The Best Renters Insurance in California of 2023

Having the best renters insurance in California goes a long way in protecting a renter’s personal belongings in the event they are damaged or destroyed during a covered event.

By Karon Warren and Jeff Keleher | Updated Jan 20, 2023 6:03 PM

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The Best Renters Insurance in California Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Renters insurance is a type of coverage all tenants need, but many may not realize it. When renting a property, it’s important for tenants to know that the landlord’s insurance only covers the structure of the building and any common areas. A renter’s personal possessions will not be covered by landlord insurance, but they will likely be covered by renters insurance. This type of insurance will help pay to repair or replace the policyholder’s personal belongings if they sustain damage by a covered event or if they are stolen. However, it also can provide personal liability coverage, such as in the case of a tenant’s dog biting a passerby, and medical payments coverage, such as if a visitor to the rental property is injured in the home. Plus, if the renter has to temporarily relocate while the property is repaired after a covered loss, renters insurance can help cover additional living expenses. For all these reasons, renters insurance is worth it for most tenants. What is the best renters insurance in California? Tenants can do their research to figure out how to get the best coverage for their circumstances while at the same time researching how to get renters insurance.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Lemonade
  2. RUNNER-UP: State Farm
  3. BEST FOR LOW DEDUCTIBLES: Farmers Insurance
  4. BEST FOR SERVICE MEMBERS: USAA
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: Allstate
The Best Renters Insurance in California Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Renters Insurance Companies in California

When searching for apartment renters insurance, California residents will want to look for some key elements to find a good policy. Sure, it’s important to many tenants to find the best rates on renters insurance in California, but it’s also important for them to find a company that provides adequate coverage so they aren’t left having to pay out of pocket to replace their personal belongings after a covered event. Choosing a company with easy-to-use quote and claims processes is also crucial so time isn’t wasted shopping for coverage or when filing a claim.

Coverage Amount

During a search for the best renters insurance companies in California, customers will want to confirm that the insurance companies they’re considering have coverage amounts that meet or exceed the value of their personal belongings. This ensures the renter will have sufficient coverage in the event they need to file a claim. If an insurance company does not offer enough rental insurance coverage to protect their belongings, the renter can cross it off the list and move on to the next company. No policyholder wants to be stuck paying out of pocket to replace belongings that they thought would be covered by their renters insurance. Customers will want to ask the insurance company about coverage amounts up front so no time is wasted.

Policy Options

Standard renters insurance covers the repair or replacement of the policyholder’s belongings, personal liability coverage, which covers the renter in the event they are found legally liable for property damage or injuries, and medical payments coverage, which will help pay for medical bills regardless of fault if someone is injured on the property. It will also pay for additional living expenses if the renter has to stay somewhere else while their home is being restored after a covered loss. Additionally, for renters who have high-value items, it’s possible they will need additional coverage. For example, if the renter has high-value jewelry, musical instruments, sports equipment, or computers, they will likely need to take out endorsements to more fully cover these types of items.

Also, damage resulting from such events as floods and earthquakes isn’t typically covered by renters insurance. For protection against flood damage, renters will have to buy a separate flood insurance policy. Regarding earthquakes, some companies will provide coverage as standard, while others will offer it as an add-on option—and some won’t offer it at all. Customers will want to talk with their insurance company to see what options are available to them.

Insurance Premiums

When shopping for renters insurance in California, tenants will also want to consider cost in order to find an affordable policy. Insurance premiums fluctuate based on a number of factors, including how much coverage the policyholder needs to protect their personal belongings and any additional coverage they may need, such as coverage for floods.

Insurance companies also will take into account the policyholder’s previous claim history and possibly the location of the property. These factors affect the risk level insurance companies assign to policyholders, with a higher risk level leading to higher insurance premiums.

The deductible on the insurance policy will also affect premiums. The deductible is the amount the policyholder is responsible for paying if a claim is filed. In general, a low deductible means higher premiums, while a high deductible means lower premiums.

Quote Process

How much is renters insurance in California? In order to get a clear answer to this question, customers will want to get renters insurance quotes in California from at least three different insurance companies. Many insurance providers offer online quote tools to provide customers with a quote in minutes. Some insurance companies require renters to call for a quote; while some customers may be put off by this, speaking to a representative can lead to a more accurate quote than using an online quote tool because the insurance company agent can ask for more specific details than an online quote tool can.

