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Find the Best Renters Insurance Companies

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by Matthew Brodsky Insurance Contributing Editor

Use our guide to learn about and choose the best renters insurance company for you. These affordable policies provide financial protection in case the renter is liable for injury or property damage, or if a covered event damages or destroys personal possessions. We explain how to compare different types of renters insurance policies and coverage.

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What to know about renters insurance

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 needs renters insurance?

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.

Who are the best renters insurance companies near me?

Local renters insurance companies can help you identify and customize your coverage for common hazards in your city. We compared renters insurance companies across the U.S. so you can find companies to help protect your home.

Renters insurance FAQ

How much is renters insurance per month for an apartment?
The average cost of renters insurance is about $17 per month. The cost of renters insurance depends on factors including:
  • Where you live
  • The amount of coverage you buy
  • Whether you purchase actual cash value or replacement cost personal property coverage
  • The deductible
  • Your insurance and credit history
  • What discounts you’re eligible for
Is it worth getting renters insurance?
Yes, renters insurance is worth the cost. For around $17 per month, a renter can get coverage for personal possessions, liability and additional living expenses.
Can I buy renters insurance online?
Yes, most companies offer renters insurance online.
What does renters insurance cover?
Renters insurance covers liability in the event you damage someone else’s property or are responsible for an injury to someone else. It also covers repair or replacement of your personal possessions in case they are damaged by a covered peril, such as:
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Smoke
  • Windstorm
  • Water damage due to freezing plumbing

Renters insurance also pays for additional living expenses if your home is damaged by a covered event and you’re unable to live in it.

What options are there for renters insurance?
With renters insurance, you will decide how much coverage you want for:
  • Personal property: Renters insurance will cover the cost to repair or replace your personal property within the coverage limit.
  • Liability: If you are responsible for an injury to someone else or damage their property, renters insurance will pay for medical bills or property repairs.
  • Additional living expenses: If a covered event renders your home uninhabitable, renters insurance will cover the cost of a hotel stay and restaurant visits.

You will also have the option to purchase scheduled property coverage for high-value items and coverage for property loss due to an earthquake or flooding.

Do you need insurance for an apartment?
Some apartment managers and leasing companies require you to show proof of renters insurance before you sign a lease. Even if it isn’t required, we recommend you purchase a policy.
What will renters insurance not cover?
There are a few things renters insurance won’t cover, such as:
  • Property loss due to certain natural disasters, such as flooding or an earthquake
  • Property damage caused by pests
  • Damage to a physical building
  • Claims that exceed coverage limits

Every policy is different, so read your contract carefully and ask questions if necessary. If many cases, if your policy doesn’t cover everything you need, you can purchase add-on protection.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Author reviews for renters insurance companies

    Policygenius Renters Insurance

    Founded in 2014, PolicyGenius is a company that strives to change the way people shop for renters insurance. PolicyGenius is not a provider. It is a website that allows you to comparison shop for various types of insurance, including health, life, renters and pet insurance.

    Read 5 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.

    Read more about Progressive Renters Insurance
    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.

    Read more about PEMCO Renters Insurance
    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.

    Read more about Liberty Mutual Renters Insurance
    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.

    Read more about Travelers Renters Insurance
    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.

    • Customer self service: Rural Mutual's website offers a secure and convenient portal for checking account status, making payments, reporting claims or requesting policy changes.
    • Large network of agents: Rural Mutual has 150 agents across Wisconsin in more than 100 locations. A local agent can be found using the company website.
    • High ratings and awards: Though Rural Mutual serves the state of Wisconsin, it has garnered national awards, like ranking among the top 50 property-casualty company by the Ward Group and an A-Excellent rating from ratings agency A.M. Best.
    • A full range of optional coverages: Renters can choose to add coverage for boats and watercraft, recreational vehicles, equipment breakdown and identity fraud.
    • Support the local economy: Renters in Wisconsin can benefit the state's economy by using Rural Mutual. Rural Mutual is a strong supporter of Wisconsin farms and is involved with many local charities.
    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.

    Read more about Esurance Renters Insurance
    GEICO Renters Insurance

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

    Read more about GEICO Renters Insurance
    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.

    Read more about Farmers Renters Insurance
    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.

    Read more about ResidentInsure
    AUTHORIZED PARTNER
    Assurant Renters Insurance

    Assurant is a specialty insurance company headquartered in Florida. Founded in 1947, Assurant grew to become a Fortune 500 company and now offers specialty insurance including renters’ and apartment insurance.

    • Coverage: Assurant Renters Insurance protects your belongings against theft or damage from fire, smoke, flooding or explosions. If something happens to make your apartment or rental home uninhabitable, Assurant provides living expenses.
    • Flexibility: If you need to buy a policy for a child attending college, or if you want to purchase one policy with a roommate, Assurant Renters Insurance makes it easy. In fact, you can have up to four people listed on a policy.
    • Simple process: It takes less than five minutes to purchase a policy. There are only a few questions to answer, and you can do it all online.
    • Affordable premiums: Rental insurance shouldn’t be expensive. Assurant’s plans start at just 44 cents a day.
    • Financially-strong company: Assurant is a Fortune 500 company with $30 billion in assets. If you ever need to make a claim on your policy, you can be assured that this company can take care of you.
    Read 324 Reviews

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    by Matthew Brodsky Insurance Contributing Editor

    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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