How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

Kevin Payne
Written by
Kevin Payne
Kevin Payne
Written by
Kevin Payne
Kevin Payne is a freelance writer and family travel and budget enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. His work has been featured in Forbes Advisor, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, SlickDeals, Finance Buzz, The Ascent, Student Loan Planner, and more. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and four teenagers.
Chris Schafer
Edited by
Chris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Edited by
Chris Schafer
Senior Editor
Chris is Insurify’s Senior Editor for home insurance. He’s a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more. He is passionate about breaking down complex subject material to make important information accessible to everyone. Chris began his career as a journalist, managing two weekly newspapers, then moving into marketing and content marketing roles. Before joining Insurify, Chris served as the content strategy manager at Siteimprove and as the content manager at Brandpoint, where he managed a team of content creators. Away from work, Chris is an active hockey player and proud father of two rambunctious little girls. Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. 

Updated December 15, 2022

Reading time: 7 minutes

Why you can trust Insurify

As an independent agent and insurance comparison website, Insurify makes money through commissions from insurance companies. However, our expert insurance writers and editors operate independently of our insurance partners. Learn more.

If you rent a home or apartment, your landlord’s insurance policy covers the physical structure if damage occurs from covered perils, but it won’t protect your belongings.

Renters insurance is a type of insurance coverage specifically for people renting a home or apartment. Renters insurance typically covers damages to personal property and provides liability coverage and funds for costs incurred if your rental residence is damaged or uninhabitable.

How much renters insurance you need depends on the value of your personal belongings and your specific living situation. Rental insurance costs depend on several factors, too, including your location, the size of the rental property, the type and amount of coverage, the insurance provider, and the amount of your deductible. Here are some basics of renters insurance, what it does and doesn’t cover, and how much coverage you may need as a renter.

What renters insurance covers

Rental insurance, also known as tenant insurance, protects you and your belongings against covered perils, which often include:

  • Fire

  • Frozen pipes

  • Hailstorms

  • Lightning strikes

  • Theft

  • Vandalism

  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet

  • Windstorms

The coverage in many renters insurance policies breaks down into three categories — personal property, liability, and additional living expenses. Here’s a look at what’s covered with each protection.

Personal property

Personal property coverage is for your belongings or possessions. Your personal property is typically covered if it’s damaged or stolen inside or outside the rental property. Coverage includes any belongings, from computers and other electronics to jewelry, clothing, and more.

For example, if your phone or laptop is stolen while left unattended at a coffee shop or restaurant, renters insurance would provide funds to help you replace it. If the rental property catches fire or is damaged by a covered disaster, renters insurance would help repair or replace any damaged belongings.[1]

Keeping an accurate inventory of your possessions, especially your valuables, can help streamline the process and ensure you don’t miss any important items when filing your insurance claim. Remember to keep receipts for any valuable items you purchase in case you need to file a claim later on.

Liability

The liability portion of renters insurance protects you from financial loss if another person is injured in your rental home. It also covers you if you damage another person’s personal property, whether it occurs at your rental property or elsewhere. For example, if you accidentally drop a friend’s camera at the park and it breaks, liability coverage will help pay to repair or replace it. If someone trips over furniture in your apartment and breaks their arm, liability coverage will help cover medical expenses for the injured person.[1]

Additional living expenses

If you experience a covered loss that leaves the rental property uninhabitable, additional living expenses coverage helps reimburse some of the cost of temporary housing and living expenses during that time. Sometimes referred to as loss of use coverage, it may include the cost of a hotel or other accommodations, food, transportation, and other reasonable living expenses.[2]

In addition, if your rental home suffers damage from a house fire, you could be without long-term, permanent housing. Rental insurance can help reimburse immediate expenses incurred for a hotel room, meals, and other pressing needs resulting from the fire.

Read More: What Does a Renters Insurance Policy Cover?

What renters insurance doesn’t cover

While rental insurance can protect you and provide financial support in the case of many disasters, it’s not all-encompassing. In several circumstances, renters insurance won’t cover the losses or damage you experience.

Certain natural disasters

Most rental insurance policies protect you in case of natural disasters like tornadoes and wildfires, but they won’t cover damage from earthquakes, flooding, or sinkholes, especially if you live in an area known for these issues.

Undocumented items

Your insurance company may not reimburse you for belongings if you can’t prove ownership or the value. You can avoid this by keeping receipts and taking photographs of all your possessions.

Expensive valuables

Many insurance companies put caps on coverage for individual belongings. You may need additional coverage if you own jewelry or other expensive possessions.

Damage from pests

Renters insurance won’t protect your belongings from damage associated with pest infestations like termites or mice.

Your roommate’s belongings

Insurance policies generally only extend to you and a spouse or other legal relative. If you share a rental with roommates, they would need to purchase their own renters insurance coverage to protect their belongings.

Vehicles

Renters insurance extends to personal belongings within your vehicle, but not damage to or loss of the vehicle itself. This falls under car insurance.

The rental property itself

Rental insurance doesn’t cover the rental property structure. Luckily, that’s not your responsibility as a renter. Coverage for the rental structure falls on the owner of the property.[3]

Check Out: Guide to Personal Liability and Home Insurance

How much renters insurance do you need?

When renting a home, apartment, or condo, the landlord may require you to purchase renters insurance. The amount of renters insurance you need depends on your situation, the value of your belongings, and other factors. Start by documenting your belongings to determine the value of your personal property. Consider additional coverage if you own expensive items valued above your policy’s limits.

The typical renters insurance policy provides $100,000 in liability coverage, but you may want more, depending on your needs.

