The Best Cheap Renters Insurance in Pennsylvania

NerdWallet analyzed rates across the state to find the cheapest renters insurance in Pennsylvania.
Sarah SchlichterSep 29, 2021

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If you’re considering buying renters insurance in Pennsylvania, you’ve got plenty of affordable options. Renters policies in most parts of the state cost less than the national average.

NerdWallet analyzed rates across the Keystone State to find out which companies offer the cheapest renters insurance in Pennsylvania.

How much is renters insurance in Pennsylvania?

The average cost of renters insurance in Pennsylvania is $116 a year, or about $10 a month. That’s cheaper than the national average of $168 a year.

Philadelphia renters pay some of the highest prices in the state, with an average cost of $179 a year. Pittsburgh renters insurance rates are closer to the state average, at $128 a year.

Below are average renters insurance rates for the state’s 25 largest cities.

City

Average annual cost

Average monthly cost

Philadelphia

$179

$15

Pittsburgh

$128

$11

Reading

$114

$9

Allentown

$115

$10

Erie

$113

$9

Lancaster

$108

$9

York

$107

$9

Harrisburg

$109

$9

Bethlehem

$114

$9

West Chester

$127

$11

Norristown

$124

$10

Easton

$117

$10

State College

$110

$9

Scranton

$114

$10

Mechanicsburg

$107

$9

Lebanon

$107

$9

Johnstown

$107

$9

Pottstown

$124

$10

Levittown

$128

$11

Altoona

$110

$9

Carlisle

$106

$9

Greensburg

$107

$9

Wilkes-Barre

$115

$10

Butler

$111

$9

Chambersburg

$106

$9

Cheap renters insurance companies in Pennsylvania

NerdWallet analyzed rates across the state to find the cheapest renters insurance companies in Pennsylvania. These are the ones with premiums below the state average.

Company

Average annual cost

Average monthly cost

Penn National

$60

$5

Erie

$69

$6

Cumberland Mutual

$101

$8

Encova

$103

$9

Allstate

$107

$9

Encompass

$108

$9

Donegal

$108

$9

Chubb

$111

$9

USAA*

$106

$9

*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.

About the cheapest companies

Penn National: Harrisburg-based Penn National sells renters, auto and other insurance through independent agents. The company automatically raises your renters personal property and loss of use coverage amounts each year to hedge against inflation.

Erie: You can save money on your Erie insurance by bundling renters and auto policies, getting an advance quote or having safety devices in your home. The liability coverage on your policy offers financial protection if you harm other people or their belongings anywhere in the world.

Cumberland Mutual: Headquartered in New Jersey, Cumberland Mutual includes access to identity theft support services in its renters policies. You can save money by bundling multiple policies with Cumberland Mutual and having protective alarm systems in your home.

Encova: Ohio-based Encova sells renters and other insurance policies through independent agents. It receives fewer consumer complaints to state regulators than expected for a company of its size.

Allstate: An Allstate renters insurance policy comes with all the basics, plus a user-friendly website where you can pay bills and file claims. Discounts are available for bundling your auto and renters policies together, and for being 55+ and retired.

Encompass: Unlike Allstate, its parent company, Encompass sells policies only through agents, with no online quote option. You can customize your policy with coverage for jewelry theft, computer data recovery and damage due to backed-up drains.

Donegal: Based in Marietta, Pennsylvania, Donegal sells renters insurance through independent agents. The number of complaints it receives is about average for a company of its size.

Chubb: Chubb targets well-to-do clients with high coverage limits and generous perks. For example, its renters policies include replacement cost coverage for your personal belongings. That means if your stuff is stolen or destroyed, the company will pay enough for you to replace it with brand-new items. (Some companies reduce your claim payout for older items due to depreciation.)

USAA: Renters policies from USAA cover flood and earthquake damage, unlike policies from most other companies. But USAA’s coverage isn’t available to everyone. The company serves only military, veterans and their families.

Pennsylvania renters insurance from the best companies

If you want to buy a policy from a highly rated national company, consider one of these carriers from NerdWallet’s list of The Best Renters Insurance Companies.

Company

NerdWallet rating

Average annual cost

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

$107

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$117

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$276

USAA*

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

$106

*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.

