be found responsible for the damage done to personal property in order to have to pay. So a fire started by your downstairs neighbor will not be covered by landlord insurance.

That’s why it’s so important to purchase adequate insurance! Renters insurance protects you from financial loss in three specific ways:

Personal Property Coverage 

This component protects your personal belongings from named perils. Also known as covered loss, the term named perils is industry-speak for hazards that result in the loss of your stuff. Common named perils include:

  • Theft 
  • Vandalism
  • Water damage

Some perils, like floods and earthquakes, require special coverage options called riders. Each rider increases the cost of insurance, so don’t add anything that doesn’t pose the threat of loss.

But also don’t forgo coverage for perils common to your area!

Personal Liability Coverage

This component protects you when you’re responsible for someone else’s loss. Common situations where personal liability coverage helps you include:

  • Slip and fall
  • Dog bites (with some breed restrictions)
  • Damage to a neighbor’s property

Personal liability protection covers all medical bills, litigation, and other expenses up to the limits specified in your renters policy.

Loss of Use Coverage

When you can’t stay in your home after a disaster, things get expensive. Also known as additional living expenses, this component covers things like extra gas money, groceries, and the cost of a hotel. Basically, anything that costs more because you can’t be at home is covered here. 

Renters Insurance Coverage Options

One of the great things about renters insurance is its level of personalization. Renters should make adjustments based on their specific needs and risks. Options include:

Raising or Lowering Claims Limits

Each component of your rental policy will have a claim limit attached to it. For example:

  • $20,000 for personal property coverage
  • $100,000 for personal liability coverage
  • $5,000 for loss of use

You can adjust these limits based on your needs. An increase in your limits will also increase your cost while lowering your limits will reduce your costs.

Raising or Lowering a Deductible

Your deductible is what you agree to pay out of pocket in the event of an insurance claim. For example, a deductible of $500 means you’ll pay $500 to replace your stolen property, and your insurance company pays whatever’s left over.

A higher deductible means lower premium costs, and a lower deductible means higher premium costs. Never raise your deductible to more than you can afford in an emergency. 

Actual or Replacement Value

You will need to specify if your policy covers you for the actual value of the property at the time of loss or for the cost to replace the property. If your policy covers the actual value, it will be less expensive. But it also means that if your computer costs $1,000 to replace, yet has an actual value of $300, you’ll receive $300 from your insurance company. 

Evaluate your needs carefully! A little extra now could save you thousands later. 

Adding Riders to Renters Insurance

Many perils are not standard in a renters insurance policy. But, you can add riders to protect yourself. Common riders you should consider:

  • Flood insurance
  • Earthquake and sinkhole insurance
  • Identity theft restoration
  • Bed bug insurance

Consider the add-ons you need carefully. Don’t omit anything essential!

Renters Insurance in NYC: Here’s what people are saying…

Several renters insurance companies come recommended by New Yorkers:

Best Renters Insurance? from r/AskNYC

And an entire Reddit thread is devoted to the new(er) company Lemonade:

Lemonade for Renter’s Insurance? from r/AskNYC

As the saying goes: hindsight is 20/20. Here are a few situations where a renters insurance policy would have been really, really nice to have:

NYC. Flash floods caused basement to flood with raw sewage. No renters insurance. Are we screwed? from r/legaladvice

And here’s a Quora thread dealing with tenants’ rights and fire damage.

Every seasoned New Yorker knows that the landlord can be make-or-break.

So, here’s a pro-tip for avoiding a terrible landlord: Look up the Property Profile Overview on the NYC Department of Buildings website by entering the street number, street name, and borough.

Don’t forget to add bedbugs to your list of named perils!

We have bedbugs in our apartment and I don’t believe the Landlord’s exterminator can/will really solve the problem, what can I do? (Brooklyn, NYC) from r/legaladvice

If you’ve negotiated to have a broker’s fees covered with relocation costs, you will soon be able to remove that rider. Woohoo!

New York City Renters Insurance FAQ

Which company has the cheapest renters insurance in New York City?

No company is the end-all-be-all of cheap renters insurance. It's true that some companies tend to be less expensive. But, the cheapest company for you depends on your profile. The best way to get cheap renters insurance is by combining it with your car insurance policy.  But in a city like New York, cars are rare. New Yorkers can consider combining with other property insurance or even life insurance. And don’t forget to comparison shop along the way!

Which company has the best renters insurance in New York City?

Every renters insurance company is different. The best policy for you will depend on your preferences. For instance, one company that offers an easy-to-use app that allows you to upload pictures of your damaged belongings may be more worth it than another that is $20 cheaper annually but doesn’t have an app or easy-to-use website. What is your first priority—cost, customer service, claims experience? Knowing your preferences before you buy makes it easier to choose the best company.

How do I compare renters insurance?

After figuring out your insurance needs, you can compare quotes from companies. This is easy to do with a spreadsheet! Make a list of companies you’ll get quotes from. Make note of any perks, discounts, or drawbacks to using each company. Then get a quote from each company and put that into the spreadsheet. Many companies allow you to get a quote online or over the phone.  Once you have a list of four to six companies, you can compare each. Choose the company that best fits your needs, preferences, and budget. 

Conclusion: The best way to save on your insurance costs

The best way to save is by comparison shopping. That means evaluating your needs and discovering the best solution for you. While it may take time, thoughtful planning is the best strategy to reach financial goals!

Your unique insurance profile doesn’t end with renters insurance. Check out the Insurify blog to learn more about getting the right coverage for you…without breaking the bank. And be sure to tell your driving or non-renting friends and family to use Insurify to compare auto and home insurance quotes in mere minutes!

Browse, Compare, Discover today with Insurify!

Updated March 23, 2020

J.J. Starr is a financial copywriter and enjoys helping readers find the information they need. In addition to her background in banking and financial advising, she is also a poet with an MFA from New York University. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. You can learn more at jjstarrwrites.com.