Pros / The coverage includes full replacement with new items of equal value – no depreciation.
Cons / This insurance is available to AARP members only.
Verdict / AARP renters insurance through The Hartford is for AARP members only, so you need to be over 50 years old and a dues-paying member. However, the coverage is excellent and the premiums are well below average, making it worth pricing out, even with AARP membership fees.
AARP offers its members renters insurance through The Hartford, a national insurance agency. It earns the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award because it has excellent coverage at highly competitive prices. However, The Hartford does not provide this insurance in every location.
In order to take advantage of the discounts that make it so inexpensive, you must be a dues-paying member of AARP. To apply, you must be 50 years or older. The annual dues are inexpensive and come with other benefits. In addition, we found in most cases that even when adding dues to the insurance expense, the policies are still cheaper than the other insurances we reviewed.
We received quotes for a typical two-bedroom apartment in six areas across the United States. These areas had varying risk, from little risk to high-crime or high-claims areas. The Hartford was one of three insurance companies that did not provide insurance to the highest-risk areas. Therefore, if you live in a high-crime area or an area that experiences a lot of damaging storms, you may not be able to get insurance directly from The Hartford.
Where it does provide coverage, however, the prices are well worth checking. Overall, we found the premiums to be almost half the average premium for the 10 insurances we reviewed. Even including the AARP membership fee, this is far below average for comparable coverage.
If you are not yet 50, The Hartford can still provide you renters insurance, but through a different program. Therefore, if you are coming up on the big Five-Oh, you might want to price insurance and see if it's worth switching over after your birthday.
In our quotes process, we used a standard amount for property value, liability and medical for each insurance agency we contacted. However, companies differed in two areas: the limits they reimburse for high-value items and the loss of use.
Most insurances set a limit on how much they reimburse for high-value items like jewelry, electronics, firearms, silver and fine art. If you need more coverage, then you must purchase an endorsement to the policy. AARP's limits in most cases are at or above average.
The Hartford stands out from most companies, however, because it has no limit for lost or damaged electronics. In addition, it will cover business supplies and equipment in your home up to $2,500, which is the highest we found without purchasing an endorsement or separate business policy.
Another standout is that AARP coverage includes replacing lost, stolen or damaged items with new items of comparable value. Some rental insurance companies pay the value of the item itself, which takes into account depreciation and not how much it costs to purchase the same item new.
The online quote process was not especially reliable. For example, we ran a quote for Detroit, and the website took us through the entire questionnaire then referred us to an agent, who told us The Hartford does not cover this city. Even in areas that are covered, the quote process does not give you numbers, but takes your information and refers you to an agent. You can save time instead by using the agent finder and calling him or her.
One nice feature of the phone system is that if there is a line of callers waiting for assistance, it will take your number and call you back when an agent is available, sparing you time sitting on hold. We found the agents helpful and knowledgeable.
AARP had one of the lowest loss-of-use coverages of the home rental insurances we reviewed. Loss of use covers additional expenses you incur if your apartment or rental home is unlivable and you need to stay elsewhere while it is being repaired or replaced, or until you find a new home. AARP will reimburse you for up to $4,000 of these expenses, which can include laundry or restaurant eating. This is the lowest amount offered by the companies we reviewed. However, since this is for additional temporary living expenses, it's not an unreasonably low amount.
Like all the insurance companies we reviewed, AARP offers 24/7 claims service. It has a mobile app where you can manage your account and claims as well.
If you are over 50 and renting an apartment or home, it could be worth your while to join AARP and take advantage of the inexpensive renters insurance it offers through The Hartford. The premiums are well below the average for the companies and areas we reviewed, and the limits on high-value items are generous.