Negotiate the Best Rate

Naturally, you want the best price you can get for your renters insurance. There are a number of ways you can reduce the insurance price. While the agent you deal with may suggest some of these alternatives, it's in your best interest to be prepared. Make a checklist of every possible way to reduce your premium, and ask the agent specifics, and always get insurance quotes from several companies.

The list should also include information that the agent is likely to need. How close is the nearest fire hydrant? How many square feet is your rental, excluding basement and bathrooms? Note whether your landlord has provided smoke/ fire alarms or simply fire alarms. Do you have a burglar alarm? If you've ever had an insurance claim on your renters policy, review the time frame. You'll be asked if you've had a claim within a specific time period.

Have a firm grasp of terminology. Review the difference between actual cash value and replacement value types of policy. Just because actual cash value insurance will cost less, doesn't necessarily mean it's the best deal for you. Know what deductible you'd be comfortable with, keeping in mind that while it's all theoretical now, should you need to make a claim you'll have to have the cash to cover the deductible amount. If you've selected a policy with a $2,000 deductible, can you realistically cover that amount?

Consider how much risk you're willing to take on. If you've inherited your grandfather's collection of civil war paraphernalia or treasure your one of a kind electric guitar, do consider the small additional cost of a rider to cover the value of these things. It won't get you the cheapest policy, but for your specific situation it might be a better choice.

Remember that the cost of your insurance might also be reduced if you go with a company who already insures your health, life, business or other property. However, don't just assume this will be the case; while your existing company may reduce what they normally charge because you have multiple policies with them, they still may not be as low as another company. A further deduction might be offered if you agree to pay the annual premium all at once. If you can't afford that, setting up an automatic draft from your bank account or credit card might net a few additional dollars.

Do ask your friends, business associates, and acquaintances who they've used and how satisfied they've been. And of course, review any quote you are given very carefully to make certain there are no fees or costs that have been added in without discussion.

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