Whether you're an executive renting a condo in a Milwaukee high-rise, a new parent leasing a house in Eau Claire, or a college student living in an off-campus apartment near the University of Wisconsin, it is a good idea to cover your property and your finances with a good renters insurance policy.
When you are looking for an ideal policy, a local independent agent can help. These agents work for you, not for a particular insurance company, so they are free to obtain customized quotes from some of the best renters insurance companies in Wisconsin. Contact an independent insurance agent near you to learn more.
Is Renters Insurance Required in Wisconsin?
There are no state laws requiring tenants to have renters insurance. However, in some rare instances, landlords will require their tenants to carry coverage. Whether or not it is required by your landlord, renters insurance is almost always a good idea.
Sadly, only about half of all renters in the US have a policy. One reason so many people forego this coverage is due to misperceptions about cost. In Wisconsin, for instance, tenants pay an average of $856 per month in rent, and 40% of renters spend more than a third of their income on rent and utilities.
It is therefore understandable that these people don’t want to add to their housing costs by purchasing an optional policy. But renters insurance is surprisingly affordable and well worth the cost.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in Wisconsin?
The average renters insurance policy in Wisconsin costs just $134 a year, which is only about $11 a month. You can easily spend more than that on a single lunch. Factors that can make your actual cost higher or lower than this average amount include:
- The estimated value of your personal property
- The amount of liability coverage you want to purchase
- The crime rate and weather risks where your rental home is located
- Your claims history and credit score
- The size of your deductible
- Whether you are bundling your renters insurance with another policy like car insurance
When you take the time to compare quotes from a few different insurance companies, you can rest assured that the policy you are buying is offered at a competitive price. Independent agents make comparison shopping easy.
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What Does Renters Insurance Cover in Wisconsin?
Renters insurance is designed to protect your finances with three important types of coverage. These include:
- Contents insurance: This can pay for repair or replacement costs if your personal belongings are lost or damaged by a covered event such as:
- Property crime, like burglary and vandalism
- Fire, whether it is caused by a lightning strike or a wildfire, or is accidentally started in your own home or a neighboring unit
- Severe weather, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, windstorms, heavy snows, and prolonged freezing temperatures
- Renters liability insurance: This can cover your financial responsibilities and associated costs if you accidentally cause injuries, property damage, or financial harm to others. It can cover you against things like:
- Injuries caused by your pets, particularly dog bites
- Accidental injuries sustained by visitors in your home that can be attributed to negligence on your part
- Accidental injuries you may have caused to others while away from home, such as while riding an ATV
- Accusations of libel or slander
- Loss of use insurance: This can pay for your temporary living expenses if a covered event like a fire or a tornado severely damages your home and you must seek alternate accommodations while repairs are made. It can cover things like:
- The cost of a hotel or temporary rental home
- Meals, if your accommodations do not include a kitchen
- Moving expenses and storage fees
- Mileage reimbursement, if you must drive further to and from work
- Pet boarding costs, if needed
When you are purchasing your contents coverage, you may be asked to choose between actual value and replacement cost coverage.
Actual value coverage is less expensive but will only reimburse you the actual, depreciated value of your property. Replacement cost coverage will provide sufficient funding to replace lost property with new, comparable items.
What about Coverage against Floods in Wisconsin?
Although renters insurance covers against severe storms, it does not pay for damage caused by floods, which may result from heavy rains and storm surges off Lakes Michigan and Superior.
This can be problematic considering that more than one in ten properties in the state of Wisconsin have at least a 26% chance of sustaining significant flood damage over the next 20 years.
If the home you are renting is impacted by a flood, your landlord will be responsible for covering damage to the structure of your home, but you need to cover your own personal property.
Flood damage can be extremely expensive. If you live in a ground-floor apartment or rent a house in a flood prone area, you may be at risk. Fortunately, you can supplement your renters insurance policy with flood insurance.
Affordable contents-only policies are available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a program that is administrated by FEMA.
Why Work with an Independent Agent in Wisconsin?
When you are shopping for renters insurance, local independent agents can help. These agents can explain what your policy will and will not cover, help you determine how much coverage to buy, and find you a great policy at a competitive price. Best of all, talking to an independent insurance agent is free.
Arrange an obligation-free consultation with an independent insurance agent near you to start comparing policies and customized quotes from some of the best renters insurance companies in Wisconsin.