Best Renters Insurance 2018 | Compare Companies, Coverage, and Costs

Find the Best Renters Insurance


Compare renters insurance quotes in your area

Mike Brown
Updated: August 23, 2018

Note from the editor: Our research, news, ratings, and assessments are scrutinized using strict editorial integrity. In full transparency, our company may receive compensation from partners listed on our website. Learn more about how we make money by visiting our advertiser disclosure.

You might not own your own home, but it’s still important to make sure your belongings are covered and can be replaced if something happens to them.

Renters insurance doesn’t just help you replace your belonging in the case of a fire. It also covers you in case of theft or other damage. If you live in a higher-crime area with a higher rate of break-ins, you might want to consider getting insured.

But even if you’re not worried about replacing your own possessions, you might still want to get renters insurance. After all, in addition to covering your couches and wine glasses, renters insurance covers you in case you’re found liable for accidental damage to your rental suite or other rental suites.

For example, say you forget to shut off the tap in the bath and it floods the unit below you. Without renters insurance, you could end up having to pay for the repairs to the suite below out of pocket. It can cover you if you have a pet that could bite someone or destroy someone’s property. It can also protect you from the liability you might have if someone is injured while visiting your home.

Although renters insurance might seem like it’s something expensive and unnecessary, it’s actually an inexpensive way to get some piece of mind. That way when something truly terrible happens – like a fire or a break-in – the last thing you’ll be worrying about is how to pay to replace what you’ve lost.

Table of Contents:

Best Renters Insurance Comparison

Filter available options based on policy cost, liability coverage, property discounts, and rating.

Lemonade

$5 / Mo.

Policies As Low As

$500,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

7.9

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Policies as low as $5 per month, takes about 90 seconds to get insured
  • Currently available for residents in New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, Oregon, Arkansas, Connecticut, or the District of Columbia
  • Flexible deductibles, coverages, and a simple claims process which can be completed in 3 minutes
Jetty

$5 / Mo.

Policies As Low As

$300,000

Max Liability Coverage

N/A

Property Discounts

N/A

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Get a quote in 10 seconds
  • Renters insurance for the price of a latte
  • Will cover your living costs is your home becomes uninhabitable
  • Unique coverages you wont find anywhere else, like bedbug coverage, personal electronics protection and extended Airbnb host protection
Allstate

N/A

Policies As Low As

$500,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

5.1

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Repayment limit of $1,000 on individual items without personal property coverage
  • Will reimburse your living costs if your home is uninhabitable
  • Liability coverage to protect you against legal bills, medical bills, and other damages from injury
Nationwide

N/A

Policies As Low As

$1,000,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

N/A

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Provides reimbursement for additional living expenses when prevented from living in your home
  • Helps pay for covered damage or bodily injury from an accident
  • May help pay for medical or funeral expenses for someone injured
Liberty Mutual

N/A

Policies As Low As

$1,000,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

6.1

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Protects your belongings from theft or damage, both inside and when traveling or moving
  • Can be covered if you accidentally damage someones property, or if injuries occur within your rental
  • Cover your possessions from damage and loss for as little as $12 per month
American Family

N/A

Policies As Low As

$1,000,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

N/A

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Helps you with the costs of replacing your belongings should they be damaged by fire, theft, water, and other covered losses
  • Liability protection could help you pay for property damage, first aid, medical, and court costs
  • If your rental becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, you will receive help paying for additional living expenses
Geico

N/A

Policies As Low As

$1,000,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

4.4

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Offer a personal property calculator so you can add up the cost of your belongings prior to getting a quote
  • Can cover injury to another person on your property
  • Can cover your legal defense and medical expenses of people who don't live with you, but were injured on your property
State Farm

N/A

Policies As Low As

$1,000,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

4.2

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Covers personal property, such as computers, furniture, electronics, bikes, etc.
  • Covers losses caused by weather, theft, vandalism, riots, aircraft, and vehicles
  • Receive discounts by covering other belongings with State Farm
Hartford

