Once you’re ready to buy a renters insurance policy, you can get a free quote using an online quote tool or by talking to a local insurance agent. Keep reading to learn what renters insurance covers, how a policy works, and how to purchase the best renters insurance policy for you and your home.
What Is Renters Insurance?
Renters insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects renters and their personal belongings. All policies will include personal property coverage and liability coverage to protect you from neighbors’ claims over bodily injury and property damage.
You can also expect your policy to pay for additional living expenses if you have to vacate your home for repairs and for medical payments for any guests who are injured in your home.
Who Needs Renters Insurance?
Anyone who rents an apartment, condo, townhouse, or single-family home is eligible for renters insurance. No one is required by law to purchase a policy, but many landlords will require at least liability coverage to protect against liability claims.
Even if your landlord doesn’t require insurance, getting a policy may be a good idea because you’ll protect yourself from having to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket if an unexpected event destroys your belongings, leaves you without a home, or causes damage or injury to other people.
How Does Renters Insurance Work?
Renters insurance coverage will begin on the start date you selected. This can be as soon as the day after you purchased a policy.
When a covered loss occurs, file a claim with your insurance provider over the phone with a customer service representative or in your customer portal or mobile app. Make sure the claims center is open if you choose to talk to a representative.
If your renters insurance claim is approved, you’ll pay the deductible agreed upon in the policy, and your insurance agent will walk you through the rest of the process. If you were unable to provide all of the information about the incident in the initial claim, you can update your agent throughout the claims process.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
A renters insurance policy covers events, like fire and theft, and any damage they cause under four areas of coverage—personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments to others.
- Personal property—This covers the cost of replacing your personal property when a covered peril damages your items. You can choose a replacement cash value (RCV) policy or an actual cash value (ACV) policy. An RCV policy costs more but replaces the items with new ones, while an ACV policy only gives you money to replace the items based on their depreciated value.
- Loss of use—If a covered event forces you out of your home, your policy will pay for a temporary rental or hotel room and any other living expenses that exceed your typical amount, like the cost of meals.
- Liability—If you cause an accident that leads to bodily injury or damages someone’s personal property, this coverage will pay for the medical bills or replacement costs.
- Medical payments to others—If a guest is injured in your home, you can file a claim to have their medical bills paid.
Regardless of who you purchase your policy from, you can expect these events to be covered:
- Falling objects
- Weight of snow, sleet, or ice
- Fire and lightning
- Hail and wind
- Damage from another vehicle
- Smoke damage
- Water damage not from floods
Additional Coverage Options
Endorsements, or floaters, are additional coverage options that allow you to get protection for areas not included in the four types of coverage found in your base policy. Here are a few common endorsements:
- Earthquake damage
- Identity theft protection
- Personal injury
- Scheduled personal property
- Pet damage
What Doesn’t Renters Insurance Cover?
Unless you purchase an endorsement, these areas will typically not be covered by your policy:
- Roommate property
- Damage from natural disasters
- Damage from pests
- Car damage
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the national average for a renters insurance policy is typically between $180 and $190 per year. However, there are discrepancies in cost by state because of the different costs of living and susceptibilities to natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.
Other factors related to you and your property will also change the cost of your policy. Here are a few factors you will be asked about when getting a quote to determine your insurance premium:
- Your age
- Your claims history
- Your pets
- Your credit score
- Unit safety features
- Building age
- Building proximity to a fire station
How to Get the Best Renters Insurance Policy
To get the best renters insurance for you and your home, follow these steps:
- Take a home inventory—Before starting your search, take inventory of your belongings so that you can get an accurate amount of how much personal property coverage you’ll need. You can take this inventory by listing out your items and estimating their value or by using an estimation tool that companies like Geico offer to renters.
- Check with your landlord about insurance requirements—Ask your landlord if they have any insurance requirements. For example, most landlords will require $100,000 worth of liability coverage.
- Talk to your auto insurance provider—Once you decide on personal property and liability coverage, get your first renters insurance quote from your car insurance company, if you have one. You may be eligible for a discount when bundling insurance policies.
- Get quotes from at least two other companies—Get at least two more quotes from other providers to see what other coverage options are available. Read our review on the best renters insurance to find other renters insurance companies that fit your coverage needs.
- Compare quotes—Once you have several quotes, compare them to determine which company has the best coverage with the most affordable rate.
- Purchase a policy—Once you decide on a provider, you can purchase a policy online or call a local agent from your insurance company. Your coverage will begin on the start date you select.
Compare Renters Insurance Companies
Take a look at Allstate, American Family, and State Farm—our top three picks for renters insurance:
Renters Insurance Options Breakdown
|Companies||Allstate||American Family||State Farm|
|Monthly price||About $16||Less than $15||About $12|
|Personal property coverage limits||$25,000–$150,000||$10,000–$100,000||No limit|
|Liability coverage limits||$100,000, $200,000, $300,000, or $500,000||$100,000, $300,000, or $500,000||$100,000, $300,000, $400,000, $500,000, $750,000 or $1,000,000|
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