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What determines your renters insurance rate?

Actuarial data for car insurance carriers is much more nuanced than it is for renters insurance, which only uses a handful of ranking factors.

Nevertheless, it’s still helpful to know which numbers the carriers are chomping behind the scenes so you can hopefully save money on renters insurance going forward.

1) How much stuff you have. The more personal property you own, the more coverage you need to replace it. This is the main driver of how much a renters policy will cost.

2) Zip code. As anyone who has ever apartment searched can tell you, not all zip codes were created equal. Some clearly have a greater incidence of theft than others do.

3) Do you mind a higher deductible? If you’re willing to have a higher deductible than you’ll pay less each month. For example if you opt for a $1000 deductible and your apartment suffers a fire, you’ll be responsible for the first $1000 of stuff lost. If that sounds like a lot -- and it may, for example you might want it to be a lot less, to protect your iPhone from getting stolen from your car -- you can drop that number down, but pay what is essentially the difference each month in higher premiums.

4) Previous claims. Have you had any renters claims in the past? If so expect a higher premium. Some companies will not sell you a new policy if you have had claims in the past 3-5 years

5) Credit. A qualifying factor at the very least; some companies may decline your business for low insurance (credit) scores, though it is unlikely to change your premiums.

6) Personal liability limits. Let's say someone comes over your house and trips and tears up his knee. You could be on the hook for that injury. You can insure yourself against such suits from anywhere between $25,000 to a million dollars of coverage. Obviously the more coverage you buy, the more expensive it will be each month.

7) Bundling. Carriers want your business, and more of it. If you bundle your auto and renters insurance you can save up to 15% on both via a multi-line discount.

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