Renters Insurance

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What is renters insurance?

Your renter's insurance is designed to protect you and your belongings from covered losses. Because all insurance providers insure their HO-4 renter's products as HO-4 named peril policies, all covered losses will be explicitedly stated on your policy. We'll explore the major threats a typical renter's policy will protect against as well as the additional coverage options and average premiums from top insurance providers. Let's get started.

  1. What is covered by my policy?
  2. What is not covered by my policy?
  3. Additional coverages and considerations
  4. Renters insurance: cost
  5. Is renters insurance required?


Renters insurance: what is covered

In a typical HO-4 policy, your renter's insurance will have 4 main coverage options: your liability, your personal property, your additional living expenses, and medical payments to others. As we stated, all renter's insurance policies are named peril policies — meaning your policy will cover you for the threats specifically listed on your policy. A peril is a source of damage.

In a named peril HO-4 policy, the following causes of loss will be covered against:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Explosions
  • Civil unrest
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief 
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from an appliance, or a plumbing, heating, or air conditioning systems
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water system, an air conditioning, or automatic fire-protection system
  • Short-circuit damage caused by electrical appliances 
Liability coverage

Renters liability insurance provides coverage if you are found legally liable for damages or injury occurring on your property. This comprises someone suffering an injury on your property, your pet biting someone on the premises, or structural damage caused to neighboring apartments. Renters liability coverage typically starts at a coverage level of $100,000 but can be increased.


Personal property

Personal property includes anything you own — your clothes, furniture, artwork, etc. This coverage does apply outside of your listed residence (such as your car or if you're traveling) but for much less coverage. Typically, your coverage will only apply to theft and you will receive less in financial compensation. A big thing to keep in mind is the limitations to certain high-value items. See here to learn about the sub-limits on personal property coverage.


Additional living expenses

If your apartment is unlivable due to a covered loss, for example, a fire, this coverage would pay for you to live elsewhere. This coverage will usually be limited to a certain duration or reimbursement limit.


Medical payments to others

If a friend or family member hurts themselves in your apartment, this coverage can pay for their medical expenses.


If you'd like a more in-depth analysis on renter's insurance coverage options, see here.



What does renters insurance not cover?

It’s important to keep in mind the events renters insurance does not cover. Renters insurance doesn't protect anything you don’t own. The structural aspects of your apartment or home aren't covered by renters insurance, only your belongings. Renters insurance also doesn’t cover damages caused by earthquakes or floods. Some insurance companies offer additional earthquake insurance, while flood policies are typically handled through FEMA.

Landlords typically do not provide renters insurance. It's a product you should shop for and purchase yourself. 



Additional renters insurance coverage types and things to keep in mind

Prior to purchasing renters insurance, consider the factors below:

1. Determine your coverage needs

Take inventory of your belongings. This will help you determine how much coverage you require and speed the claims process in the event of an incident. 

2. Decide if you want to share your renter's insurance policy with a roommate

If you’re sharing an apartment, consider sharing a renters insurance policy with your roommate. Sharing a renters policy splits the bill — although renters insurance is often relatively affordable to begin with. If the policy is in your name, any claim your roommate files would be on your policy as well. If your roommate files multiple claims, you could face a rate hike or policy cancellation. For more information on car insurance with roommates, consult our guide.

3. Explore additional coverage options

If you own high-value belongings, inquire about coverage for those items. You may want to consider an endorsement or rider. An endorsement is a coverage add-on for a high-value item that exceeds normal policy coverage limits.

If you own a piece of jewelry appraised at $15,000, you would need a floater to protect that item above-and-beyond the typical renter's insurance jewelry value cap of $10,000. Floaters and endorsements extend to other items, including works of art, firearms, or film equipment.

4. Consider replacement cost coverage 

Most insurance providers will reimburse you for your personal property based on an actual cash basis — which deducts depreciation from your payout. However, replacement cost coverage reimburses you for the amount it would take to buy the same item at its current market value. Many insurance companies will allow you to add this coverage via an endorsement. 



