What is a deductible in renters insurance?

Key Takeaway
Your insurance deductible is how much you have to pay out of pocket before your full coverage kicks in. When choosing the right deductible, weigh your financial circumstances and risk tolerance. Read below for strategies to pick the best renters insurance deductible option for you and real-world examples of how deductibles work.

You might have seen 'deductible' somewhere and want to know more. Here is the right place to get everything about it.

To help you get a better understanding of renters insurance, Homebody created this comprehensive guide to answer "What is a deductible in renters insurance?" how to save money on your deductible, and much more. 

The next section will help you scratch the surface as DJ Khalid does on his turntable.  Let's begin! 

What's a Deductible in Renters Insurance?

For all insurance policies, a deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket before your insurer covers your claimed damages and losses. It is that simple.

If you can't pay your "this deductible", your policy won't cover damages or liability issues.

This indicated that a deductible works a pretty big deal when you're looking to return to normal after an accident.

Do you understand what deductible is now? Here are a few things to know about deductibles -  thanks to Homebody.

Premiums and your deductible

When selecting a renters insurance policy, you typically can choose an insurance rate and a deductible amount. 

Premiums for renters insurance follow an inverse relationship for deductibles:

  • Higher premiums = lower deductible
  • Lower premiums = higher deductible

Generally speaking, the difference in dollar amounts in premiums can be relatively low for renters insurance, one of the most affordable types of property insurance available to renters. 

If a covered incident does occur, the price difference for premiums between a high- and low-priced deductible may be inconsequential when faced with future claims with a substantial deductible. 

Therefore, choosing a deductible amount that you can comfortably afford to pay in the event of a claim is essential.

Why do insurers charge a deductible for renters insurance policies?

Renters insurance policies are no different than typical property insurance policies. And they are subject to the policyholder paying a deductible before coverage kicks in. 

As with any insurance provider, they remain in business by covering significant losses and maintaining affordable premiums for policyholders. 

Insurance companies mitigate small or minor claims by requiring out-of-pocket upfront costs to persuade policyholders to follow more expensive and legitimate claims.

Here are real-life examples for you to understand deductibles better.

Real-Life Examples of a Renters Insurance Deductible

The easiest way to understand how a deductible actually works is to look at a few real-world examples, which are listed below: 

  • Imagine you have a $500 deductible on your renters insurance policy. If a fire damages $2,000 of your personal belongings, you would first pay $500 (your deductible) for the recovery. Your insurance would then cover the remaining $1,500 to replace or repair your belongings.
  • In another scenario, you selected a higher deductible of $1,000 to lower your monthly premiums. If your apartment gets burglarized and you lose items totaling $3,000 in value, you'd first pay your $1,000 deductible, and your insurance would cover the remaining $2000 to help replace the stolen items. 

As you can see from these examples, a higher deductible means lower premiums but more out-of-pocket costs if you need to make a claim. 

And if you cannot afford the lower deductible means, you may need more time to recoup your losses (and honestly, this defeats the purpose of having insurance in the first place!).


  • Higher premiums = lower deductible
  • Lower premiums = higher deductible

Ways to Lower Renter's Insurance Deductibles

Lowering your renters insurance deductible typically involves changing your policy or taking specific steps to minimize risks. Although rental insurance is affordable, there are several ways to reduce the price of your deductible: 

Pay a higher premium

If you want to decrease the out-of-pocket costs you'll incur for a deductible, paying a high premium will lower the deductible. 

It can be advantageous if you live on a fixed income or have limited savings that can't meet a high deductible, but the higher premiums are within your budget.

You can also lower your premium and keep the deductible low by paying annually or semi-annually. 

Insurers often entice policyholders to pay upfront for a lump sum, often at a slight discount.

Bundle your policies

Consider bundling your renter's insurance with other policies, such as pet insurance or ID theft insurance, with the same insurance provider. 

It may lead to multi-policy discounts and lower your deductible. Plus, it will be more convenient to keep track of your insurance coverage instead of dealing with multiple insurers. 

