According to the Insurance Information Institute, 95 percent of homeowners have insurance to cover loss or damage to their property and belongings. However, only 37 percent of renters have a policy to protect their possessions.

A landlord's homeowner’s insurance will not cover their belongings, so renters must protect themselves by purchasing renter’s insurance. These policies are usually very affordable, and they protect renters in the event of an accident, a theft or a disaster.

Top 9 Best Rated Renters Insurance

Farmers Insurance is proud of the fact that it first opened its doors just prior to the Great Depression and is still going strong today. It offers a variety of insurance policies, including comprehensive renters' insurance.
Liberty Mutual offers low-cost renters' insurance to people living in the U.S. It's the third largest property and casualty insurance company in the U.S. and offers auto and homeowners insurance in addition to renters insurance.
As an independant insurance company, ResidentInsure works with the multi-family housing market to give them the best insurance program through creating an optimal online experience to ensure the purchase of insurance is fast.
GEICO is known for its low-cost insurance options as well as its line of commercials featuring a talking gecko. It offers a variety of comprehensive renters, homeowners and auto insurance policies throughout the United States.
Esurance is an online insurance marketplace affiliated with Allstate. It offers a range of services online, including free renters' insurance quotes as well as the ability to file a claim, and allows users to comparison shop.
Progressive is one of the most well-known insurance companies in the United States. It offers a rate comparison tool for various insurances on its website and offers renters comprehensive property damage coverage.
PEMCO is a mutual insurance company, which means it's owned by consumers. It was originally created to provide insurance coverage to public school teachers. It offers lowcost renters' insurance throughout the Northwestern U.S.
Travelers Insurance is one of the largest insurance companies in the United States, currently employing over 30,000 people. It prides itself on its commitment to using scientific data to inform its policies and procedures.

Matthew Brodsky is an established expert on insurance, having written hundreds of articles and other pieces of content on the subject, interviewed countless practitioners, and attended dozens of conferences and events. He served as an editor at industry magazine Risk & Insurance for six years.

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What features matter most?

Replacement cost versus actual cash value

This is one of the most important features of a renters insurance policy. Policies come in two flavors: one that covers the value of your personal possessions minus depreciation, or one that covers the replacement cost of items.

  • Replacement cost: This type of policy is meant to provide the policyholder with enough money to replace the lost, damaged or stolen item based on its value when it was new.
  • Actual cash value: Actual cash value takes into account depreciation and pays less for used items that experience wear and tear.
  • Cost comparison: Actual cash value policies will usually have lower premiums to compensate for coverage that pays out less for lost, damaged or stolen property.

Additional living expenses

In the event of an accident or damage to your apartment or rental home, some renters policies provide money for additional living expenses to compensate for the unexpected costs incurred if the situation forces you to live elsewhere, temporarily.

  • Hotel reimbursement: Some policies will cover the cost of a hotel stay while your home is being repaired or cleaned.
  • Meal reimbursement: Meals are often covered during the time you are forced to be out of your home.
  • Additional living expenses limits: Many policies do have maximum dollar limits, time limits or other rules that may apply. Be sure to understand these limits.

Liability protection

Liability protection is generally included in your standard renters insurance policy, in addition to coverage for personal possessions. Liability protects policyholders - and their assets - from lawsuits if someone is injured in their home or if policyholders are accused of property damage. The coverage typically includes payment to defend policyholders in court and for damages awarded by the court.

  • Accidents in your home: This protects the renter in the case that a guest, repair or cleaning person or other visitor is injured while in a rental and file a lawsuit against the renter and their assets. Many renters policies also include no-fault medical coverage, which pay for health care when someone gets hurt in the policyholder’s home - with the goal being to avoid a lawsuit.
  • Injury caused by pets: If a visitor is bitten by a renter’s dog, liability coverage will help protect the policyholder. However, not all dog breeds are covered and it is essential to check.
  • Cost vs. coverage: Although most renters policies include liability coverage, the amount provided might not be high enough for some individuals. One option is to increase the liability limits on your renters insurance, and another is to purchase a separate umbrella liability policy, which is relatively inexpensive and could kick in with millions of additional coverage on top of primary coverage.

Off-premises coverage

Also known as worldwide coverage, this type of coverage will provide replacement money for belongings lost outside of the rental. There may be limitations on what circumstances are covered, so it is important to read the policy carefully.

  • Off-premises damage: This type of coverage includes situations such as a bike stored in an apartment building’s basement that sustains water damage due to broken pipes.
  • Vandalism and theft: Personal items stolen from a vehicle may be covered under a renters insurance policy.
  • Lost luggage: Some renters insurance policies will cover items lost due to airline baggage problems.

Company stability and reputation

A policy is only as good as the company that issues it. Potential policyholders should pay attention to customer reviews on independent review sites and conduct Internet research on a company's reputation and rating. Calling into an insurer’s customer service line may give potential customers a feel for how they will be treated if they purchase a policy.

