The Best Renters Insurance in Houston, Texas

Renters insurance in Houston is more expensive than renters insurance in other parts of Texas and the nation, so finding the cheapest provider can be a challenge. It’s often so high that many renters can’t help but ask themselves if they actually need it. Unfortunately, you do. You don’t just need it for property coverage, but you also need it for liability — especially if you often have a lot of people over.

America’s top-rated renters insurance

  • Policies starting at just $5/month
  • Sign up in seconds, claims paid in minutes
  • Zero hassle, zero paperwork
In this article

For all of the recommendations below, we used our SimpleScore methodology to find the best renters insurance companies in Houston. We analyzed coverage options, discounts, customer satisfaction, support and accessibility for renters insurance companies to assign a score that reflects our recommendations and review of renters insurance in Houston.

Here’s what we recommend for renters insurance in Houston, Texas.  

The best renters insurance companies in Houston, Texas

Most affordable – Progressive

Choose Progressive if you want cheap renters insurance in Houston.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

4.2 / 5.0

SimpleScore Progressive 4.2

Discounts 5

Coverage 3

Customer Satisfaction 3

Accessibility 5

Progressive has outstandingly low rates compared to other providers in the area, which you can make even lower if you can take advantage of Progressive’s discounts. Progressive currently offers the following discounts to its members:

  • Multi-policy
  • Quote in advance
  • Receive documents by email
  • Pay in full
  • Secured/gated community
  • Single deductible benefit

With so many options, it’s very easy to get an already low premium down even further.

Also worth noting is that Progressive has an A+ financial rating with AM Best. This is especially important living in Houston because the likelihood of many people filing claims after a natural disaster each year is high.

Best for bundling – Allstate

If you need auto insurance, Allstate could help you save big by bundling.

J.D. Power Rating

2/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA-

SimpleScore

4.2 / 5.0

SimpleScore Allstate 4.2

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 2

Customer Satisfaction 5

If you also need car insurance, the best company to do both is Allstate. With Allstate, you’ll save 10% on your auto insurance and up to 25% off your renters insurance if you do both through them. That’s a lot of savings. When you consider that Allstate also offers numerous other discounts you can take advantage of for auto and renters, then it becomes clear that Allstate could likely save you the most money overall.

Most tech-savvy – Nationwide

If you like your insurance provider to be a 21st-century carrier, then Nationwide is for you.

J.D. Power Rating

2/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA+

SimpleScore

3.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore Nationwide 3.8

Discounts 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 2

Accessibility 4

The Nationwide mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, is one of the best insurance apps on the market today. With the app, you can file a claim, check on the status of a claim, make a payment, review your policy, update your policy, as well as make any changes to your coverages. Most insurance apps only cater to auto claims, but with Nationwide you can do renters insurance, too.

Best regional provider – Harris County Insurance Center, LLC

Get the benefits of working with a local carrier while feeling like you’re working with a national provider.

J.D. Power Rating

N/A

AM Best Rating

N/A

Standard & Poor’s

N/A

SimpleScore

2.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore Harris County Insurance Center, LLC 2.8

Disconts 2

Coverage Options 3

Customer Satisfaction N/A

Accessibility 3

Harris County Insurance Center has agents that speak both English and Spanish, and you can file a claim 24 hours a day. Unlike other regional providers, Harris County Insurance Center makes it possible to get a quote online without having to go to a brick and mortar shop or speak with someone over the phone. In fact, Harris County is getting so many things right we wouldn’t be surprised if they start servicing a larger area in the near future.

America’s top-rated renters insurance

  • Policies starting at just $5/month
  • Sign up in seconds, claims paid in minutes
  • Zero hassle, zero paperwork

Choosing your provider

When choosing which carrier you want to work with, you’ll have a choice between a national carrier and a regional carrier. There are pros and cons to both. Let’s talk about them.

Local Carrier

Pros

  • Support your local economy
  • Work with an agent that knows exactly what you need
  • Develop an ongoing working relationship with the same agents

Cons:

  • May not have as many coverage options
  • May not be as tech-savvy
  • May be more expensive than national providers

National Carrier

Pros:

  • More coverage options
  • Cheaper premiums that smaller providers 
  • More tech-savvy (smartphone apps, online presence)

[ Read: Defending Against Porch Pirates: What to Do about Package Thefts ]

Cons:

  • Agents likely will not know Houston, Texas, very well
  • Will not be able to develop an ongoing working relationship with an agent
  • You will likely have to do everything online or over the phone

Additional renters insurance coverage in Houston

Houston, Texas, has one of the highest rates of crime in the entire country. According to the Houston Police Department, the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime is about 1 in 18. It’s a trend that has only gotten worse (2020 was one of the worst years the city had seen in decades). Obviously, crime is a reason that renters insurance is so much in Houston

Another reason renters insurance is so high is because of natural weather disasters. Houston is subject to both flooding and hurricanes. As a resident in this area you should highly consider purchasing additional coverage with your insurance company.