What to know about Pennsylvania renters insurance

Renters insurance isn’t required by law in Pennsylvania, though some landlords may ask for proof of insurance before you sign your lease. Either way, it might be worth buying a policy if you’d have trouble replacing all your stuff after a disaster.

Flooding

Floods are the state’s most common natural disaster, according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Unfortunately, most renters insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.

Buying separate flood insurance may not be necessary if you live in an upper-floor apartment. But if you’re in a ground-floor unit near a body of water or in an area prone to flash floods, consider reaching out to an agent to discuss your options.

Fires

Unlike floods, fire damage is generally covered by renters insurance policies. For example, that could include a kitchen fire in your own apartment or smoke damage from a blaze in a neighboring unit.

Tropical storms, thunderstorms and tornadoes

These types of storms can strike Pennsylvania during the warmer months, leaving destruction in their wake. Whether your stuff is covered by your renters policy depends on the nature of the damage.

Say a tornado sweeps through your neighborhood and destroys most of your stuff. You’d likely be covered because wind is one of the “named perils” most renters policies cover. But if a heavy thunderstorm causes a flash flood that damages your furniture, you probably wouldn’t be covered unless you had flood insurance.

Winter storms

Pennsylvania sees its share of winter storms, especially in the northern reaches of the state. Renters insurance typically covers damage to your belongings due to the weight of snow or ice.

For example, if a blizzard damages the roof of your apartment complex and your stuff is ruined by the snow, your policy would likely cover that. Some policies might also cover the cost of replacing food lost during a winter storm power outage.

What determines Pennsylvania renters insurance rates?

You may pay more or less than the average rates listed above, based on factors like these:

Where you live

Does your neighborhood have a high crime rate? Is your area at risk for certain natural disasters? If so, you might pay more for renters insurance.

Your credit history

Many companies use your credit-based insurance score — similar to a credit score — to help set rates. Renters with better credit tend to pay lower rates.

Don’t have sparkling credit? Consider one of these companies, which were the cheapest in our analysis for renters with poor credit.

Company

Average annual cost

Average monthly cost

Penn National

$111

$9

Donegal

$119

$10

Erie

$125

$10

Encova

$134

$11

Cumberland Mutual

$164

$14

Your coverage

As you might expect, you’ll pay a higher rate if you need more coverage. So if you own a lot of stuff, or you need higher liability limits, expect a more expensive premium.

Your deductible

One way to lower your premium is by choosing a higher deductible. That means you’ll pay more out of pocket before your insurance company steps in to cover a claim. The savings may not be worth it if you’d struggle to pay the full deductible in an emergency.

Previous claims

Insurance companies often raise rates for renters who’ve previously filed claims, assuming they may be more likely to file another one in the future.

If you’ve filed a claim recently, consider one of the following companies. These were the five cheapest carriers for renters with a previous theft claim in NerdWallet’s analysis.

Company

Average annual cost

Average monthly cost

Penn National

$67

$6

Erie

$97

$8

Cumberland Mutual

$102

$9

Encova

$105

$9

Allstate

$107

$9

Your other policies

Bundling your renters policy with another type of insurance, such as an auto policy, can often get you a discount on one or both premiums.

Your home’s features

Having burglar alarms, deadbolt locks, sprinkler systems or other protective devices in your home is another way to get a renters insurance discount.

Your dog

Some insurance companies consider certain breeds a higher risk for dog bite liability claims. Owners of pit bulls, Doberman pinschers or other breeds may pay more for renters insurance — or be refused coverage altogether.

Pennsylvania Insurance Department

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department website offers an agent lookup tool, coverage information and a complaint form where you can raise concerns about your carrier. For personal assistance you can also call 877-881-6388.

Methodology

NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women from insurance companies in every ZIP code across Pennsylvania. Sample tenants were nonsmokers with good credit living in a two-bedroom apartment.

They had a $500 deductible and the following coverage limits:

  • $30,000 in personal property coverage.

  • $100,000 in liability coverage.

  • $10,000 in additional living expenses coverage.

  • $1,000 in medical payments coverage.

We used the same assumptions for all other renter profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for renters with poor credit.

  • For renters with a history of claims, we added a single theft claim to their record.

These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

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