Claims Process

Filing a claim on any insurance policy is not a fun process, but finding an insurance company that makes it easy to file a claim can lessen the stress. Many renters insurance companies offer an easy-to-use claims process wherein policyholders can file a claim using a mobile app or inputting the information online. They often also make it easy to check the claim’s status through these same tools. Other companies require policyholders to file a claim over the phone or by visiting their agent’s office in person.

As renters research the best renters insurance in California, reviews from customers can help determine if the company makes it easy to file and resolve claims. The Better Business Bureau is a good source for such reviews.

Deductibles

Every renters insurance policy includes a deductible, which is the amount a policyholder will be required to pay when filing a claim. For example, if the cost of repairing or replacing items has been determined to be $2,000 and the deductible is $500, the insurance company will pay $1,500 and the policyholder will pay the remaining $500. An insurance deductible is chosen at the time a policy is taken out and is determined by whether a policyholder wants to pay less out of pocket in premium or would rather pay more in premium and receive a potentially larger payout in the event of a claim. Policyholders can typically choose their deductible from available options provided by the insurance company.

Additional Policies

While renters insurance is important for all tenants, many insurance shoppers also have other insurance needs such as car insurance and life insurance. Finding a company that offers all the types of insurance a policyholder could need can make it quick and easy to manage all of their insurance policies in one place. Customers can ask their renters insurance company about the other types of insurance policies the company offers. It’s also important to ask whether all of those policies can be maintained using the same online account or mobile app. Some companies offer online or mobile policy management for some types of insurance, but not others.

Discounts

As they try to find the cheapest renters insurance, California residents will want to check with the insurance company about all available discounts. Many customers know about common discounts such as bundling renters and car insurance, but insurance companies often offer many more discounts, and not all may be listed on the company’s website. These could include discounts for signing up for automatic payments, paperless billing, automatic renewals, maintaining good grades (great for college students), and multi-policy discounts (in case the customer has more than one policy, such as a renters insurance policy and a car policy). Customers will want to make sure they ask the insurance company for every available discount in order to maximize savings on renters insurance costs.

AM Best Rating

Renters want to purchase insurance from insurance companies they can trust to honor their claims, and one way to gauge a company’s trustworthiness is by looking at the company’s AM Best rating. AM Best examines a company’s financial strength and creditworthiness to determine if the company is in good shape to pay its claims as agreed. AM Best established its own rating system of D (Poor) to A++ (Superior), and applies these ratings based on its research. Customers choosing a company with a minimum rating of B+ (Good) can feel confident the company is more likely to deliver if the policyholder ever files a claim.

Our Top Picks

As we researched insurance companies in California that offer renters insurance, we looked for companies with a good range of coverage amounts, low premiums, and high AM Best ratings.

Best Overall

Photo: lemonade.com

Why It Made the Cut: Lemonade hits all the marks with its high coverage limits, low insurance premiums, a range of deductible options, possible instant claim approval, and B Corp certification.

In addition to having some of the lowest insurance premiums in California, Lemonade’s $250,000 coverage limit is relatively high for California renters insurance, which gives policyholders the flexibility to increase their coverage as needed to fully insure all of their possessions. However, that excludes jewelry; the company offers jewelry coverage as an extra endorsement, so policyholders will need to pay extra to insure their jewelry.

While the company isn’t yet rated by AM Best, Lemonade’s AI-based claims platform is able to instantly review and approve 30 percent of claims, disbursing funds in seconds so customers don’t have to wait for a claim to be paid.

Also, the company’s B Corp certification means it adheres to high standards of social and environmental awareness and activism, as reflected by its charitable donation program, where a portion of unclaimed premiums are donated to a charity of the insured’s choosing.

Specs

  • Coverage amount: $10,000 to $250,000
  • Quote process: Online
  • Claims process: App
  • Deductibles: $250 to $2,500
  • AM Best rating: Not rated

Pros

  • High $250,000 coverage limit
  • Relatively low insurance premiums
  • Instant claim approval possible
  • Certified B Corp company with high social and environmental standards

Cons

  • Standard jewelry coverage not included
  • Not currently rated by AM Best

Runner-Up

The Best Renters Insurance in California Option State Farm
Photo: statefarm.com

Why It Made the Cut: State Farm could be a good choice given its high personal liability coverage options, high medical payments to others coverage limits, and A++ AM Best rating.

