When renting an apartment, townhouse, condo or home, you might not realize how vital it is to have renters insurance. Sure, your landlord has insurance, but that policy likely only covers the structure of the building. This means that if anything happens to your belongings inside your rented space, you’ll have to pay to replace everything on your own.
Renters insurance is affordable and will protect your belongings from perils such as fire, wind or theft. It’s important to shop around for your renters insurance policy to ensure that you’re getting the best deal — and that doesn’t just mean the lowest price. You have to make sure you have the coverage you need, as well as a low price.
It’s equally important to ask about discounts. Different providers offer varying discounts, but all offer price reductions for safety features. When you’ve taken steps to reduce the risk of a disaster occurring in your pad, you’re a safer bet for insurance companies.
Two main types of safety features can help you earn these coveted discounts.
Warm up to fire protection
There were 1.24 million fires in 2013, resulting in $11.5 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. A home structure fire occurred every 85 seconds.
To better protect your rental from fires and receive discounts, consider implementing the following additions to your home:
- Smoke detectors. If your landlord hasn’t already installed smoke detectors, talk to him about doing so. Smoke detectors will not only alert you to a fire quicker, allowing you to put it out and minimize property damage, but they also alert everyone in the space to get to a safe exterior location, which reduces injuries, deaths and liability claims as a result.
- Fire extinguishers. If you have a fire extinguisher that’s working like a well-oiled machine, you’ll be able to nip a fire in the bud and keep it from spreading to your other possessions.
- Sprinkler system. A sprinkler system can be activated and put out a fire even when you’re not home.
These safety features are small additions that can save you significantly, both in terms of protecting your valuables and lowering the price of your policies.
If your rented space is already equipped with them, ask your insurance provider about discounts. If it isn’t, talk to your landlord about making the investment of installing such safety measures in your abode. Having those safety features could save her on her property insurance as well.
The most recent statistics from the FBI reported nearly 2,159,878 burglaries, resulting in roughly $4.6 billion in property loss. A burglary doesn’t necessarily mean forced entry, but it’s best to take steps to protect yourself and your family from potential break-ins. The best ways to accomplish this are:
- Deadbolts. Deadbolts add an extra line of defense in the event that a burglar can pick the locks on your doors. Safe neighborhoods still have occurrences of crime, and if you live in an apartment complex, the high volume of foot traffic increases the chances of a break-in. Adding deadbolts to front, back, or side doors will make it easier for you and your insurance carrier to have peace of mind.
- Security systems. A security system can include a burglar alarm, video cameras and other forms of surveillance. Having around-the-clock security can alert tenants and authorities to harm, and prevent the loss of property. If this option interests you, just make sure to set it each time you leave your home — a security system can’t help you if it’s not turned on.
- Choose a safe neighborhood. When looking for a place to live, call your local police station to find out which parts of town have the lowest crime rates. It’s simple — living in a safer part of town decreases the chances of your home being burglarized.
Get the benefit
Because all of these options make your home safer, insurance companies can provide discounts to acknowledge the efforts you’ve made.
However, before investing in all of these safety measures for your rented home, talk to your landlord and insurance carrier. Check that you are able to add them, and that your premium will decrease before you spend the money to install a security system.
This article originally appeared on Zillow.com.