The Best Security Deposit Insurance Companies for Rentals in New York
Renting an apartment in New York City costs prospective tenants a lot of money.
Renters have to come up with large sums of cash upfront, and often, all at the same time.
In addition to other potential expenses like a broker’s fee and a moving cost, renters must pay landlords one month’s rent and a security deposit before moving in.
All of this usually costs thousands of dollars.
Many renters—from the middle to upper class—can afford these expenses, but it’s a huge barrier for people with limited funds.
This can include low-income families, people who live from paycheck to paycheck, or young renters—such as those who just graduated from college.
Some lucky low or middle-income families can find affordable housing in New York, but when the landlord expects them to pay the security deposit upfront, the barrier once again goes up.
According to the Renter Sentiment Report:
“Almost 60 percent of renters have been prevented from moving into the rental homes or apartments they wanted because the up-front expenses were too high.”
Best Security Deposit Guarantees in New York
ePremium eDeposit: The Best Quick Approval Process
Assurant Sure Deposit: The Best Upfront Low-Cost Program
Jetty Deposit: The Best Low-Cost Renters Insurance Surety Bond Bundle
LeaseLock: The Best Insurance with No Mandatory Credit Check
Rhino: The Best Security Deposit Insurance for Landlords
The Guarantors: The Best for Securing a Lease If Your Don't Qualify
What is a Security Deposit?
A security deposit is money paid to an owner of the apartment or a management company when you start your lease.
In addition, the renter is required to pay the first month’s rent at the same time.
That’s the standard, but in some cases, the renter has to pay for last month’s rent as well, which prices out even those who have savings set aside and who have a good, stable job.
The purpose of the security deposit is to protect landlords from any unpaid rent and for any damage done to the apartment once the renter vacates the apartment.
With the deposit in place, building owners will have the ability to cover damages by taking out money from the security deposit, and what’s left of the money is returned to the renter.
What is Security Deposit Insurance?
Security deposit insurance is an insurance that guarantees your security in place of the actual deposit in the case of apartment damage or rent default.
In other words, the situation basically translates to a renter paying a third-party vendor a small monthly nonrefundable fee for the duration of their lease in lieu of paying the entire security deposit upfront.
Any damages to an apartment, such as a broken window, will be paid by the policy and given to the owner or the management company to fix the glass.
The monthly premiums are the best way to go if you’re lacking cash funds, as they typically range from $20 to $50 and even less than that, say $3.00 a month if your rent hovers in the $1,000-a-month range.
As such, the renter is relieved of the burden of having to pay everything upfront.
It’s a win-win situation as the renter pays less than expected and the landlord is guaranteed that any damages caused by the renter will be paid in full.
In the state of New York, the trending option would give renters a choice.
You either pay the deposit in full or sign up with an insurance policy.
There are Two Alternatives For Security Deposits
Security deposit insurance works like any other insurance, which includes a monthly premium that may equal far less than a traditional security deposit.
However, the premium is non-refundable, but it will pay for any damages incurred for the duration of the lease.
The other popular offering is something called a surety bond.
In this scenario, prospective tenants pay a low one-time non-refundable fee. The surety bond pays the landlord for any damages.
However, the tenant is responsible for paying back the damages to the surety bond company.
Both options are still a lower-cost option than paying the security deposit, especially up front.
The Best Quick Approval Process: ePremium eDeposit
ePremium eDeposit allows you to decrease the amount of your security deposit as well as the first month’s rent if needed for the duration of up to five years.
Underwritten by ePremium Insurance, you’re expected to pay an up-front, non-refundable cost of $250, although other sites claim the cost to be around $400.
What makes ePremium a popular choice is that the approval process is considered very quick, unlike other guarantors.
Also, if your rental starts to get too small, or if you’re starting a family and decide you need a larger unit during your insurance coverage, you are allowed to trade up (or even down) without incurring additional charges from ePremium as long as the new apartment is in the same building as your current one.
As in the case with surety bonds, the tenant is responsible for paying back any monies remitted to the landlord for damages or lost rent.
|Quick approval and response times||The tenant must be a member of the ePremium rental insurance program.|
|Great customer services|
|Unique features such as “bed bug remediation coverage” and pet damage liability, up to coverage limits (but not included in all policies).|
The Best Upfront Low-Cost Program: Assurant SureDeposit
Assurant SureDeposit is similar to ePremium eDeposit but is more affordable and more expansive in terms of the coverage period.
It costs $175 upfront to cover the full security deposit. It also covers the life of the lease no matter how long it may be.
However, apartment owners or landlords must be already participating in the deposit program, which significantly reduces the number of people in their apartment complex.
Prospective tenants won’t look at such buildings if they know the landlord doesn’t offer Assurant.
Assurant uses FlexDeposit or SureDeposit (depending on where you live), which is not insurance but a surety bond.
