Renters Insurance

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What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance protects you and your personal belongings from covered losses. A renters insurance policy costs an average of $15.66 per month, though your individual rates will depend on a number of factors such as your address and the types of coverage and limits that you elect. The main difference between homeowners and renters insurance is that your renters policy doesn't cover your dwelling — this is covered by your landlord's policy. 

Because insurance providers offer their renters products as HO-4 named peril policies, all covered losses will be explicitly stated on your policy. Read on to explore the major threats a typical renters policy will protect against as well as the additional coverage options and average premiums from top insurance providers.

Renters insurance — table of contents:
  1. Renters insurance: average cost
  2. What is covered by my renters policy?
  3. What is not covered by my policy?
  4. Additional coverages and considerations
  5. Is renters insurance required?
  6. Frequently asked questions



How much does renters insurance cost?

The average annual rate for a renters insurance policy is $188, or $15.66 per month. The cost of renters insurance primarily depends on the value of your property. In order to provide an estimate, we averaged personal property limits of $25,000 and $50,000 from top companies across the U.S.


Insurance ProviderAverage 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 car insurance insurance policies to obtain a multi-policy discount. Bundling renters and auto policies can save you an average of $79 per year!

Average Premium by Bundling.png

There are several ways to purchase a renters insurance policy online. Lemonade is a relatively new insurance provider in the US. Lemonade offers customized coverage without all the additional fees a standard insurance company requires. Get a quick Lemonade quote for free!

If you're not set on one renters insurance company, consider comparing policies to save money. Call us at 888-444-2833 to get started. 

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Renters insurance premiums by state

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

StateAverage Rate for Renters Insurance

Average Monthly Premium

Washington DC$262$22
North Carolina$175$15
North Dakota$117$10
New Hampshire$116$10
New Jersey$168$14
New Mexico$184$15
New York$233$19
Rhode Island$310$26
South Carolina$185$15
South Dakota$116$10
West Virginia$177$15



Renters insurance: what it covers

While you're renting a home or apartment, your renters policy covers only your personal belongings. You do not have to worry about insuring the structure, walls, or fixed furniture.

In a typical HO-4 policy, renters insurance has four primary coverage options: your liability, your personal property, your additional living expenses, and medical payments to others. Every renters insurance policy is a named peril policy: your insurance will cover you in the event of any of the circumstances specifically listed on your policy. A peril is a cause of damage.

In a named peril HO-4 policy, you are covered against 16 named perils:

  • 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, air conditioning or automatic fire-protection system
  • Short-circuit damage caused by electrical appliances

For example, if your apartment were to catch on fire and the contents of your living room were destroyed, your renters insurance would compensate you up to your coverage limits.

Liability coverage

Renters liability insurance provides coverage if you are found legally liable for bodily injury or property damage to someone or their property. Although your liability coverage is worldwide, it will not apply if you're driving. Your auto insurance liability will provide insurance coverage in the event of a car accident — not your renters. Below are typical examples of a liability claim for renters insurance:

  • A pipe bursts into your kitchen and causes water damage to your downstairs neighbor's apartment.
  • Your dog bites another person, requiring medical care. 

Typical liability limits start around $100,000. We recommend keeping them as high as you can easily afford in order to protect any assets you have. 

This comprises someone suffering an injury on your property, your pet biting someone on the premises, or structural damage caused to neighboring apartments. Unlike your personal property coverage, your liability insurance does not use a deductible — the amount deducted from your claims payout.


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 — about 10% of your total personal property amount. A big caveat for renters insurance is the limits of liability your insurance company will place on high-value items. For items such as cash, jewelry, guns, and artwork, your personal property coverage will be limited.

$200Money, coins, gold 
$1,500Jewelry, watches, fursTheft only
$1,500Watercraft, trailersTheft only
$2,500Business propertyOn-premises
$500Business propertyOff-premises

Learn about the sub-limits on personal property coverage and get a more in-depth analysis of renters insurance coverage options.


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 bills.



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 the policyholder doesn’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

Complete a home inventory to document your belongings. This will help you determine the amount of coverage you require and speed the claims process in the event of an incident. 


2. Decide if you want to share your renters 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. See more information on renters insurance with roommates and renters insurance for college students.


3. Explore additional coverage options

If you own high-value belongings, inquire about coverage for those items. You may want to consider a scheduled 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 renters insurance jewelry value cap of $10,000. Floaters and endorsements extend to other items, including works of art, firearms, or film equipment.

Furthermore, your insurer may offer further coverage for things like electronic devices or sewer-backup that are not covered on a standard policy. These endorsements can usually be added for a small increase to your monthly premium. 


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. 



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, meaning that 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.


Who does renters insurance cover?

Generally, you and your spouse, children, relatives, and other family are covered by renters insurance if you all live in the same household. However, this is something that should be verified by your renters insurance — some insurers prefer you to add the names of everyone you're living with. But if you're living with a roommate or two — with no family relation — you will need to either explicitly add them to your renters policy, or have your roommate get their own separate policy.


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 windstorms, 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. Learn more about renters insurance and natural disasters.


Does renters insurance cover flood damage?

No. Renters insurance typically does not cover water damage caused by flooding or storm surges. 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.

See more information about flood insurance for renters.


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 (like legal fees or medical bills) 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.

Learn more about renters insurance with pets.



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Ross Martin
Ross Martin LinkedIn

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross is responsible for researching and writing about all matters related to insurance. He has a background in writing and education, as well as a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. He has been quoted by CNET, and Kin Insurance.