N/A

Policies As Low As

$300,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

9.4

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Could help cover damaged belongings such as furniture, clothing, and appliances
  • Helps pay your living expenses up to policy limits if you cannot live in your rental property due to a covered loss
  • Helps cover your legal defense in a liability claim and covers any court judgements against you up to the policy limit
Farmers

N/A

Policies As Low As

No Cap

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

5.4

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Can help you cover your assets in the event a guest or visitor to your home is injured as a result of your negligence
  • Covers your valuables up to the limits state in your policy
  • Options to extend coverage for your personal belongings if their value is higher than the limits in your policy
MetLife

N/A

Policies As Low As

$1,000,000

Max Liability Coverage

Yes

Property Discounts

4.9

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Provides customizable coverage for your belongings in case of losses
  • Identity protection services with each policy
  • Excellent customer service
Erie

N/A

Policies As Low As

N/A

Max Liability Coverage

N/A

Property Discounts

N/A

Trustpilot Rating

What we like

  • Covers living expenses if you are unable to stay in your home after damages
  • Covers medical costs due to injury to someone visiting your home
  • Can cover your belongings in case of damages or loss

What Companies Offer the Best Renters Insurance?

Allstate

Allstate offers renters insurance to people across the U.S. The coverage will protect your belongings in case of fire, theft, or other perils. If you have special types of personal property like expensive jewelry, audio equipment, artwork or special collections, you can also get scheduled personal property coverage for these items. Otherwise, Allstate will limit repayments for individual items of up to $1,000 per item.

Allstate will reimburse your living costs if your home is uninhabitable – including paying for food and a place to live temporarily. Allstate also provides liability coverage that can protect you against legal bills, medical bills, and other damages if someone gets injured at your home. There is also guest medical coverage in case someone is injured at your home and requires a limited amount of medical coverage.

You can also add identity restoration coverage to protect you in case someone steals your identity. Allstate also allows you to get additional riders for things like flood insurance and offers personal umbrella insurance if you feel you need additional liability insurance.

How much you’ll pay for renters insurance with Allstate will depend on things like where you live, your deductible, and how much you want to insure. But Allstate insurance offers a number of different discounts.

For example, you can get a discount if you have multiple types of policies from Allstate. You can also get a 15 percent discount if you have a security system or fire alarms, 5 percent off if you sign up for autopay, 25 percent off if you are over 55 or retired, and up to 20 percent off for every year that you are claim-free.

Allstate is rated by ‘about average’ in J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study,

And ‘about average’ in the company’s 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

The notable features of Allstate renters insurance include flexible policy options and several ways to get discounts on your policy.

Nationwide

Nationwide is an insurance company that offers renters insurance across the country. The basic coverage will insure your personal items from loss and damage and also provides liability coverage, medical payments coverage, or funeral cost coverage if someone is injured or dies in your home. If you lose the use of your home due to damage, it will cover your living expenses, such as hotel rooms and food, until you’re able to find a new place to live.

The basic coverage insures any additions, alternations, fixtures, or improvements you make to your home. This is a less common feature for renters insurance but could be especially important if you made changes to your home to accommodate a disability. In addition, Nationwide provides something called credit card coverage, which reimburses you for unauthorized transactions on your credit cards, bank, or ATM card – including forged checks and counterfeit money.

You can add several insurance riders to the basic policy. You can get special coverage to protect your high-value items – including jewelry, watches, antiques, and fine art. You can add water backup protection in case a backed-up sewer or drain destroys your belongings. Theft extension insurance can protect your personal belongings even if they’re stored in your car, trailer, or boat. There is also a special policy that will cover damages related to earthquakes or volcanos.

Nationwide provides coverage that ensures you can buy brand-new belongings to replace things that are destroyed. First, it gives you the depreciated value of your covered items and then after you purchase new things or have them repaired, it will pay you the difference.

