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. Common misconceptions are that a landlord's homeowners policy will cover a renter's belongings or that renters insurance is expensive. With more people renting as opposed to buying, it's time for renters to protect themselves 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.
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.
Rural Mutual provides renters insurance exclusively to people who are renting farms or other housing in Wisconsin. It is a local company and has been named one of the top 50 insurance companies in the U.S. by the Ward Group.
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.

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.

    • Multi-policy discount: Add renters insurance to your auto policy for as little as six dollars per month.
    • Accurate quotes: To obtain a quote, Progressive may ask for personal information such a Social Security number. However, personal information is protected and only requested when necessary to create an accurate quote.
    • Privacy protection: Progressive is sensitive to recent personal data issues and provides clearly stated information regarding the protection of your privacy.
    • Information protection: Progressive's policies are on the cutting edge of technology and include safeguards for electronic, physical and procedural information.
    • Online claims submission: Progressive provides convenient online claims submission via the Homesite online servicing agency.
    • 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.

    • Mutual company: PEMCO is a mutual company, meaning that the company is owned by customers, not stockholders. This can mean an added focus on customer service instead of the bottom line.
    • 24/7 claims reporting: Policy holders can report claims 24/7, 365 days a year via PEMCO's toll-free line.
    • Online bill payment: Save time and go green by creating an online customer account. Account information can be saved for speedy payment of premiums.
    • PEMCO app: Use the PEMCO app for iOS and Android to manage account information, obtain policy information and pay premiums.
    • Flexible payment plans: PEMCO offers several options for payment plans including their Easy-Pay Plan, as well as discounts for paying fifty or twenty percent off the total premium up-front.
    • 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.

    • Free online quote: The company's website offers and easy to use form to obtain an immediate quote.
    • Local agents: Liberty Mutual offers a website search tool to find a local agent for in-person service.
    • Renters insurance calculator: This free online tool will help calculate the value of belongings. Many renters undervalue their possessions and this tool helps to clarify how much coverage would be ideal.
    • Claims-free savings: Liberty Mutual offers a discount to policyholders who have not made a claim, even with their previous insurance company, in the past five years.
    • Spanish language site: The Liberty Mutual website is available in Spanish and Spanish-speaking customer service representatives are also available.
    • 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.

    • Thousands of claims representatives: Travelers offers more than 12,000 claims representatives throughout the company, making the claims process smooth and fast.
    • Good reputation: According to the company's own extensive customer surveys, nine of 10 customers would recommend Travelers.
    • Stable company: Travelers is listed on the stock exchange and is one of the companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
    • Variety of quote/policy options: Customers can obtain quotes or manage policies in several ways including online, over the phone or through a local agent.
    • Online claims center: This comprehensive center provides all the information needed in the event a claim must be made including, phone numbers, online claim submission, as well as the ability to check the status of previous claims.
    • 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.

    • 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.
    • 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.

    • Mobile app: Esurance's mobile app is available for iOS and Android. Customers can view ID cards, make payments and file claims from the app.
    • Convenient payment options: Debit and credit cards are accepted and, depending on the policy, customers may be able to pay using PayPal. Also, installment payments can be made in addition to full payment options, which may include a discount.
    • Nationwide coverage: Esurance offers policies in all 50 states; however, some states are covered through Esurance's partner program.
    • Renters plus discount: Customers of Esurance's auto products can add a renters policy and receive a discount for a multi-policy account.
    • Easy claims process: Claims can be filed and tracked by phone, and Esurance also provides an online 24/7 claims site with the ability to contact a dedicated claims representative.
    • 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.

    • Property agency call center: GEICO provides a dedicated call center for property claims. In addition, claims information and contacts for GEICO property insurance partners is available on the company website.
    • Renters insurance information center: GEICO provides consumers with education and information specifically regarding renters insurance via its online Insurance Information Center.
    • Mobile support: The GEICO mobile app allows customers to have a digital ID card, manage accounts and policies, as well as manage claims appointments.
    • Easy access: Customers can access GEICO online 24/7, 365 days a year. In addition, GEICO has 14 major offices around the United States.
    • Military discount: GEICO offers members of the U.S. military special discount programs and service options.
    • 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.

    • Online claims center: Claims servicing is available online or via telephone. Online, consumers can file and track claims, find repair vendors and find emergency lodging in case of disaster.
    • Farmers inner circle: The Farmers extensive consumer knowledge base is available online and provides consumers with detailed information regarding insurance as well as tips and insights.
    • Farmers friendly review: Farmers is committed to personal service through its network of local agents. Agents offer customers the Farmers Friendly Review, an annual review of a customer's insurance needs.
    • Fast online quote: Renters can get a free, no-obligation quote in less than five minutes from the company website.
    • Online inventory tool: Farmers provides consumers with an online tool to help create an inventory list, which assists consumers in the valuation of their personal property.
    • 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.

    • Coverage: ResidentInsure has coverage options over liability claims, fire and smoke damage, water damage, theft and burglary and electrical damage.
    • The process: To insure that people can receive renters insurance quickly, ResidentInsure has cut out the lengthy application process and have put it all into a simple four step quote process.
    • Get a quote: To start the process to get renters insurance, users can click on the “Get Quote” button after entering a personal home zip code. From there, users must enter the date coverage should start and a contact e-mail address.
    • Coverage details: The second step asks users to select the amount of liability coverage they need, how much their personal content is worth and the price of their deductible. It also gives you additional options asking about replacement costs, theft coverage, water backup and earthquake coverage.
    • Customer information: Finally, users must submit a few items of personal information to complete the process. When this is entered, ResidentInsure provides the best coverage options and price based on each users unique criteria.
    • Best for Renters with personal property, renters with high risk and renters looking for an online experience.