How much does renters insurance cost?

The cost of renters insurance depends on the value of your property. In order to give you an estimate, we averaged personal property limits of $25,000 and $50,000 from top companies across the US.

The average annual rate for a renters insurance policy is $188.

Insurance ProviderAvg. Yearly Renters Insurance Premium
American Family$156
Liberty Mutual$285
State Farm$140

In addition to protecting your belongings, renters insurance can lead to discounts on other lines of insurance — namely, auto insurance. Consider bundling your renters and auto insurance insurance policies to obtain a multi-policy discount. Bundling renters and auto policies can save you an average of $76 per year!

average premium by bundling status

There are a couple of ways you can purchase a renters insurance policy if you need one. Lemonade is a relatively new insurance provider in the US. Lemonade offers customized coverage without all the additional fees a standard insurance company requires. You can quote yourself online here for free and get a quote in minutes. If you're not set on one insurance company, we recommend shopping around. Call us at 888-444-2833 and we can help get your started. 

Need a Renters Insurance Quote?

Below is a state by state breakdown for the cost of renters insurance.

StateAverage Rate for Renters Insurance
Washington DC$262
North Carolina$175
North Dakota$117
New Hampshire$116
New Jersey$168
New Mexico$184
New York$233
Rhode Island$310
South Carolina$185
South Dakota$116
West Virginia$177


Is renters insurance required?

Though renters insurance is not mandated by law — like auto insurance is, for example — it's legal for landlords to require tenants to have renters insurance coverage. Having renters insurance works in both the landlord's and tenant's favor; it covers the tenant for both liability and their personal belongings, so the landlord won't be held responsible if you accidentally cause a fire or a guest of yours is accidentally injured. It's an affordable way to keep your landlord happy and your property safe.



Renters insurance FAQs

Review a few of the most commonly asked renters insurance questions — and answers — below.

Does renters insurance cover hurricane damage?

It depends. Renters insurance typically covers many of the damages that may occur as a result of a hurricane, including wind, fire, hail, or lightning. However, most renters policies do not cover damage caused by water damage via floods or storm surge. When you file a claim following a hurricane, your renters insurance company will investigate to determine which damages were caused by "covered perils" and which happened as a result of water damage. 

Does renters insurance cover flood damage?

No. Renters insurance typically does not cover water damage caused by flooding or storm surge. If you live in a flood- or hurricane-prone location, you should consider purchasing a separate flood insurance policy to account for the possibility of losses caused by flooding. 

Can I get renters insurance if I have a dog?

Yes, unless your dog appears on your renters insurance company's list of excluded breeds. Renters insurance is a wise investment if you own a dog, as liability coverage will cover your expenses in the event your dog injures someone at your home. But insurance companies often restrict the types of pets they cover, withholding coverage for renters who own a Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, or other dog breed deemed too risky to insure.


View renters insurance rates by state:

ColoradoConnecticutWashington, D.C.DelawareFlorida
MississippiMontanaNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNebraska
New HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNevadaNew York
OhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode Island
South CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtah
VirginiaVermontWashingtonWisconsinWest Virginia


Taking the plunge and purchasing a home? Learn more about homeowners insurance.

Recent Questions:

Renters Insurance

Who is responsible for carrying sinkhole insurance? The renters or the landlord?

If your parents are renters, they are not responsible for the property — just their own liability and possessions — so it's not required to have sinkhole insurance since that's property-related. The landlord has to maintain safe living conditions for their property.

Difference in an HO-2, HO-3, HO-4, HO-5, and HO-6 policy?

We have more in-depth information about home insurance here. These numbers correspond to either home, renters, or condo insurance.

Will my HO4 renters policy cover wet fungi protection?

I can't answer this question - you need to look at the exclusions and special coverages in your renters' insurance policy dec page (declaration page). That part of your policy will specify how much coverage you have - if any.

Do I have coverage against damage caused by a fish tank?

Your renter's insurance might cover the damage to your apartment via the liability portion. The best way to handle this is to contact Geico and their claim's department.