How much you’ll pay will depend on how much coverage you purchase, where you live, and what kinds of riders you get. But you can get discounts if you buy auto or life insurance policies with Nationwide as well.

Nationwide was ranked ‘about average’ by J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study, and ‘about average’ in customer satisfaction on the company’s 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

Nationwide’s renters insurance policy offers many options for coverage. The basic policy provides a significant number of great benefits that you won’t get from many other insurance companies, like coverage of changes and additions to your home. The riders also give additional, specialized coverage you might not find with other insurance companies.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual Insurance is an insurance company that offers renters insurance across the U.S.

It offers personal property coverage that protects your belongings from theft or damage both at your home and when you’re traveling or out and about, and liability coverage of up to $100,000 as part of the standard coverage. But this coverage excludes certain things like computers, smartphones, and expensive jewelry – though you can buy additional coverage to protect these items. It does not offer things like flood or earthquake coverage, but there are options to get coverage for replacement cost or actual cost value – although the latter is more expensive.

Coverage starts at as little as $12 per month, although how much you pay will depend on laws, regulations, and rates in your state, as well as the amount of coverage you want and where you live. You can also save money if you bundle your policy with an auto insurance policy from Liberty Mutual or if you haven’t filed a claim with your previous insurance company for five years or more. You might also be able to get a lower rate if you have security alarms, sprinkler systems, or fire extinguishers.

Liberty Mutual is rated as ‘about average’ in the J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study, and ‘about average’ in the 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

If you’re concerned about the cost of renters insurance, Liberty Mutual offers pared-down policies that only cover the essentials. It might work great for your budget, but remember to add in all the additional coverages you’ll need to ensure that your computers and phones are covered before you decide it’s the right policy for you.

American Family

American Family is an insurance company that offers renters insurance that is available across the country.

It offers property coverage against things like fire, theft, water damage, and other loses. Its liability protection covers your liability for property damage or injury, and loss of use coverage in case you can’t use your rental suite and need to pay for food or a hotel room.

You can get extra coverage for unique or expensive valuables like wedding rings, art, or other collections. You can also get identity theft protection and home business protection as added policies.

How much you will pay will depend on where you live and how much coverage you need, but you can get discounts in certain situations. For example, you can get discounts if you buy more than one type of policy from American Family Insurance. You can also get a discount if you have a home that is equipped with a smart device designed to protect your home or if you haven’t filed any claims in the past five years. In addition, you can get discounts if you sign up for autopay or pay your full policy upfront, if you’ve been a loyal American Family customer, or if your parents are American Family customers.

American Family is rated as ‘about average’ in the J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study, and is rated ‘about average’ as well in the 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

American Family might be worth considering depending on your personal insurance needs. It offers several discounts and low-price policies without a lot of frills.

GEICO

GEICO is a popular insurance company that offers renters insurance nationwide. The coverage insures personal property in the case of loss, fire, theft, or water damage. The company also offers liability coverage that insures you in case someone gets injured on your property and you’re found liable. The policy also provides coverage for medical payments in relation to the expenses of someone who gets injured on your property.

GEICO offers a number of specific riders for supplemental coverage. For example, one rider offers replacement cost coverage instead of cash value coverage. You can also cover expensive personal property like specialized electronics, jewelry, collections, and other valuables with a scheduled property rider. In addition, business merchandise coverage insures people who own a home business or sell online products, incidental business liability coverage, and additional coverages for things like floods and earthquakes.

How much you will pay will depend on how much insurance you are buying and where you live. You can also get discounts on your renters insurance if you have smoke alarms or a sprinkler system in your home. In addition, GEICO gives out discounts if you have multiple policies with them, if you have a home security system, or if there are security or front desk personnel in your building.

GEICO is better known for their auto insurance, so J.D. Power did not rate the company in its customer satisfaction surveys. But GEICO renters insurance received three out of five stars on ConsumerAffairs.com for customer satisfaction.