Flood insurance

A regular renters insurance policy does not protect your belongings if they are damaged by floodwaters. For this type of coverage, you need flood insurance.

[ Read: Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units? ]

You may be able to purchase flood insurance through the insurance provider you purchase renters insurance, but most people usually get it through the U.S. government through Floodsmart. Living in Houston, you are likely in a flood zone, but you can see if your particular area is subject to flooding by inputting your address into FEMA’s flood map. Given Houston’s history with flooding, you should even consider purchasing flood insurance if you live in a high rise apartment.

Hurricane insurance

Hurricane insurance is actually called windstorm insurance. The likelihood of you needing to purchase it as a renter is small. This is because damages caused by wind, hail, fire and lightning are more than likely covered by your insurance provider. Just make sure that, when you do purchase a policy, you read the fine print about any exclusions. The only likely exclusion you’ll see is damage caused by floodwaters.

How much does renters insurance cost in Houston?

According to the latest study by Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of renters insurance in Texas is currently $225 a year. The average is $179. However, there are a lot of factors that influence the cost of renters insurance. These include:

  • Deductible
  • Type of policy you have
    • Actual cash value vs. replacement cost
  • Amount of property coverage
  • Amount of liability coverage
  • Where you live
  • Discounts (for example, many companies offer discounts for bundling policies)

Other factors that influence your final rate are whether you have any pets, and how much you estimate your personal property to be worth.

[ More: How Much is Renters Insurance? ]

Houston renters insurance FAQs

Yes, landlords can require renters insurance in Texas. Though you are not legally required to have it under state law, your landlord has the legal power to dictate the terms and conditions of the lease.

There are several factors that impact your renters insurance premium. The primary factors affecting the price of rental insurance in Houston include the size of the apartment or dwelling, how much liability you want to have, how much property coverage you want, as well as where your rental is located within the city.

Compared to the rest of the country, yes. The latest study from the Insurance Information Institute showed Texas to be the fourth most expensive state for renters insurance. This is because places like Houston are frequently exposed to natural disasters year after year, as well as high crime.

Don’t feel completely ready? For an extensive guide to purchasing renters insurance, check out our Ultimate Guide to Renters Insurance.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the insurers we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com

6 Things You Should Never Say When You’re Selling Your Home

You know that expression about loose lips sinking ships? It holds true for selling your home as well. Sure, there are some things you have to disclose to buyers—such as if your home has lead paint or is located in a flood zone. But there’s plenty more you might volunteer when you would be truly better off keeping your mouth strategically shut.

We’ve already revealed the things buyers should never say to sellers. Now, let us share some things that sellers should never let slip to buyers, or the agents representing them.

To help hone your “less is more” attitude when it comes to talking with prospective buyers, here are a few doozies that agents recommend never, ever saying.

‘Our house is in perfect condition’

Your home is your castle, and in your eyes it may seem perfect—but don’t make claims that aren’t true, says Cara Ameer, a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker.

“The home inspection may reveal otherwise, and, as a seller, you don’t want to wind up putting your foot in your mouth,” she explains. Bottom line: “There simply is no such thing as ‘perfect condition.’ Every house, whether it is brand new or a resale, has something that needs to be fixed, adjusted, replaced, or improved upon.”

If you’re not sure what to disclose, talk to your agent about the history of the house. Together, you can figure out what is important for buyers to know. Don’t have an agent yet? Here’s how to find a real estate agent in your area.

‘It’s been on the market for X…’

Never, ever discuss how long the home has been on the market with prospective buyers, says Pam Santoro, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. This info is often listed and available on the home’s information sheet, but bringing it up—especially if the home has been available for eons—can send sellers the wrong message. No one wants to buy a white elephant—and, if they do, it’s probably because they think they’ll be getting it dirt-cheap.

‘We’ve never had a problem with…’

If you’re hoping to move quickly, you may be tempted to tell a few little white lies. So you never had a problem with weird neighbors, eh? Or flooded basements? Or vengeance-seeking poltergeists? Realtors agree that your mistruths—however insignificant they might seem—could come back to you with teeth.

“You’re setting yourself up for potential liability,” explains Ameer. “You may not even be aware of the problem at first, but it could  translate into an embarrassing moment upon inspection.” So come clean with what you know and admit what you don’t.

‘We always wanted to fix/renovate that, but…’

Tempted to mention, “We always thought about knocking this wall down and opening the space for more light?” How about “We planned on renovating this bathroom but ran out of cash”? Mum’s the word when it comes to fixes you intended to address. Nobody cares about good intentions.

