If you rent, remember that a landlord's insurance doesn't cover your belongings.

Renters insurance costs an average of $188 a year, or about $16 a month, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' 2017 home insurance report. That price makes renters insurance an affordable way to insure all your belongings and a smart personal finance decision. The most expensive states for renters insurance are in the South: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

The average renters insurance cost varies by where you live and the amount of coverage you buy. You want to purchase an amount that will provide enough money to replace all of your possessions in a worst-case scenario, like a devastating fire or tornado. Remember, a landlord's insurance covers the building structure but none of your belongings. You, with the help of renters insurance, would need to replace everything you own, from clothes to furniture to pots and pans.

Use the interactive map below to see average cost of renters insurance by state and amount of coverage.

How much is renters insurance?

 

Average monthly renters insurance cost

 

How much renters insurance do you need?

Allstate estimates the average value of a renter's belongings at about $30,000, based on a standard two-room apartment. That's a good starting point, but to avoid buying too much or too little insurance, it's best to calculate how much it would cost to replace your specific possessions.

You can do that by:

  • Making a home inventory, which is a log of what you own and the estimated cost to replace each item.
  • Using an online calculator such as Allstate's What's your stuff worth? estimator.

Renters insurance companies typically offer two ways to get reimbursed if you have a claim:

  • Replacement cost, which reimburses you for the cost of new items, up to your coverage limit.
  • Actual cash value, which reimburses you for the depreciated value of belongings, not new items, up to your coverage limit.

An actual cash value renters insurance policy generally costs less because claim checks will be smaller. However, with a replacement cost policy you won't have to worry about spending your own money to make up the difference between depreciated value and new stuff.

   More: What does renters insurance cover?

Factors used in renters insurance cost

Renters insurance rates are typically based on:

  • The coverage amount needed
  • The deductible amount chosen (that's the amount deducted from a claims check), such as $500 or $1,000
  • Whether you chose replacement cost or actual cash value
  • Where you live
  • Your credit, except in states that ban use of credit in renters insurance
  • Your past claims on renters insurance

Ways to save on renters insurance costs

  • Buy your auto and renters insurance from the same company for a "bundling" discount.
  • Get renters insurance quotes from a few companies to compare prices.
  • Choose a higher deductible, which means lower premiums because you'll get less in the event you make a claim.
  • Ask your agent about discounts, such savings for having fire alarms, burglar alarms, or using auto pay.