GEICO’s renters insurance offers several rental insurance options and makes it convenient for those who run home businesses to get additional coverage. It also provides several types of discounts that could save you a significant amount of money.

State Farm

State Farm is an insurance company that provides renters insurance nationwide. Its coverage protects you in case you suffer losses related to weather such as fires, storms, wind, hail, frozen plumbing, lightning, snow, sleet, or ice. It also covers damages that are not related to weather such as those caused by theft, vandalism, riots, aircraft, and vehicles. It includes a liability policy that covers you in case someone is injured on your property or if you damage someone’s property.

The company offers additional riders to insure valuables that aren’t covered in your basic renters insurance policy. These include special coverage for things like jewelry, furs, and other expensive valuables. It does also have limitations on covering certain types of property – such as only covering a certain amount of silverware and goldware in relation to theft, not covering firearms in relation to theft, and not covering money, bank notes, securities, or business property that you might have in your home.

State Farm claims that you can insure thousands of dollars’ worth of your belongings for less than $1 a day. How much you’ll actually pay will depend on what you’re insuring and where you live. You can potentially also save money by getting discounts, such as if you insure your car with State Farm as well.

When it comes to customer service, State Farm is known to have timely service. It’s rated ‘better than most’ insurers in the J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study and is rated ‘better than most’ in the 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

State Farm covers numerous types of property damage and is known for happy customers and great customer service. But it comes with some restrictions that might have an impact on you. It’s important to read the fine print on your State Farm policy, and compare it to the fine print on other policies, to make sure it will fit your needs.

The Hartford

The Hartford is an insurance company that offers personal and commercial insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. It offers renters insurance in collaboration with AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons. This policy and certain features offered by The Hartford aren’t available in every state.

The Hartford offers coverage in the case of loss or theft that allows you to replace your possessions at full replacement value rather than just getting how much the items are currently worth. Their policy also covers things like loss of use in case you need to find temporary housing, liability, and medical payments. The liability coverage includes coverage against people for slander and libel – a great added benefit that isn’t very common for renters insurance policies. You can also get specialty coverage for your expensive items and get an option to waive your deductible for claims over $27,500 for an additional expense.

Some additional coverages include: equipment breakdown coverage for appliances or electronic equipment; identify fraud coverage; and water and backup sump pump overflow coverage. You can customize your policy from The Hartford in order to fit your budget by selecting only the options and benefits that you need.

How much you’ll pay will depend on how much you’re covering, what type of coverage you’re getting, and where you live. You can also get discounts if you bundle your rental insurance with your auto insurance, or if your apartment or condo has a 24-hour security service. Finally, you can get a renewal credit when you are a returning customer.

The Hartford is listed as having ‘about average’ coverage in the J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study and is rated ‘about average’ as well in the 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

The Hartford’s coverage will allow you to get comprehensive coverage for a lower price. The added benefit of libel or slander coverage is noteworthy and a potentially helpful bonus to add to your renters insurance.

Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance is a California-based insurance company that provides insurance for homes, cars, and small businesses. Not all of its insurance products are available in every state, so check to see if you qualify.

The renters insurance policy covers your personal possessions such as clothes, electronics, furniture, and other items against damage from floods, vandalism, theft, or other covered situations. Farmers also provides you with liability coverage in case someone is harmed on your property.

You can obtain coverage of valuables like jewelry, furs, art, or musical instruments up to the limits of your policy. If your articles are worth more, you can get additional coverage. It covers medical payments if someone is injured in your home, plus it covers living expenses if the place you rent becomes uninhabitable.

You can also get some optional coverage that ensures you get the full current replacement value and that you can easily replace your items. It also offers identity shield coverage, which can help you restore your identity if you’re the victim of identity fraud.