  • Customer reviews: Online review sites are a great place to learn about how a company treats its customers. Be sure to read a variety of both positive and negative reviews to get a balanced picture.
  • Claims process: Customer service should be able to explain the insurance company’s claims process. A simple and clear claims process will make life easier should a disaster occur.
  • Company history and/or projects: The company website will likely have information on the history of the company, as well as any community or charity projects in which it is involved.

Cost

Cost is usually the ultimate factor when choosing an insurance policy. There are many ways to work with a company to keep costs low, while still receiving the desired coverage.

  • Multi-policy discounts: Many companies who offer auto or life insurance will also offer renters insurance and a multi-policy discount for holding more than one policy with the same company.
  • Discounts: There are a plethora of other discounts available, - for instance, for homes with smoke detectors and security systems, for paying premiums in one lump sum, for seniors and for individuals with good credit - and consumers should always ask a prospective insurer about which discounts they may be eligible for.
  • Exclusions and limits: It’s important to know what you’re paying for, and if paying a little more might be worth it. Renters insurance usually covers a wide range of disasters, but a policy may exclude some, like flood or earthquake. If that’s the case, decide whether paying more for an additional policy is worth it. Likewise, if you own valuables such as jewelry, high-end electronics or firearms, a renters policy’s limits might not be high enough. A separate “floater” policy might be needed to protect these items.
  • Location: Of course, the cost of a policy always depends on the value of the items being covered, but location also plays a role in the final cost. In some large cities, renters policies may cost more than in smaller cities.

What are different types of renters insurance?

Personal property

A renter's personal property is not generally covered by a landlord's policy. Renters personal property insurance can cover the actual cash value of the property, which factors in depreciation, or the full cost to replace the item.

Personal liability

Liability coverage helps protect renters should an accident or injury occur to someone else while they are in the rental unit. This can include slip and fall accidents, dog bites and other injuries.

Additional living expenses

Also known as loss of use coverage, additional living expenses will cover the cost of relocation should policyholders be forced to leave their home due to a disaster. It can also cover hotel and meal expenses during the relocation. However, not all situations are covered and limits may apply.

Who's it for?

Renters with personal property

While younger renters may not think they have much to insure, property does add up quickly. In today's world, many choose to rent rather than own, making personal property renters insurance very important for a larger segment of the population.

Renters with high risk

Certain locations and structures put some renters in a high-risk category. Rentals in flood zones and high crime areas are considered high risk, as are rentals that are far away from fire stations. Renters who find themselves in these situations may need high-risk renters insurance.

Renters who sublet

Renters insurance policies may not cover those who sublet a rental unit, especially if they do so on a regular basis. Some policies have provisions for roommates and others who live in the home at the same time, but not for those who sublet.

Military members

Those in the U.S. military often have special needs regarding insurance terms and payment options due to deployments, for instance.

Renters looking for an online experience

Some companies are better than others when it comes to technology. Renters who are looking to obtain and manage their renters insurance online will want to look for tech-savvy companies.

Company reviews

  • Progressive Renters Insurance

    Progressive is based in Ohio, but serves customers nationwide. Progressive is one of the big players in the personal property insurance market, ranking fourth overall according to a 2014 report by the Federal Insurance Office.

    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk and renters who sublet.
  • PEMCO Renters Insurance

    PEMCO is a regional insurance provider dedicated to serving residents of the Northwest. Founded in 1949, PEMCO is focused on customer service, personal attention, and involvement in the local community.

    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk, renters who sublet, and renters looking for an online experience.
  • Liberty Mutual Renters Insurance

    Liberty Mutual is one of the oldest insurance companies in America, founded in 1912. Liberty Mutual covers renters in all 50 states.

    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk and renters who sublet.
  • Travelers Renters Insurance

    Travelers is one of the country's largest property casualty companies and has been in business for over 150 years. The company has more than 30,000 employees as well as 13,000 independent agents.

    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk and renters who sublet.
  • Rural Mutual Renters Insurance

    Rural Mutual was started in 1934 and serves the state of Wisconsin. Rural Mutual is dedicated to serving the state, its farmers, and giving back to the community.

    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk and renters who sublet.

  • Esurance Renters Insurance

    Esurance is an Allstate company founded as a purely online insurance company. The company presents itself as a modern alternative to traditional insurance companies with an integrated online and mobile experience and state-of-the-art technology.

    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk, renters who sublet, and renters looking for an online experience.
  • GEICO Renters Insurance

    GEICO was founded in 1936 and has grown to employ 30,000 associates. The company is headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD.

    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk, renters who sublet,, members of the U.S. military and renters looking for an online experience.
  • Farmers Renters Insurance

    Farmers was founded in 1928 in order to provide low-cost insurance to farmers and ranchers. Now, according to the 2014 report by the Federal Insurance Office, Farmers Insurance Group is fifth overall in the personal property insurance market.

    • Best for Renters with personal property and renters who sublet.
  • ResidentInsure

    ResidentInsure is an independant insurance company that caters to the multi-family housing market with their exclusive renters insurance program. The company’s goal was to create an easy process to get the insurance policy you need, and at the price you can afford.

    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk and renters looking for an online experience.