Realty Bites

Does rising crime in NYC make renters insurance more expensive?

By Austin Havens-Bowen | June 13, 2022 - 12:30PM

Insurance rates are determined by zip code, and it could take years of bad crime to see an impact.

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Question:

Will the increase in crime in NYC make getting renters insurance more expensive?

Answer:

Rising crime rates have been a major concern in New York City in recent years, exacerbated by tragedies like the Sunset Park subway shooting and an increase in gun violence.

There’s also been a jump in burglaries. According to current New York Police Department data, there were 290 burglaries between May 30th and June 5th, a 28.3 percent increase compared to the same time last year.

Those numbers might make you concerned about safety, even when you’re in your own apartment, but it’s important to put these numbers in perspective: Crime rates are still much lower compared to the 1990s. Burglaries are down 84.6 percent compared to 29 years ago, according to NYPD data. And the city is still much safer than rural areas, Bloomberg reports.


[Editor's Note: Realty Bites tackles your NYC rental questions. Have a query for our experts? Drop us an email. We respect all requests for anonymity.]


You may still be wondering if your renters insurance, a safeguard for your apartment and belongings, will get more expensive. To find out, Brick turned to the NYC apartment insurance experts.

Are crime rates impacting apartment insurance costs? 

Currently, crime rates are not causing renters insurance costs to increase, says Jeffrey Schneider, president of Gotham Brokerage, a NYC apartment insurance brokerage (and Brick Underground sponsor). 

It’s a much different story compared to the ’70s and ’80s, when crime was notoriously higher. Back then, there were entire neighborhoods in the city that some insurers refused to consider, Schneider says. It was also more difficult to find coverage for items like jewelry, he says.

But that doesn’t mean the cost of your apartment insurance won’t increase over time if crime continues to surge in your neighborhood. That’s because renters insurance costs are calculated by zip code.

If there are a lot of break-ins, there will be more theft claims reported in your neighborhood, and there is the likelihood of rates increasing, but it typically takes a few years for this to happen, says Loretta Worters, vice president of media relations at Insurance Information Institute, a NYC-based insurance association. 

What does impact insurance policy rates? 

Higher prices for construction materials is currently driving costs up, Schneider says. Claims for incidents like broken pipes, overflows, and more frequent storms are also causing rates to increase. 

How much coverage you need is also a determining factor, Worters says. For example, if you need extra coverage for high-value items like jewelry, your policy will cost more. Your claims history also is a factor, she says.

Your apartment’s location can also increase your renters insurance rates. Distance from a fire department and if you live in a flood zone, will also have an impact. 

And according to Policy Genius, your credit score also has an effect on your rates.

 

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