How much you will pay for your coverage will depend on your insurance needs and the type of coverage you choose. However, you can get discounts if you: purchase an auto or life insurance policy with Farmers Insurance; are part of a defined business or professional group like a dentist, teacher, or firefighter; don’t smoke; or have security alarms, fire alarms, or sprinklers in your home.

Farmers is rated ‘about average’ in the J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study, and ‘about average’ in the 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

Farmers Insurance allows you to customize your coverage to pay for only what you need. For example, if you don’t want full replacement cost coverage, you don’t need to pay the added expense. It also offers several discounts for various groups of people, which could benefit you.

MetLife

MetLife is an insurance company that is primarily known for its health and life insurance offerings, but that also provides renters insurance. Its policies are available nationwide. You can buy its renters insurance online if you live in select states, otherwise, you can get a quote in person with an agent or over the phone.

It offers protection you can customize to cover damage from events like tornadoes, hail, theft, vandalism, fire, and other types of things that could damage your property. It pays replacement cost and doesn’t deduct based on depreciation. It offers liability insurance and identity protection services with each policy up to $100,000. Special options cover luxury items like electronics, jewelry, and sports equipment. You can get up to $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 of this additional coverage.

Worried about items breaking or no longer working? MetLife offers a policy that will cover your items if they break down or don’t work correctly.

How much you’ll pay will depend on how much you want to insure and additional policies you opt to get. You can get discounts if you buy online, have multiple policies with MetLife, or have security and safety devices in your home or rental unit like fire alarms, security alarms, and sprinklers. You might also be able to get an additional discount if you buy coverage through your employer or a MetLife-affiliated association.

MetLife was found to have ‘about average’ coverage in J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study, and is rated ‘about average’ as well in the 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

Erie Insurance

Erie Insurance is an insurance company that’s been in business since 1925 and it provides renters insurance nationwide. The policies insure your belongings at your home, and also protects them against theft or damage around the world. This can be beneficial if you travel often.

The basic coverage also includes liability protection that covers you in case someone is injured in your home or their property is damaged and you’re found liable. It also covers medical payments in case someone is injured in your home and needs medical care. If you’re unable to use your home because of fire or other loss, it will also provide you with money to cover a hotel stay, meals, and other expenses until you’re able to find a permanent place.

How much you’ll pay will depend on how much coverage you need, what kind of policy you want, and where you live. However, you can get discounts if you combine your auto and renters insurance policies.

Erie Insurance is well known for offering amazing customer service. It came in fourth, with a ‘better than most’ rating, in the J.D. Power’s 2017 Homeowner’s Insurance Study, and is rated third, and ‘better than most’ as well, in the 2018 Property Insurance Claims Study.

Erie insurance might be a good option for you depending on your insurance needs. While it provides fairly standard coverage, their customer service and satisfaction are highly rated, which might be reason enough to buy insurance from Erie Insurance.

[Back to top]


How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

The cost of renters insurance varies significantly from one company to the next. Premiums are based on a number of different factors, such as how much and what type of coverage you want, plus variables related to where you live that can increase or decrease your risk of needing to make a claim.

Here are some of the common factors that can affect how much your insurance is likely to cost.

Ask the Expert

Stefan Tirschler

Product & Underwriting Manager at Square One Insurance Services


What does the typical renters insurance policy cost and what goes into determining that cost?

Renters insurance can cost as little as $15 per month, or even less in some cases. The price depends on several factors: what kind and amount of coverage you choose to purchase; loss statistics for the location where you are renting; the deductibles you choose; and your own personal insurance history. Customers who have previously made property insurance claims may temporarily see higher quotes than customers with claims-free prior history.

Choosing the right kind of coverage is important. Many home insurance providers still offer "named perils" policies, which only cover a short, specific list of causes of loss - like fire, theft, or water damage. By comparison, an "all risk" (or open perils) policy will cover all possible causes of loss to your belongings, except for a short list of specifically excluded losses. The difference in premium between the two types of policy is often minimal, which makes an "all risk" policy a much greater value option, in addition to offering stronger protection.