The location of the rental property can also affect how much rental insurance you should have. If you live in a high-crime area or an area susceptible to flooding or other natural disasters, you may want to have more coverage or purchase supplemental insurance.

How much does renters insurance cost?

Renters insurance is surprisingly affordable. The average renters insurance policy costs $15 to $30 a month, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).[4]

What affects the cost of renters insurance?

Several factors can affect the cost of rental insurance, including:

  • Rental location

  • Rental size

  • Type of rental coverage

  • Amount of coverage required

  • Your deductible amount

Your renters insurance policy may give you the option to choose between replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost coverage replaces damaged items with similar, new items, while actual cash value coverage considers depreciation when determining the value of lost or damaged items.

Higher deductibles can lower your monthly premiums, but you’ll also pay more out of pocket on your insurance claims.

It also bears mentioning that rental insurance policies may not cover everything you need. For example, if you live in an area known for flooding, you may want to purchase supplemental flood insurance to guarantee your belongings are protected from flood damage. If you live in an earthquake zone in California, your policy may exclude damage caused by earthquakes. Many providers offer earthquake insurance that provides additional coverage.

Insurance rates may vary between companies, so getting quotes from multiple providers can help you find the best rates and coverage for your needs.

Choosing your deductible

A deductible is an amount you pay out of pocket for damages or losses before your insurance policy kicks in. Deductibles apply to every insurance claim. Generally, the larger your deductible, the lower your monthly insurance premiums. Rental insurance deductibles work exactly like deductibles on home insurance policies. If your claim is approved, the insurance company will pay the claim amount that exceeds the deductible, up to policy limits.

Choosing a deductible depends on your needs and how much you want to pay out of pocket. A lower deductible can keep monthly premiums more affordable but also means you’ll need the funds immediately available whenever you file an insurance claim. A lower deductible can provide more peace of mind when disaster strikes, but it also means paying higher monthly insurance premiums. Determine your needs and choose a deductible that makes sense for your current situation.

Learn More: Selecting a Home Insurance Deductible

How can you find affordable renters insurance?

As a renter, you’re not responsible for insuring the rental property. But you are responsible if you want to protect yourself and your belongings in case of emergencies. Having adequate renters insurance may be necessary, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Most renters don’t realize how affordable renters insurance can be and that it doesn’t have to become a burden. Here are some ways you can find affordable prices in your search for renters insurance.

Take inventory of your belongings

You want to have enough coverage without purchasing too much. Start by documenting your belongings, including when they were purchased, their cost or value, and other pertinent details. Take photographs of belongings, especially those of greater value, so that you can prove ownership in any claims.

Get multiple quotes

The best way to find affordable renters insurance is to shop around. Review multiple insurance providers and compare renters insurance quotes to ensure you’re getting the best rate. Consider what’s included with rental insurance, since not all policies look alike or provide the same types and amounts of coverage. When possible, choose the same coverages, limits, and deductibles on insurance quotes to get an accurate comparison.

Look for deals and discounts

If you have other insurance coverage, you may be able to save money by bundling coverages through the same provider. You may also qualify for other discounts depending on your age or other factors. Check with your insurance company to see if any discounts available could lower your monthly premium.

Consider your needs

Determine your needs and look for policies that align and provide enough coverage so you, your family, and your belongings are protected while renting a home. Consider supplemental coverage if your policy excludes certain perils you may face.

See Also: Car and Renters Insurance Bundling

Renters insurance FAQs

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about renters insurance.

  • You don’t legally need renters insurance to rent a home or apartment, although not having it leaves you unprotected if your belongings are destroyed or damaged. Many landlords and rental companies require you to carry renters insurance and include it as a stipulation in leases.[5]

  • Like other insurance coverages, rental insurance premiums generally go up after filing a claim. The amount your premium will increase may depend on the amount of your insurance claim as well as other factors.

  • Roommates aren’t covered by renters insurance unless they’re a spouse or legal relative. Any roommates would need to purchase their own rental insurance policy to receive coverage for personal belongings damaged by a covered peril.

Compare Home Insurance Quotes Instantly

  • Personalized quotes in 5 minutes or less
  • No signup required

Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "Renters Insurance." Accessed December 15, 2022
  2. Insurance.com. "How additional living expenses coverage works." Accessed December 15, 2022
  3. American Apartment Owners Association. "Renters Insurance: What’s Covered, What’s Not." Accessed December 15, 2022
  4. NAIC . "Renting Your Home? Protect Your Belongings with Renters Insurance." Accessed December 15, 2022
  5. American Family Insurance. "Can a Landlord Require Renters Insurance?." Accessed December 15, 2022
Kevin Payne
Written by
Kevin Payne
Linkedin

Kevin Payne is a freelance writer and family travel and budget enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. His work has been featured in Forbes Advisor, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, SlickDeals, Finance Buzz, The Ascent, Student Loan Planner, and more. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and four teenagers.

Learn More
Chris Schafer
Edited by
Chris Schafer
Linkedin

Senior Editor

Chris Schafer
Edited by
Chris Schafer
Senior Editor
Chris is Insurify’s Senior Editor for home insurance. He’s a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more. He is passionate about breaking down complex subject material to make important information accessible to everyone. Chris began his career as a journalist, managing two weekly newspapers, then moving into marketing and content marketing roles. Before joining Insurify, Chris served as the content strategy manager at Siteimprove and as the content manager at Brandpoint, where he managed a team of content creators. Away from work, Chris is an active hockey player and proud father of two rambunctious little girls. Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in mass communications from the University of Minnesota.