Improve safety and security measures

Safety and security matters when it comes to reducing your risk of filing a claim, so it pays to be proactive to reduce your deductible. 

Enhancing your rental unit's safety with features like smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, doorbell cameras, burglar alarms, and deadbolt locks can attract discounts from insurance companies. 

These security measures not only reduce your deductible but also reduce your premium. 

Seek out discounts

It never hurts to ask for discounts from an insurer. Inquire with your insurer or own insurance agent or provider about available discounts, who may offer discounts for factors like having a claims-free history (see below), being a long-term customer, or improving your credit history.

Maintain a good credit score

If you've got good credit or recently boosted your FICO score, you should know that health insurance companies consider credit scores when determining premiums and deductibles. 

Maintaining a good credit score helps you secure lower rates, so it pays to be fiscally responsible.

Stay claims-free

As a best practice for being a renter, avoiding filing frequent claims demonstrates responsible behavior toward insurance providers, which may result in a lower insurance premium and deductibles over time. 

If, for example, you tend to file many claims, you may not only increase your premiums but could be dropped as a policyholder.

Review coverage limits

It is vital to assess the value of your personal belongings and adjust your coverage limits accordingly. 

Ensuring you have adequate coverage can prevent underinsurance, but be cautious to refrain from overinsuring, as this could unnecessarily raise your premium and deductible. 

Do I need renters insurance if my belongings aren't worth very much?

It's generally wise for homeowners to have a renters insurance policy.

You need to have renters insurance even if you believe your belongings aren't worth very much or the deductible exceeds the value of your items. 

Here are a few reasons why you should always have a renters insurance policy in place:

  • Many landlords, property management companies, and HOAs require tenants to have renters insurance policies as part of the rental agreement. 

There are multiple reasons for this, including maintaining their property should an event occur and avoiding potential lawsuits against them. 

  • You cannot predict when a person is injured on your rental property. 

If this occurs, having liability protection from an insurance policy protects your assets from lawsuits and covers legal costs if you're sued over an incident in your rental. 

  • Renters insurance covers additional living expenses, which can help if your rental unit becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril and you are forced to live elsewhere temporarily. 

As you can see, these reasons provide significant financial protection regardless of the value of your belongings, helping you maintain a decent quality of life and peace of mind.

Why Should I Increase or Decrease My Renters Insurance Deductible?

The answer to this question is not farfetched.

The decision to increase or decrease your renters insurance deductible is based on financial considerations and your circumstances. 

Here are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to adjust your insurance deductible:

  • Premium Costs
  • Budgeting, Savings, and Financial Preparedness
  • Risk Tolerance
  • Value of Personal Belongings
  • Frequency of Claims

Premium Costs

Increasing your deductible typically leads to more benefits and lower premium costs. 

If you're looking to reduce your monthly insurance expenses and are confident in your ability to cover a higher deductible in the event of a claim, raising the deductible may be the best cost option available to you.

Budgeting, Savings, and Financial Preparedness

Assess your budget and savings to determine how much you could comfortably pay out of pocket in case of a covered loss. 

If you have sufficient emergency funds for financial preparedness, having a higher deductible might be a viable choice. 

Also, if you have relatives and friends who can lend you money to pay the deductible, this can act as security against financial hardship.

Risk Tolerance

Are you prepared for worst-case scenarios that occur with your rental? If you need more clarification, evaluate your risk tolerance level. 

A higher deductible means taking on a more significant financial burden before insurance coverage comes into effect. 

Increasing your deductible might fit your circumstances if you are comfortable assuming more long-term risk in exchange for potential short-term premium savings.

Value of Personal Belongings

Consider the value of your personal belongings. This is the right thing to do.

Suppose you own expensive items that require significant financial resources to replace or repair. In that case, you may prefer a lower deductible to minimize your out-of-pocket expenses when it comes time to recoup your loss.

Frequency of Claims

A higher deductible might be reasonable if you rarely make claims and prioritize reducing premium costs over medical payments.

Remember that insurance deductibles here are per occurrence, meaning that if you file multiple claims within one policy's limit - period, you will be responsible for paying the deductible for each claim separately.