You can be denied on the bond application if there’s a fraud alert on your credit report. So before contacting Assurant, make sure your credit is on the up and up.
|Moderately affordable.||Landlord must be an Assurant participant.|
|Low one-time fee.||Payment is non-refundable and does not cover any damages.|
The Best Low-Cost Renters Insurance Surety Bond Bundle: Jetty Deposit
Jetty, like Rhino, is a New York-based startup, and it offers tenants a one-time fee paid upfront.
Instead of paying a full security deposit, Jetty asks for 17.5% of the deposit amount, no matter what the amount is.
For those who want to pay just one bill and have a security deposit bond below $700, Jetty may be the lowest in cost in comparison to other companies.
There is no additional payment (such as application fees) and pricing is transparent and fixed.
Jetty, like Assurant, offers a surety bond instead of insurance.
Conveniently, there is no application or credit check process with Jetty. If you were approved by the landlord, you're approved by Jetty.
Notably, paying only 17.5% of the deposit is only offered if you rent through one of Jetty’s real estate partners.
Like ePremium, Jetty allows tenants to switch apartment units if it’s within the same building.
The policy lasts for the life of the lease.
|If the tenant is approved by the property manager, then the resident is approved by Jetty.||The one-time fee is non-refundable. However, you’ll find that this is the case for most security deposit insurance companies.|
|The one-time fee lasts for the duration of tenancy and no renewals are needed.|
|Jetty's renter's insurance is a low-cost option, so bundling with the security deposit may be a great way to save.|
The Best Insurance with No Mandatory Credit Check: LeaseLock
LeaseLock’s intentions is to move the rental industry in New York (as well as other cities) away from security deposits and surety bonds, the latter of which is similar to paying interest on a bank loan.
The company’s popularity is due to how fast it can get you moved into your new rental without any deposit or guarantor requirement.
Unlike other security deposit guarantors, as soon as you sign up with LeaseLock, the company instantly covers your security deposit without any separate registration, application, or billing process.
The amount is great for landlords because it will always be well above the standard security deposit.
In turn, you pay a small monthly fee rather than pay a security deposit upfront and the cost is determined by the company’s algorithm.
For example, if your rent is $5,000, you pay $29 a month and Leaselock automatically insures you for damages of up to $500.
If your rent is cheaper, say, $2,500 a month, you pay only $19 a month and have damage coverage of $400.
In place of the standard—and mandatory—credit check, rental apartment properties that work with LeaseLock agree to allow the insurance company’s algorithm to approve applicants.
The drawback with LeaseLock is that the algorithm determines how much of a risk you are, which means that your monthly fee, which starts at around $19 a month, can go as high as $140 depending on the terms of your lease.
|Leaselock is an alternative to a credit check||Expensive|
|Noted as the first and only nationwide A-rated insurance provider||Your monthly fee can go higher than the standard $19 when using Leaselock’s algorithm.|
|Leaselock offers more coverage for damages than other deposit companies.||Under the company’s algorithm, you can still be denied by LeaseLock.|
|Your landlord or management company must be partnered with Leaselock, limiting the where you can rent.|
The Best Security Deposit Insurance for Landlords: Rhino
This New York startup is a fave with landlords, as they benefit with a security deposit without having the renters pay it in full. In other words, instead of a renter paying cash for the security deposit, the landlord can offer the tenant to take out a Rhino policy.
The policy is known as a “monthly subscription” and the cost varies but is very affordable.
You can pay as low as $3-$5 a month for a rental that costs $1,000 per month or around $25 for a rental that charges $3,000 a month.
Rhino is a traditional insurance model, which means that tenants pay a monthly fee and Rhino reviews damage claims.
The actual fee is determined by an algorithm, just like LeaseLock.
Rhino is admirable as it’s looking out for the underdog.
It is one of many services that want to eliminate the traditional up-front security deposit and instead have renters pay a small monthly fee instead.
It collapses the barrier for those who may be able to afford a monthly rent but are unable to come up with one lump sum upfront to pay for the security deposit.
In this way, potential renters who have low-income jobs can now afford to take on a rental. According to Bloomberg, News,
“This is a way to attract more prospective residents and makes it easier for them to move in.”
Rhino is similar to companies like Assurant in that the landlord must participate in the insurance company.
If the landlord doesn’t work with Rhino, you have to spend a lot of time looking for apartments that take the policy.
|Affordable||Landlords need to be working with Rhino to accept this policy.|
|The Most Popular Security Deposit Insurance||The monthly fee is not stable. If your rent goes up or if you extend your lease, that fee can change.|
|Allows for those with limited income.|
|If there’s damage or unpaid rent, you don’t have to do a thing. The landlord deals directly with Rhino to get money back on unpaid rent or damage.|
The Best for Securing a Lease If Your Don't Qualify: The Guarantors
It used to be that a potential tenant who falls short of qualifying for a rental because of a low income or less than good credit score (630-699) will turn to a guarantor or co-signer to help the prospective tenant get approved by the building owner.
