When renting a home or apartment, many renters think their landlord will step in if the rental is damaged. To a certain extent, that is true. A landlord is responsible for damage to the structure of the building—but that coverage doesn’t apply to what’s inside the home. For instance, if your clothes are damaged by fire, or someone breaks in and steals your electronics, it’s up to the renter to replace those items, not the landlord. Having renters insurance will provide coverage to help you do just that.
However, renter insurance doesn’t end there. If your apartment is damaged by fire and you have to stay in a hotel for a while, renters insurance can assist with funds to help cover those costs. If a guest trips in your apartment and breaks their arm, your renters insurance can help cover their medical costs. Having renters insurance is essential to protect your belongings and your financial assets. As such, it’s important to find the best renters insurance company that provides the coverage you need at a price you can afford.
- BEST OVERALL: State Farm
- RUNNER-UP: American Family Insurance
- BEST FOR BUNDLING: Nationwide
- BEST DIGITAL EXPERIENCE: Lemonade
- BEST FOR MILITARY MEMBERS: USAA
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Renters Insurance Companies
While price is an obvious consideration when shopping for the best renters insurance, it’s also essential to consider the company’s coverage options, claims process, and customer service ratings. In particular, it’s important to look at the same coverage limits, coverage area, and discounts because these individual factors can affect the price.
All renters insurance policies have maximum coverage limits for personal belongings, liability coverage, expense reimbursements, and other types of coverage. Therefore, when comparing different policies, make sure to look at those coverage limits to see if they are the same for each policy. Although the policies may cost the same, a renter may find out that one policy has lower coverage limits. Renters want to maximize their coverage for the rate they pay.
Unlike other insurance products, renters insurance may not be available from all insurance companies in all states. When shopping for the best renters insurance, renters should start by finding out if their state is included in the renters insurance company’s coverage area. If not, they can quickly move on to the next company. This will save a lot of time when searching for renters insurance.
As with other insurance companies, renters insurance companies offer various ways to get renters insurance quotes. Some require a renter to contact a local agent or call a toll-free number to provide personal information so a representative can calculate a renters insurance quote. Some insurance companies offer an online quote process, and some companies offer both methods. When shopping for the best renters insurance, finding companies that provide the quote process you prefer can also help narrow down a renter’s choices so they are not overwhelming.
To help save on insurance for renting, a renter should be sure to ask the insurance companies about all discounts they offer on renters insurance. A popular discount is bundling your renters insurance with a car insurance policy. Other possible available discounts could include discounts for signing up for paperless billing, loyalty discounts, discounts for smoke detectors or alarm systems, and enrolling in automatic payments.
No one wants to file an insurance claim, because it can be time-consuming and problematic. When shopping for the best renters insurance, find out what the claims process entails. Can a renter quickly file a claim online or using the company’s app? Will they have to see an agent or wait for an insurance adjuster to evaluate the situation? Don’t forget to find out how long it takes for the insurance company to pay a claim. When it comes to replacing a clothing wardrobe or paying for a hotel while awaiting repairs to the apartment, a renter doesn’t want a long, drawn-out claims process when they need cash.
Replacement Cost Coverage
A key factor to review and compare when shopping for renters insurance is replacement cost coverage. Renters insurance policies typically pay a claim based on either the replacement cost value or the actual cash value. The replacement cost value is the amount a renter will pay to buy a new item, while the actual cash value means they will receive the amount the item was worth at the time of the claim. For instance, a fire damages a renter’s TV that they paid $300 for. If the renter has actual cash value coverage, the renters insurance coverage will cover only the depreciated value of what the damaged TV was worth. If the TV was a few years old, it might have been worth only $75 when it was damaged. With replacement cost coverage, the renter would receive $350, which is the cost of buying a similar TV at today’s prices. Replacement cost coverage typically costs more per month than actual cash value coverage.
Additional Policies and Add-Ons
When shopping for renters insurance, a renter may see options for specialty coverage for items such as jewelry or collectibles as well as identity theft protection or pet protection. These coverage options are not all the same. For example, coverage specifically for jewelry typically requires an additional stand-alone policy separate from renters insurance coverage. That means it may have its own premium, deductible, and coverage limits. However, adding coverage for identity theft or pets is more likely to be an option a renter can add to an existing renters insurance policy. While this will result in an increase to the renters insurance policy premium, this additional coverage would likely be included under the renters insurance deductible and coverage limits.
AM Best Rating
As a renter shops for the best renters insurance, many companies may mention their AM Best rating. AM Best is a credit rating agency, and the company is recognized as a credible source for evaluating an insurance company’s financial strength. Knowing an insurance company’s financial strength is an important indicator of the company’s ability to pay the claims of its customers. AM Best ratings typically fall between A+ (superior) and D (poor). Some ratings may include extra plus marks that may separate them from competitors. However, insurance companies with a rating of B+ (good) or higher is a good indication the insurance company will be a solid choice for renters insurance.
