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It’s hard to deny the appeal of Chicago — the culture, the sports teams and the deep dish pizza. And with 2.7 million Americans now calling Chicago home, this beloved Midwestern city continues to draw in more people each year. This also means increased rental housing and a greater demand for renters insurance in Chicago. While renters insurance may not be the compelling reason people flock to Chicago, it is still a much-needed financial tool for Chicagoans.
Thankfully, renters insurance remains affordable in the Windy City, and we used our SimpleScore methodology to compare prices and features of both national and local renters insurance companies in Chicago.
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The best renters insurance companies in Chicago, Illinois
If you thought all renters insurance was boring and predictable, think again. Lemonade is an online-only insurance company offering the convenience of digital tools and low premiums for renters. Plus, your personal belongings are insured anywhere in the world, whether it’s a friend’s apartment in Paris or a storage unit in Wicker Park. If you’re looking for a basic renters insurance policy, coverage through Lemonade costs as little as $5 per month.
Another standout feature of Lemonade is how it operates with an entirely different business model versus other providers. Once Lemonade pays out expenses and claims, any leftover money is donated to charity.
The renters insurance through State Farm offers the standard protections, including personal property, loss of use, inflation coverage and liability — plus a range of additional options and discounts. You can even add coverage for specialty items, such as cyber events, to round out your policy.
Nationwide offers numerous policy options, including coverage for damage to personal property and contents from events like fire, lightning, windstorms, hail, frozen plumbing, theft, vandalism or even vehicle impacts. Personal liability, medical payments to others and building alterations are included in policies, too. Your Chicago renters insurance policy from Nationwide covers unauthorized credit card charges and forged checks, which isn’t standard with other carriers.
You can further customize your policy with Nationwide with add-ons such as Valuables Plus (for your high-value items not covered by a basic policy), water damage, theft extension and Brand New Belongings coverage.
Erie requires customers to work through a local agent for all quotes and policy purchases, but Erie continues to receive some of the highest overall customer satisfaction ratings for renters insurance, indicating this approach works. Erie offers basic coverages for renters insurance, but allows you to customize your policy extensively with options such as full value replacement and disaster protection.
Other policy add-ons include sewage and drain backup coverage, earthquake and watercraft damage. If you bundle with an auto policy with Erie you can save an additional 20%, which can offset the additional cost of your renters insurance.
Best coverage for high-value items – COUNTRY Financial
Country Financial is an A+ AM Best-rated carrier offering renters insurance to Chicagoans. You can expect the multiple policy coverage options and discounts from this regional carrier. It’s worth noting while Country Financial is not named in the JD Power 2020 Home Insurance Overall Customer Satisfaction rankings for renters insurance, Country Financial does score the highest marks for the homeowners insurance ratings — earning 855 on a 1,000-point scale.
Country Financial offers the standard renters coverage, such as personal belonging protection and liability. But you can customize your policy with add-ons such as identity theft, flood insurance and earthquake coverage. The high-value coverage is available for a wide variety of items, including watercraft, jewelry and recreational motor vehicles.
Choosing your provider
When choosing the best renters insurance in Chicago, it’s best to compare policies and quotes from several providers, including national and local carriers if possible. Sure, price is an important factor, but comparing coverage options and customer service response to your policy are equally important.
Understand the unique challenges of local market
Strong customer service record
Use of a local agent network
Lack of digital assets
Multiple coverage and discount options
Numerous digital assets
Not as personalized
How much does renters insurance cost in Chicago?
For less than the price of a large deep dish pizza per month, you can protect your personal belongings against damage and personal injury with renters insurance. The national average for renters insurance is $180 per year, but Illinois falls well below the average at $167 per year.
The rate for renters insurance one Chicagoan pays versus another is impacted by a number of factors, in addition to location. Factors such as the value of your personal belongings, how much personal injury coverage you need and other options you select will all affect the price of your Chicago renters insurance policy.
What you need to know about renters insurance in Chicago
A basic renters insurance provides coverage in several areas, including:
Personal property coverage: This coverage protects personal items inside your rental and in other locations, such as a storage unit or inside your car.
Liability coverage:This coverage helps pay for the cost of lawsuits and your defense if you are involved in an accident or incident that harms others or causes property damage.
Medical payments to others: Pays a guest’s medical costs if they’re injured while visiting you in your rental property.
Loss of use: This coverage pays for your expenses to live elsewhere if your rental becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril or loss.
Frozen water and blizzard coverage in Chicago
Renters in Chicago might be concerned about damage from frozen water and blizzards and if renters insurance covers damage from these perils. Damage from hail, wind and storms is typically covered in a renters policy, but it’s important to make sure it includes frozen water and blizzards in the list of covered perils. If it’s not, consider adding this supplemental coverage to your policy.
No, renters insurance is not legally required in Chicago. However, your landlord can require you to carry renters insurance in order to sign a leasing agreement.
The average cost of renters insurance in Illinois is about $167 per year, but Chicagoans may pay more than that due to location. Furthermore, the price of renters insurance in Chicago can vary depending on several factors, including how much personal injury coverage you choose, add-ons to your policy and the replacement value you select for personal belongings.
Lemonade offers the lowest premiums, starting at $5 per month, and provides easy sign up for coverage through an app or online. In addition to renters insurance with Lemonade, you can customize your policy by adding selections such as a no-deductible option or pet insurance.
Too long, didn’t read?
Renting in Chicago continues to be a popular option for housing. Renters insurance provides coverage for personal belongings and personal injury for residents of the Windy City at an affordable rate — as little as $5 per month in some cases. Make sure to get the right amount of coverage for living in Chicago, and confirm the list of perils covered by your renters insurance, including damage from frozen water and blizzards.
We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the insurers we recommend. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.
The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar. For every review, our editorial team:
Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore™
Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our renters insurance reviews.
Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?
To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.
However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare State Farm’s home insurance according to our criteria for the best home insurance, it scores a 3.8 out of 5. But when we compare State Farm according to the criteria for the best auto insurance, it scores higher, since the features the company offers can vary by the type of insurance.
We awarded higher scores to insurance providers with more discounts available on their website.
We gave providers with more renter insurance coverage options a higher score because they’re more likely to have a policy that best meets your needs.
We awarded higher scores to renters insurance providers with the most channels for customer support.
We leveraged the J.D. Power Home Insurance Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each insurance provider. (If a provider wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)
We awarded higher scores to insurance providers that have more online and mobile features to easily manage your policy and claims.
Sara Coleman is a personal finance journalist based in Charlotte, NC. A journalism major who studied at the University of Georgia, she enjoys creating approachable content. She’s written for sites such as The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, WorkingMother, BetterYouMag and SmartMoneyMamas. She loves spending time with her husband and three kids, and has a healthy obsession with coffee.
Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and debt consolidation loans. She is a former writer and contributing editor to Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, and elsewhere.