What is the difference between replacement costs and actual costs?

Choosing the right basis of payment is also important. Many insurance providers still offer "actual cash value" policies, which will only pay the depreciated value of your belongings. By comparison, a "replacement cost" policy will pay up to the cost of replacing items with brand-new items of similar kind and quality.

This can be significant in the event of a claim: for example, think about how much your couch is worth in its current, second-hand condition. Then, check what it would cost to buy a new one today. There is probably a big difference in price between the two; by choosing a replacement cost policy, you won't have to foot the bill for that difference yourself in the event of a claim.

Types of Coverage

Not all renters insurance is the same. Different companies offer different types of policies and policy options. Some offer bare-bones policies that just cover your possessions and provide liability coverage. Others offer more comprehensive policies that include things like extensive liability coverage, medical coverage for people who get injured in your home, coverage for loss of use, and even coverage for identity theft. The more add-ons your policy has, the more expensive it’s likely to be.

Similarly, if you own a bunch of expensive items, like jewelry or art, that need to be insured via a schedule, then you’re also likely to have to pay more for coverage than if you didn’t own any particularly expensive items.

Location

Where you live has a huge impact on how much you’ll pay for renters insurance. For example, if you live in an area that has a lot of break-ins, you’ll likely pay more relative to someone who lives in a gated community with very little crime. That’s because you’re more likely to make a theft-related claim and the insurance company is putting that risk into the price of your policy.

Similarly, if you live too far away from a fire hall or from a fire hydrant, you might also face additional costs. Another factor that could impact price is the weather in the area where you live. If you live in a region that sees more storms, flooding, or sewer back-ups, then you might end up paying higher rates.

Deductible

A deductible is how much you’re required to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. The higher your deductible is, the lower your rates will be. This is because if you have a high deductible you’re less likely to make a claim since your losses might be within your deductible. Also, your insurance company will have to pay less if you do make a claim since you’ve already paid a certain amount out of pocket.

When it comes to choosing your deductible, a smaller deductible isn’t always the best choice for everyone. For example, if you can’t afford to pay a $1,000 deductible if you lose everything then your insurance won’t be much help. For people who are living paycheck to paycheck or who don’t have an emergency fund, sometimes the safer choice is to get a policy with a higher deductible. Typically, you can change the deductible on your policy at any time.

Replacement Costs vs. Actual Costs

When it comes to paying out claims, insurance companies determine how much to pay in the event of your loss based on whether they use replacement costs or actual costs in order to determine your damages.

A policy that pays you the replacement costs is generally more favorable for you because it pays you the amount you would need to currently replace the item with something new of similar quality. That means that if you lost a computer, you would get the equivalent amount of money to buy a similar computer today.

In contrast, if you have a policy that pays out only the actual cash value, it will only pay out what you could reasonably sell the item for at the moment. That means you might have lost a camera that worked well, but if it’s 10 years old, you likely won’t get enough money to replace it since the insurer calculates depreciation when deciding your payout.

These are important distinctions to understand when buying insurance as replacement cost policies provide you with more coverage should you lose something. Not recognizing the difference could also make it hard to properly compare the prices of different insurance policies since cash value policies tend to be cheaper.

[Back to top]


Can You Get Cheap Rental Insurance?

There are a lot of ways to find cheap rental insurance. The first thing that you need to do is shop around. Each insurance company uses different rules and risk calculations in order to determine the price of a policy.

One easy way to shop around is to go to an insurance broker. Brokers represent more than one insurance company and can give you multiple quotes at the same time.

If you don’t have time to find an insurance broker and go into their office, you might consider using an online insurance marketplace. These websites allow you to get preapproved for renters insurance and get quotes for how much you’ll pay. This can help you find a cheap rental insurance option quickly.

[Back to top]


What Does Renters Insurance Typically Cover?