In this case, it’s often the recent college graduate with a professional job who will turn to relatives and friends to ask any of them to co-sign.
But what happens when you can’t find the right guarantor or have no one to turn to in order to qualify for an apartment?
That’s where The Guarantor comes in to help you. The company becomes your guarantor.
These days, landlords expect prospective renters to have a credit score of at least 700 and an annual income 40 times greater than one month’s rent.
That’s just inconceivable for most New Yorkers.
The Guarantors, a lease guarantor, is one of those rare payment insurance company that takes on potential tenants who have a relatively low credit score and an annual salary that is below what landlords and owners ask for.
However, you still have to earn 27 times the monthly rent annually.
Opened up in 2016 The Guarantors offers payment insurance for a one-time fee of 17% of the requested security deposit.
In case of damage or unpaid rent, the Guarantors’ insurance policy offers much-needed assurance for the building owner.
The Guarantors cover the full amount of the rent during the lease term plus the security deposit amount. Note that there’s an interest rate.
Using The Guarantors is a win-win for both landlords and tenants.
Landlords get paid more for protection in lieu of the standard security deposit, which often can’t cover the full cost of any damages or unpaid rent.
And prospective tenants circumvent the high upfront costs when renting an apartment.
The cost of the protection is a minimum of 4.75% of the total rent obligation plus security deposit, but that figure can range up to at least 10%.
Perhaps the best thing about using The Guarantors is the quick turn-around.
After you finish taking a five-minute questionnaire, The Guarantors can give you a pre-qualification within 24 hours to ensure you get the apartment that you like or is the best fit for you.
|Guarantor and security deposit services under one roof||The security deposit replacement is nonrefundable|
|Underwrites your security deposit like a surety bond||There’s an interest rate in the security deposit premium|
What If My Landlord Won't Take Security Deposit Insurance?
In a perfect world, every landlord would amenably agree to a security deposit insurance arrangement.
Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world, and different landlords have different perspectives and needs.
You could try to borrow money in order to pay for the security deposit.
The other option would be to ask if your landlord would directly accept a type of security deposit insurance payment plan directly made out to the landlord, instead of using a third-party.
This might work with a landlord who may not want to deal with the hassle of bringing outside vendors or insurance companies into the mix.
We took a close look at all the top security deposit insurance companies in New York, including internet findings such as listicles and “the best companies” as well as each company’s website.
We rated them on criteria including Quick Turnaround and Affordability.
List of security deposit insurance companies we surveyed: ePremium eDeposit, Rhino, Assurant, Jetty, LeaseLock, The Guarantors.
How We Picked the Best Security Deposit Companies in New York
Security deposit companies are all different in many ways, and so we put together a list of some of the best New York City providers and then picked those that are the best for their category. This list can help you to pick the company that suits your needs and find those that are affordable so as not to break your budget. Every dollar counts. Especially when considering renting an apartment here in New York City.
We gathered our information from various trusted sites in this relatively new type of security deposit insurance. The sites we kept turning to in order to differentiate the guarantors were their own websites, above all those that had their own blogs. The “best” in each category were whittled down to only include companies that serve New York.
We chose security deposit companies that are affordable for prospective renters who may have a blemished credit score or who have enough money to pay the monthly rent but who can’t come up with the upfront costs, mainly the security deposit. We also looked at companies with the lowest security deposit monthly payments tailored to low-income apartment hunters in New York City. Many of the companies we chose are affordable in different ways, and we made sure to tell you why.
The Surety Bond Companies
We looked at firms that differ from the traditional security deposit guarantor. These are companies that issue surety bonds, a form of insurance. The surety bond is the landlord’s best friend. If the landlord’s tenant causes property damage to the apartment or fails to pay rent, the surety bond enforces that the landlord is paid for all the inconveniences up to the limits of the bond.
If you are dealing with a surety bond company, you pay only 17.5% of the security deposit, which is a bargain. The burden of the upfront is thereby eliminated. So if you rent a one-bedroom apartment in New York for, say, $1,362 a month, your security deposit would only cost you $285.60.
A surety deposit is a win-win for both landlord and tenant.
The Quick-Turnaround Insurance
Home Security Deposit Insurance approval takes time but varies due to the property. You may be at the end of your lease and want to move to another apartment ASAP or you may be coming to New York like yesterday and want your housing to be secured so you can move right in.
This is why we looked at companies where the approval process is considered very quick. In this way, we focused on how fast a tenant can get moved in. We also looked at guarantors who instantly covers your security deposit without any separate registration, application, or billing process. Importantly, timing is a major factor when we chose quick-turnaround insurances.