When looking to save on renters insurance, State Farm policyholders only have two potential discounts they can use: bundle their policy or install protective devices like a security system. As such, it may be difficult to lower insurance premiums beyond what is initially offered.

On the other hand, State Farm offers up to $1 million of personal liability coverage, which is very high for this type of insurance. Renters who purchase the maximum amount of coverage can protect themselves in the event they are found liable for damages they caused themselves.

Likewise, State Farm’s $10,000 maximum medical payments coverage is somewhat high for this space, and may come in handy if a guest is injured while visiting and needs help covering their medical bills. Plus the company carries a Superior A++ AM Best rating, so policyholders can feel confident their claims will be honored.

Specs

  • Coverage amount: $2,000 to $110,000
  • Quote process: Online, phone, agent
  • Claims process: App, online, phone, agent
  • Deductibles: $500 to $2,000
  • AM Best rating: A++

Pros

  • High $1 million personal liability coverage available
  • Relatively high $10,000 medical payments coverage available
  • A++ AM Best rating

Cons

  • Limited discount opportunities

Best for Low Deductibles

The Best Renters Insurance in California Option Farmers Insurance
Photo: farmers.com

Why It Made the Cut: Farmers Insurance offers a low $100 deductible option, plus varied loss of use endorsement terms to choose from and high personal liability coverage limits for renters insurance.

Farmers Insurance makes it easy for renters who want affordable renters insurance and a range of deductible options. The company also allows policyholders to purchase up to $1 million in personal liability coverage with their renters insurance. Having such a high coverage amount could help policyholders pay legal fees and damages assessed to them if they are sued by another party because of damage or injuries they have caused.

And while Farmers doesn’t offer earthquake coverage, policyholders can choose from a wide variety of loss of use coverage terms, with coverage amounts starting at 10 percent of their personal property coverage limit and going up to 100 percent of their personal property coverage limit. They can also select endorsement options that would cover living arrangements for 12 months or 24 months in the event that their home is uninhabitable following a covered event.

Specs

  • Coverage amount: $4,000 to $150,000
  • Quote process: Online, phone, agent
  • Claims process: Online, phone, agent
  • Deductibles: $100 to $2,500
  • AM Best rating: A

Pros

  • High $1 million personal liability coverage available
  • Wide range of loss of use endorsement options
  • Low $100 deductible option

Cons

  • No earthquake coverage available

Best for Service Members

The Best Renters Insurance in California Option USAA
Photo: usaa.com

Why It Made the Cut: USAA offers standard earthquake and flood coverage that comes with every renters insurance policy, as well as the company’s A++ AM Best rating.

Only available to active and former military members and their families, USAA includes both flood and earthquake coverage with its renters insurance, so California residents who qualify can protect their possessions from this kind of damage without paying extra for it.

When taking out a renters insurance policy, customers are only offered the option of a $500 deductible. While that is a reasonable figure for a deductible, some policyholders may prefer the ability to choose from a range of deductibles in order to adjust their up-front costs or out-of-pocket expenses on future claims.

In addition, USAA holds an A++ rating from AM Best, which is the best rating possible. This means the company has “Superior” creditworthiness and ability to meet its financial obligations. Policyholders can enjoy greater peace of mind knowing their insurance provider is on stable financial ground and will be able to pay out any claims without delay.

Specs

  • Coverage amount: Starting from $5,000
  • Quote process: Online, phone
  • Claims process: App, online, phone
  • Deductibles: $500
  • AM Best Rating: A++

Pros

  • Standard earthquake coverage included
  • Standard flood coverage included
  • A++ AM Best rating

Cons

  • USAA membership limited to service members and their families
  • Limited deductible options

Also Consider

The Best Renters Insurance in California Option Allstate
Photo: allstate.com

Why It Made the Cut: Allstate offers a high maximum coverage amount, fairly generous amount of standard jewelry coverage, and the ability to bundle renters insurance with several other types of policies.

Although Allstate’s renters insurance premiums may be on the higher end, customers can decrease their premiums by bundling multiple policy types. These other policy types include auto, motorcycle, ATV, and life insurance.

While it does exclude earthquake coverage, Allstate’s $250,000 maximum coverage amount is relatively high for California renters insurance. Plus, the company includes $2,500 of coverage for jewelry and artwork, which is also relatively high for this type of renters insurance coverage.