“When sellers point out things they might change, this only alerts the buyer of more upcoming costs for them,” says Maryjo Shockley, a Realtor with Keller Williams. Who knows? Your buyers may not even want to knock down that wall or redo the bathroom. So why plant those ideas, along with those dollar signs?

‘We spent a ton of money on X, Y, and Z’

Just because you love the Brazilian koa wood flooring you installed throughout the first floor, that doesn’t mean prospective buyers will be willing to shell out for it.

“The buyer doesn’t care whether you spent $10,000 or $100,000 on your kitchen,” says Ameer. “They are only going to offer what they feel the home is worth in relation to area comparable sales.” So, save your breath, or else you’ll risk sounding like you’re trying too hard to justify your price. Desperation isn’t cool.

‘I’m not taking less than X amount for my home’

When it comes time to sell, it makes sense that you want top dollar. We get it! But at the same time, it’s important to be realistic and open to offers within a reasonable range.

“If you send a message that you are inflexible or not open to negotiating, it may not invite buyers to even try to work out acceptable price and terms as they will feel defeated from the start,” says Ameer. “Word may spread that you have this sentiment as a seller, and people may start to avoid the house.”

Source: realtor.com

Best Home Listing Description Ever? Brutal Honesty Pays Off in Florida

A listing for a lemon of a house has turned into sweet, sweet lemonade.

The description of a decrepit home on Avoca Avenue in Zephyrhills, FL, that was listed for $69,000 mixes scathing accuracy and a serious sense of humor.

The tongue-in-cheek presentation has paid off in a big way. The listing of the woebegone home has racked up hundreds of thousands of page views, and what’s more, an offer is now in place.

“I find it so funny, because my husband always told me that I don’t tell good jokes, and I tell him I’m like the funniest person I know. This has just been the greatest vindication. Everybody keeps calling and texting and emailing saying that they thought it was hilarious,” says Philippa Main, the listing agent responsible for the property description that people can’t stop sharing.

We spoke with Main about her savvy marketing skills, and have highlighted a few of our favorite passages of her lively prose.

Exterior of home in Zephyrhills, FL
Exterior of home in Zephyrhills, FL

Philippa Main

Exterior
Exterior

Philippa Main

Exterior
Exterior

Philippa Main

Lot
Lot

Philippa Main

Lot
Lot

Philippa Main

‘Here it is, literally the worst house on the street!

‘The seller has done the hard work of cleaning up the almost half-acre property (it only took 7 dumpsters!), so now is your chance to take it from here.’

The idea for a listing description that faced the home’s ugliness head-on came to Main after seeing the property for the first time and discussing the reality of the situation with her client.

Both of them had hoped that the home would be in a sellable state after the tenants moved out and the lot was cleaned up. The reality was far different.

So Main, who majored in public relations in college, approached her client and suggested a way to get some eyes on the listing.

She knows that listing details sometimes stretch the truth, and she also knows all about the frustration generated by unmet expectations—for home shoppers and agents alike.

“The funniest and the most annoying part of being a real estate agent: If we see in a listing they’re describing this ‘great natural light’ or this ‘open-concept floor plan’ or ‘tons of storage,’” Main says. “We get there, and it’s, like, a single, creepy lightbulb you would see in one of those interrogation movies. And that’s it.”

She decided to embrace the dark side of this Sunshine State calamity.

“I just wanted to make sure that I got ahead of all of the questions about the condition, and just kind of put it all out there for everybody,” she notes.

Exterior
Exterior

Philippa Main

Missing windows
Missing windows

Philippa Main

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

‘The roof leaks, the floor creaks, and there’s a terrible draft, but this 3 bed, 1.5 bath home is very open concept. And by that we mean the inside is open to the outside, because several of the windows are broken.’

The “open-concept” crack is something Main doesn’t take all the credit for. Her inspiration came from an unlikely source, “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

“There’s an episode where SpongeBob and Squidward do Opposite Day, and so SpongeBob’s version of selling the home is pointing out all of the worst things about it,” she says. “As soon as I walked into this property, I heard it in my head, and I was, like, ‘Oh, here we go!’ I sat down and kind of approached the listing with that kind of sense of humor, and the absurdity of the whole situation.”

Kitchen
Kitchen

Philippa Main

Kitchen
Kitchen

Philippa Main

Kitchen
Kitchen

Philippa Main

‘There is a large, sunny window in the kitchen … and absolutely nothing else—a wonderful feature for someone interested in a bright reading space (and ordering takeout for every meal).’

The kitchen description came to her after the overzealous junk haulers took a bit too much off the property, which once housed old mattresses, old TVs, hundreds of tires, and much more. They were told to take everything away.

“When I walked into the home, I didn’t realize that, for some reason, the junk guys had taken things very literally,” Main says.

“They took out all the kitchen cabinets. I’ve seen kitchens missing a lot of things, but this kitchen has one positive element that I can highlight, and that is it.”