If you’re wondering what renters insurance covers, you might be surprised at both what is and isn’t covered. Not all renters insurance policies are alike, but most cover the following things.

Ask the Expert

Brad Goldsberry

Agency Producer at Farmers Insurance


What are the typical things that one can expect to have covered under a renters insurance policy and what exactly does each one cover?

Renters insurance is broken down into a few different coverages but can be customized to include additional coverages. These coverages are contents, loss of use, liability, and medical payments.

Personal Property: Everything that will be moved in and out of the apartment. These policies offer different coverages for contents and replacement cost versus actual cash value. Be sure to get a replacement cost policy so that if you do have a claim, your possessions will be replaced with like kind and quality and not depreciated.

Loss of Use: When you sign a lease for a place, you are on the hook for the lease no matter what. If you have a claim inside your apartment that prohibits you from using that apartment, this coverage can help the insured find a place to live and deal with those additional expenses. This coverage will not pay your current rent, but can help with the additional expenses you incur because you are unable to live in the apartment.

Liability: Liability coverage is to protect the insured from lawsuits against them. If someone slips and falls in the apartment and the insured is liable, this limit can be used to pay for damages. Unlike medical payments coverage, this is at-fault coverage as the party bringing the suit will need to prove your negligence led to their inquiries.

Medical Payments: Medical payments on the other hand is no-fault coverage and can be used to send a guest in your apartment to the ER if something were to happen at the apartment. The good thing about having this coverage is that the guest does not need to sue you to use it.

Personal Property

Ultimately, most people get renters insurance because they want to make sure that if something happens to their possessions through fire, theft, vandalism, or other types of covered damage, they are able to get their possessions replaced. The best renters insurance options will cover your possessions if they are stolen or damaged.

Some policies will cover you only if the theft or damage occurs on your property, while others will do so no matter where it occurs. Most policies do not cover floods or earthquakes. Some will cover water damage due to sump pump backup, whereas others will require that you get a special policy for this type of coverage. Make sure to read the fine print so you know exactly what your policy covers.

Liability

You might think that your landlord’s homeowners insurance will protect you if someone is injured on your property. Sometimes it can – but it depends on who is deemed to be liable.

For example, if your landlord is negligent and doesn’t fix a problem with a railing and someone falls and hurts themselves, then a court will likely rule that they are liable.

But if you have someone over and they are injured and it has nothing to do with your landlord’s negligence, then you might be the one deemed liable – especially if you, your children, or your pets cause the injury.

Most renters insurance policies have a minimum amount of around $100,000 to protect you in case something happens, but you can also get additional coverage. After all, if someone is gravely injured you could be deemed liable for much more.

Some people decide to take out an umbrella insurance policy instead of getting additional renters insurance coverage. Umbrella insurance provides additional liability insurance for your car and coverage in case you’re accused of libel.

Liability coverage can also protect you against any claims if you live in a condo and you start a fire or leave a tap on and it damages or floods someone else’s apartment. It can also cover you if you have a dog that bites someone or damages their property. However, it’s important to note that there are often breed-specific or other types of exemptions.

Medical Payments to Others

Most renters insurance policies have a stipulation that they can pay up to $1,000 in medical expenses for people injured on your property even if it is not your legal responsibility. This allows you pay out money to people injured without it going to a trial to determine legal responsibility. This can help ensure that those who are injured get speedy care.

Additional Living Expenses/Loss of Use

If you’re unable to stay in your home or apartment after it’s damaged in a fire or flood, then you will need to go stay somewhere else. That can get expensive – especially if you end up having to stay at a hotel.

If you can’t live in your home, your renters insurance policy can cover immediate living expenses until you find another place to live. It will pay for things like your hotel and any other immediate living expenses you might have like food and clothing.

[Back to top]


Is Renters Insurance Worth It for College Students?