Specs

  • Coverage amount: $15,000 to $250,000
  • Quote process: Online, phone, agent
  • Claims process: Online, phone, agent
  • Deductibles: $250 to $1,000
  • AM Best rating: A+

Pros

  • High $250,000 coverage limit
  • Relatively high $2,500 jewelry coverage included
  • Ability to bundle multiple policy types

Cons

  • Relatively high insurance premiums
  • No earthquake coverage available

Our Verdict

Following our research, we chose Lemonade for Best Overall because it offers high coverage limits for an affordable price, plus customers could receive instant claim approval when filing a claim. State Farm is our choice for Runner-Up thanks to high coverage options for both personal liability and medical payments coverage.

How We Chose the Best Renters Insurance Companies in California

When searching for the best renters insurance companies in California, we looked at a number of factors that are relevant to a great renters insurance experience. For example, we looked at each company’s coverage options and coverage limits to make sure each one provided sufficient coverage to protect both the renter’s personal belongings and finances. We also looked at the companies’ premiums, deductibles, and discounts to see how affordable they are for customers. In addition, we reviewed the quote and claims processes for each company to see how easy they are to use.

Before You Choose One of the Best Renters Insurance Companies in California

As they shop for renters insurance in California, renters may discover that only one or two of the insurance companies listed here may be the right fit for their needs. That’s why it’s important for renters to conduct their own independent research to find the best renters insurance for their needs. They can start with their current insurance company to see if that company offers renters insurance. Other options include talking with local insurance companies that have long served the California community where the renter lives. It’s possible these local insurance companies may better serve renters than the national companies listed here.

Cost of Opting for One of the Best Renters Insurance Companies in California

Renters insurance in California costs can be relatively low when compared to other types of insurance, but that doesn’t mean customers won’t want to find a policy with a low price. Shopping for renters insurance can be exhausting as customers try to compare renters insurance costs as well as coverages from several different companies. However, in order to find the best coverage at the best rates, getting insurance quotes from at least three different insurance companies is essential to finding the best renters insurance. Customers can get quotes from the companies listed here, but they may choose to get quotes from others as well. It’s possible the most affordable rates could be with one of the best renters insurance companies listed here, but that’s not always the case. Taking the time to shop around could result in big savings.

The Advantages of Opting for One of the Best Renters Insurance Companies in California

The best renters insurance companies in California offer many advantages for customers who choose to take out a policy with them. For example, the best insurance companies tend to offer high coverage amounts on renters insurance as well as easy-to-use quote and claims processes to make it painless for customers to purchase insurance or file a claim. The best renters insurance companies in California typically offer the following benefits:

  • Various, and often low, deductible options, so customers can choose the one that works best for them;
  • A wide range of coverage amounts; and.
  • High AM Best ratings and positive customer reviews.

FAQs

Finding the best renters insurance in California requires time and research to ensure the policy provides the best coverage at the most affordable rates. When conducting that research, many customers have questions; some of the most common questions are listed below.

Q. What does renters insurance cover in California?

Standard renters insurance covers the tenant’s personal belongings, personal liability and medical payment coverage, and living expenses if the renter is forced to temporarily relocate after a covered event. Although renters insurance isn’t required by the state, many landlords will require their tenants to purchase it as part of their lease agreement.

Q. How much is renters insurance in California?

The price of renters insurance varies based on a number of factors, such as the type and amount of coverage purchased as well as the policyholder’s previous claims experience.

Q. Is renters insurance required in California?

While California law does not require renters insurance, the landlord or property manager may require renters insurance as part of the lease or rental agreement.

Q. Is there a cancellation fee for canceling renters insurance in California?

No, there are no cancellation fees for canceling renters insurance in California.

Q. Does renters insurance include loss of use?

Yes, renters insurance typically pays living expenses if the tenant is forced to temporarily relocate while the property is repaired or rebuilt after a covered event.

Q. Is liability insurance the same as renters insurance?

Renters insurance policies typically include personal liability coverage, which protects the policyholder in the event someone is injured on the property and the tenant is held responsible, or the tenant is held liable for damages caused outside the home.

Q. Does renters insurance cover earthquake damage?

Some of the best renters insurance policies include earthquake damage, but renters who want earthquake coverage will typically need to purchase a separate policy to supplement their renters insurance.