Exterior
Exterior

Philippa Main

‘Now I know you’ve heard of a detached garage, but have you ever heard of a detached foundation?! Because that’s what you’ll find here in the large bonus room. And if you’re looking for a house that screams, “I’ve got bizarre and ominous energy!” then, honey, stop the car, because you’ve found it right here, conveniently located off of US-301.’

The major foundation problems and the location near a major highway were two pieces of information Main says that she really needed to convey to potential buyers.

“I feel like this has gone viral and a lot of people are laughing at just kind of the surface level,” she says. “But I actually did try to include important details for those who are truly interested.”

Bathroom
Bathroom

Philippa Main

Bathroom
Bathroom

Philippa Main

Bathroom
Bathroom

Philippa Main

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

‘And whether you like to turn up the heat or keep it cool, it won’t matter here, because there is no HVAC system.’

Main says the lack of a heating and cooling system is crucial information for any potential investor to know, since it is a must-have in Florida and constitutes a huge expense.

Exterior
Exterior

Philippa Main

‘Oh, and don’t forget about the brick chimney that perfectly epitomizes how we all feel after 2020—about to collapse and going nowhere (literally, there is no fireplace inside the house).’

A chimney without a fireplace?

“I looked and I couldn’t find inside where there was a fireplace,” Main says, adding that it’s difficult to ignore the crumbling chimney when walking around the property.

“When you actually go in the home, you realize: ‘What is even the point of this chimney?'” she says. “I just feel like it adds to the whole ominous energy. Like, ‘Why is it here?’ And you’ve got to throw a reference to 2020 in there, because why the heck not?”

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

Exterior
Exterior

Philippa Main

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

‘What else can be said about this one-of-a-kind opportunity? It’s not in a flood zone and will be conveyed with clear title! But we don’t have a survey and the Seller has never seen the property, so buyers are strongly encouraged to do their own due diligence.’

Main says her client signed off on the listing, and she made sure it was compliant with the requirements of all local and national organizations.

My clients “are so laid-back. They’re such fun guys. They were basically, like, ‘This is so funny, this is great! We’re happy that it’s getting the attention.’ But at the end of the day, their whole thing was they knew I would get it sold, one way or another,” she says.

‘And if you’re not interested in crying yourself to sleep every night while you rehab this home, might we suggest tearing it down and building a brand-new one in its place? The neighbors would likely thank you.’

Evidently, the publicity worked. After fewer than 10 days on the market, there’s a pending offer. Main was not at liberty to disclose whether the buyers do plan to cry themselves to sleep every night with a rehab or please the neighbors with a teardown.

Main is taking in stride her newfound fame as the author of what some are calling the best listing description. Her sense of humor hasn’t taken a dent.

“My phone started ringing off the hook,” she says, “and I was just, like, ‘What is happening?’ I will tell you this: I would never want to be a famous person, because this is a lot of work.”

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

Lot
Lot

Philippa Main

Interior
Interior

Philippa Main

Exterior
Exterior

Philippa Main

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Lot

Philippa Main

Source: realtor.com

Redfin joins Realtor.com in displaying flood data

When Realtor.com became the first listing platform to display flood hazard data on properties, the lead economist for Redfin expressed caution about the unintended consequences of displaying such statistics.

“We need to be very careful about how we provide information,” Taylor Marr, the lead economist at Redfin, told NPR at the time. “Could this actually reduce the value of this existing homeowner and essentially take away a lot of their net worth?”

Evidently, Redfin feels like the consumer benefit of knowing the flood risk outweighs that concern. The Seattle-based real estate brokerage and listings platform will be publishing flood risk information on nearly every home on its listing platform, it announced on Tuesday.

Like Realtor.com, Redfin will be publishing data compiled by First Street Foundation, a science and technology nonprofit organization that quantifies flood risk through Flood Factor.

“Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in their lifetime,” Redfin Chief Product Officer Christian Taubman said in a statement. “By publishing the Flood Factor score, we’re making it easier to understand the risk each home faces of being damaged by flooding, meaning everyone can make better-informed decisions about buying and selling. Most homebuyers and sellers say that the frequency or intensity of natural disasters factors into their decision about where and whether to buy or sell a home, so this is information they can really use.”

First Street’s model accounts for flood risk from four primary flood events, including heavy rainfall, storm surge, tidal and riverine sources. The organization says it also factors in potential climate change impacts. It provides a climate-adjusted assessment of current risk through the course of a 30-year mortgage.

First Street’s models areas not currently mapped by FEMA, the public source that determines payouts for those applying for aid through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Disclosure of flood risk for homes that are outside the official floodplain is important information for prospective buyers: about one-third of federal disaster money paid out to flood survivors is distributed to people who live outside the designated FEMA zones.

The flood scores are active across 94 million listings on Redfin.

Source: housingwire.com