If you’re a college student, you might not need to get renters insurance. That’s because if your parents have renters insurance or homeowners insurance, you might already be covered under their policy. Some policies will cover children living away from home while they’re in school. Since not all policies offer this coverage, make sure to read the fine print on your parent’s policy to make sure you’re covered.

If your parents don’t have a policy that you’re covered under, it might make sense for you to get a policy, even if the only furniture you have is made of milk crates. That’s because you’re not just protecting your personal property, but you’re also covering your liability. If you think tuition is expensive, you don’t want to get sued if someone is injured at your place or if you accidentally cause damage to someone’s property. The good news is that your policy will likely be extremely affordable.

[Back to top]


Ask the Expert

John Espenschied

Agency Provider & Owner of Insurance Brokers Group


Do you think renters insurance is worth it for college students?

Generally, college students are going to have their personal property covered under the parent's primary homeowner's insurance. Example would be if the parents have a $300,000 home insurance policy, 10 percent would be available for personal property, including the student's belongings outside of the home.

This is especially helpful since insurance companies will not write an insurance policy for someone living in a dorm room. If a student is living in an apartment, they may be required by the landlord to have a separate renters insurance policy for the unit, plus you'll have the added liability coverage.

How should one approach renters insurance when they have roommates?

You need to have your own renters insurance policy because you cannot insure property you do not own. When I first got in the business over 18 years ago, we had a young lady who insured her automobile through us and we asked about the renters insurance. She said one of her three roommates was getting a policy. I explained she wasn't covered under a non-related person, even in the same household. Well, a few months later I received a call from her father who wanted to know about her renters insurance. It turns out there was an electrical surge in the building and it fried all of her electronics. The only thing I could say was "I'm sorry to hear that."


Handling Renters Insurance

How to Handle Renters Insurance if You Have Roommates

You might think that if you’re living with roommates all you need is one policy to cover all of you. Unfortunately, that’s not how most renters insurance policies work. Renters insurance will often only cover you and family members who live with you. So if you’re living with a partner long enough, you can add their name to your policy as a common law spouse, but you might not be able to add your roommate – even if you’ve lived together for years.

In that case, your renters insurance policy will only cover replacement on the items that you personally own and your own portion of liability and damage. Each roommate will need to get their own policy.

That said, there are some companies that do allow you to share a renters insurance policy among roommates. The benefits are that you can save money by splitting the bill. However, it might not save you money in the long run since if your roommate makes a claim it will go on your personal insurance history as well. That could lead to higher rates down the line. In addition, you could face problems if one of your roommates moves out and you’ll have to take their name off the policy and add a new roommate to it.

How to Handle Renters Insurance if You Have a Dog

If you have a dog, there are a few reasons why having renters insurance might be especially important to you. The first is that it can sometimes cover you in case your dog bites someone and otherwise injures them or damages their property. The insurance company can cover the medical bills and any damages that your dog causes to the property of others. That will come in handy since you could be on the hook for things like medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income. That said, most policies only provide $100,000 in liability coverage so you might want to get an umbrella policy if you want more coverage.

If you have a dog, you could end up paying more for your insurance because there is more risk to the insurer. But depending on the insurer and breed of dog you have, your renters insurance might not cover liability connected to your dog at no extra cost. That’s because certain companies exclude breeds that are statistically more likely to have claims related to biting or damage. If your dog is one of those breeds, you can get dog liability insurance to supplement your renters insurance and ensure that you’re protected.

How to Handle Renters Insurance if You Have Expensive Items

Tell your insurance broker or agent if you have rare or valuable items so they can be specifically covered as part of a scheduled list.

The type of items that need to be declared separately include things like jewelry, artwork, expensive collections and anything else that is especially expensive.

If you need to get an additional rider or schedule, how much it will cost will depend on the value of the items. Some insurers won’t cover certain types of items, and others will cover them in case of fire but not in case of theft if they are often stolen.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so be sure to speak to your insurer about any items that you’re not sure are covered under your normal policy.

[Back to top]