How Do I File a Renters Insurance Claim?

Filing a claim with your renters insurance provider is a process that begins immediately after a loss or damage has occurred to your insured property or in the case of a liability issue. 

Follow these steps, and you will have peace of mind.

  • The first step is to notify your insurance company about the incident promptly. It's crucial to provide a detailed account of what happened and photos or other documentation to support your claim. It's also important to note that for theft or vandalism incidents, a police report should be filed.
  • After you've reported the incident, you'll likely need to fill out claim forms provided by your insurance company. These forms should include detailed information about the damaged or stolen items, such as their value and a description of the damage. If necessary, an adjuster may be sent by the insurance company to assess the damage. 
  • Cooperate fully with the adjuster and provide all the required documentation. Once your claim is processed and approved, the insurance company will pay for the loss, minus any applicable deductible, up to the policy's limits.

Frequently Asked Questions about Deductibles in Renters Insurance

Are deductibles for renters insurance tax deductible?

In most cases, the deductibles for renters insurance are not tax-deductible. 

Insurance premiums for personal use, such as renters insurance, generally cannot be deducted from your income tax return.

However, if a part of your rented home is used exclusively for business purposes, you can deduct a portion of your renters insurance as a business expense. 

Remember that tax laws vary by location, so it's best to speak with a tax professional to fully understand potential deductions and how they apply to your situation. 

Can I get a loan for my insurance deductible if I can't afford it upfront?

Securing a loan to cover your insurance deductible is only sometimes advisable, but it may be possible if you are financially desperate. 

However, the reason for not being able to pay the deductible and having the loan as a stop-gap measure may actually cause more financial problems down the road - especially if you secure a loan with a substantial interest rate.

As with any financial decision, it's always best to consult financial advisors at your bank or insurance professionals to see the best course of action for your circumstances.

What happens if the deductible costs more than the items I need to replace?

If the total cost of replacing the items lost or damaged is less than your deductible, then you wouldn't typically file a claim with your insurance company. It is because you're responsible for covering costs up to your deductible amount before your insurance policy kicks in.

For example, if your deductible is $500 and you have a loss valued at $400, you would pay out-of-pocket for the total loss because it falls below your deductible. 

Insurance is mainly designed to protect against larger, more financially disruptive losses rather than small ones.

If you find that your deductible is often higher than the value of items you need to replace, you should reconsider the amount of your deductible or the amount of coverage you have.

How soon should I pay the deductible after an incident occurs in my rental?

The timing of paying your deductible is typically tied to the claim process rather than the incident itself. 

After an incident, your first step would be to report the incident to your insurance company and file a claim. 

During the claims process, the insurance company will assess the damage and determine the cost of repairs or replacements.

You are expected to pay the deductible when you start incurring costs for repairs or replacements, which could be immediate if the damage is severe or a few days or even weeks later, depending on the nature of the damage and the insurance company's assessment process.

In some cases, the insurers might subtract the deductible from the total amount of your claim payout. 

So, for example, if your claim is approved for $2,000 and your deductible is $500, you'd receive a single claim payout of $1,500.

In all cases, it's important to communicate with your insurance provider throughout the claims process to understand when and how you should pay your deductible.


If you've read up to this point, congratulations on learning everything you need to know about deductibles for renters insurance!

While a deductible represents the out-of-pocket amount you pay before renters insurance coverage kicks in, the coverage you get far exceeds if you were uncovered by most policies available to renters when unexpected events arise. 

Plus, you can select a low deductible amount that aligns with your needs and budget considerations - good for just a few dollars each month.

If you're ready to explore renters insurance options and find the perfect coverage, contact Homebody today for a quote! 

Homebody offers peace of mind with their services.

Our knowledgeable agents guide you through our easy, streamlined process and help you secure the right policy at the deductible. 

When safeguarding your rental, belongings, and, most of all, your family, don't wait. 

Take the important step of protecting what matters most to you with Homebody.

Choose Homebody. Choose Peace.

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