Oklahoma’s modern origins were during the expansionary Wild West days of our imaginations. Those who began to set up their claims in what was then the Oklahoma Territory, did so with great enthusiasm and in fact before the official start date. It’s funny to think of them as renters as they certainly didn’t own the land back then and in some infringed on Native American land that wasn’t theirs. During the flurry of settlement they probably could have used some good renter’s insurance! They faced huge odds – raising their families and building their settlements in the face of drought, tornadoes and minimal infrastructure.
In fact, this is where the popular nickname ‘Sooner’ comes from. Those who broke the rules by entering the territory before they were allowed to enter were said to have entered ‘sooner’ than they should have, and so the name stuck.
More than a century on, people still flock to Oklahoma albeit for slightly different reasons. Oklahoma has some of the cheapest housing in all of America and its small population size means you’ll save precious time that you might otherwise spend in rush-hour. Rent is on average $700 per month where in other places you may be lucky to pay that per fortnight. Oklahoma City is one of the sunniest cities in America, crossing that magical 3000 hours per year of sunlight threshold. If you like to tan, there’s no need to pay California prices to do so.
Let’s have a look at what you need to know when considering renters insurance in Oklahoma.
What are the fundamentals?
The two fundamental multipliers that affect the cost of renters insurance are the climate and the level of crime in your area. Oklahoma is semi-arid in the pan handle and humid throughout the rest of the state. Winters are mild and dry and summers are very hot and humid. This can be solved with a good climate control, however what can’t is the state’s extreme weather. Oklahoma, in particular, Oklahoma City, has a very active severe weather season from March until June as it’s right in the middle of Tornado Alley. Tornadoes are frequent and severe and hailstorms aren’t unheard of either. Over 150 tornadoes since 1890 have been recorded in the region. Therefore, it is vital you clarify with your insurer whether you are covered for extreme weather events.
Regarding the second point, safety, we use data from Safewise to get an accurate picture of the situation in Oklahoma. Safewise releases an annual safe cities report. From which we can see that Oklahomans who rent in Elgin, Piedmont, Lone Grove, Cleveland, Pocola, Hennessy, Verdigris and Antlers enjoy some of the lowest levels of property crime in the state. A flexible insurer such as (affiliate link) would take this into consideration and cut you a deal on your insurance. Overall, Oklahoma is a little above average at 28.8 incidents per 1000 people. The cost of living of Oklahoma is taken into consideration and renters insurance is cheaper than the average American value of about $174.
Have your property value handy
The more cover you have, the more payout you have. But the more cover you have, the more you put in. This might seem obvious but many folks in a hurry neglect this oversight and assess insurance costs based on values that don’t reflect the value of their property. Insurance cost statistics are usually based on a value of $30,000 in personal property which might not reflect your situation. Speak to your insurer once you’ve assessed what you own to see what you’re eligible for and be prepared to show receipts as you might need them.
Know your rights
Renters insurance is not required by state law and is optional. The Oklahoma Residential Landlord Tenant Act gives you a framework of what can and cannot be done. The state bar makes clear that you are entitled to a safe, clean environment with fully operational facilities. If your landlord doesn’t provide these services, you are entitled to terminate your lease and receive your deposit back in full.
Additionally, if a repair costs less than $100 you may repair the damaged good, be it your AC, plumbing or otherwise and take it out of your monthly lease. Your landlord must tell you if your dwelling has experienced flooding in the past 5 years or if any part of the dwelling has been involved in methamphetamine production.
Your landlord has 45 days to return your deposit once you move out and must provide you an itemised list of deductions if they do remove anything from your bond
As a tenant you have responsibilities too such as keeping your temporary home safe and clean and not cause any damages. All this can be summarised with the golden rules of making sure you act in good faith, keeping everything (and I mean everything) in writing and ensure you know your rights and responsibilities. More can be found at the Oklahoma Bar Association
Research your options
Popular websites, comparison blogs and calculators can be found all over the internet. It can be overwhelming to know what to choose, especially as many packages seem so similar. We like to use SuperMoney for shopping around as they have a handy calculator and rating system for their insurance products. You can filter by state, read reviews and see discounts available.
In Oklahoma the best reviewed insurers are State Farm, USAA, Liberty Mutual, and Lemonade. All of these insurers have an excellent or higher rating. From here you can simply click through and read which one suits you best. It’s our view that once your bases are covered, everything else is just window dressing.
Most frequently asked questions
Do I need renters insurance if my landlord has insurance?
Your landlord may very well have insurance, however your landlord’s coverage will only extend to their belongings: the physical structure of your home itself, the appliances you don’t own and anything that is specified in your agreement. If the property is damaged by extreme weather or burgled, you will not be able to claim for damages incurred to your property. You might be liable for the costs of repair or replacement out of your own pocket.
Do I own enough to justify renters insurance?
Earlier on in this article, we asked you to have your property value handy before you shop around for policies. If this was the first time you added up the value of your electronics, jewelry, cars, clothes, heirlooms and appliances, you may have been surprised to see that you own a lot more than you think. Renters insurance is for those whose pockets will hurt at replacing their belongings in a catastrophe, or whose pockets are simply not deep enough to replace their valuables after a catastrophic event.