Reviewing customer complaints about a renters insurance company can also provide insight into how well it treats its customers and pays claims. There are two critical resources for this information. The first is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which maintains a database of complaints about insurance companies. Just enter the insurance company’s information on the Consumer Insurance Search page, and then choose the Complaint Trend Report. A renter also can check to see the company’s J.D. Power ranking. J.D. Power analyzes a variety of consumer data to determine a company’s customer satisfaction ranking.
Our Top Picks
The best renters insurance companies focus on providing a range of coverage options at an affordable price while also making it easy for customers to purchase.
Why It Made the Cut: State Farm’s nationwide availability, multiple ways of getting a quote, strong financial strength, high customer satisfaction, and affordable price all contribute to its top spot.
State Farm offers the best combination of all the benefits a renter would want out of their insurance. Renters across the country can get a quote online, by phone, or by talking to a local agent. Rates are typically lower than those of competitors and the national average cost for renters insurance. And, if a renter already uses State Farm for their auto, life, umbrella, or other insurance needs, they can bundle their renters insurance with those policies for additional savings. However, some discounts vary by state and may not apply to all renters, but State Farm’s already low prices mean renters don’t need to rely on discounts to get a low rate.
Given State Farm has both an AM Best rating of A++, a report for excellent customer satisfaction per the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and a seamless web experience, users can feel confident their renters insurance claim will be handled correctly and promptly should they have to file one.
- Coverage area: 50 states
- Quote process: Online, phone, or through an agent
- Claims process: Online or phone
- Additional policies: Vehicle, life, health, small business, umbrella
- AM Best rating: A++
- Sample monthly cost: $12.66
- Monthly costs are typically lower than those of competitors and the national average
- Excellent customer satisfaction according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
- A++ AM Best rating
- Website is user-friendly and easy to navigate
- Discounts vary by state and will not be available to every renter
Why It Made the Cut: American Family has a diminishing deductible that goes down for every year the renter renews their policy, making it an excellent choice for long-term renters.
American Family Insurance offers discounts up to 30 percent for bundling and additional discounts for having a smart-home security device, making renters insurance quite affordable. But the real benefit to an American Family policy is the diminishing deductible. For every year a renter renews their policy, the deductible will lower going forward up to $500. American Family has limited availability, and renters insurance products are only available in 19 states, but its features make it a standout choice for those who can take advantage of it. Users can get a quote online, by phone, or by seeing a local agent. Renters can also process a claim 24/7 online or by phone, which can speed up the claims process.
- Coverage area: 19 states
- Quote process: Online, phone, or through an agent
- Claims process: Online or phone
- Additional policies: Vehicle, life, umbrella, travel
- AM Best rating: A
- Sample monthly cost: $13
- Diminishing deductible reduces every year the policy is renewed
- 24/7 claims support
- Discounts for customers with a qualifying smart-home security device
- Up to 30 percent discount for bundling policies
- Online quote system can be user-unfriendly
Why It Made the Cut: Nationwide offers a variety of add-ons so renters can get the full amount of coverage they need, all of which can be bundled with other insurance coverage.
If a renter already has car, life, travel, pet, or other insurance coverage with Nationwide, they’ll find it easy to bundle their renters insurance with current policies, which also will provide additional savings. Renters also have the option to purchase additional coverage for valuables such as jewelry, to protect any personal belongings in storage, and for damage due to backed-up sewers or drains. The online quote process is straightforward and more thorough than that of other companies, meaning that renters are more likely to get the coverage they really need. Renters can file claims online or over the phone; Nationwide does have an app, but the app is mainly geared toward auto insurance services. J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction ranking for Nationwide is also lower than that of its competitors, but one feature Nationwide offers that other companies don’t is the On Your Side review. This free service lets customers review their policies annually with an agent to ensure that their coverage is complete and they’re getting the best possible price.
- Coverage area: 45 states
- Quote process: Online or through an agent
- Claims process: Online or phone
- Additional policies: Vehicle, life, pet, travel, dental, accident, identity theft, umbrella
- AM Best rating: A+
- Sample monthly cost: $19.81
- Renters can bundle multiple policies and add on additional coverage
- On Your Side review allows customers to annually review and reassess policies with an agent
- Online quote process is thorough and straightforward
- Mobile app is geared toward auto insurance and is not as helpful for filing or tracking claims for renters insurance
- Overall customer satisfaction is lower than that of other brands, according to J.D. Power
Why It Made the Cut: As an all-online insurance company, Lemonade is ideal for consumers who prefer to handle all their renters insurance needs online.
Lemonade makes it quick and easy to get renters insurance online or through its app. Users could receive coverage in 90 seconds and, if a renter files a claim, Lemonade says the claim could be approved within seconds. If a renter likes doing business with socially conscious companies, Lemonade is a certified B Corp, which means it has high social and environmental standards. One example of this commitment is that Lemonade donates unclaimed money from its customers’ premiums to the charities of their customers’ choice. There’s no option for getting a quote or filing a claim over the phone, but this shouldn’t be a hindrance for a customer who prefers online-only interactions. Lemonade’s monthly costs are also relatively high, but customers automatically receive replacement cost coverage, which may be worth the extra money if a renter has to file a claim.
- Coverage area: 27 states and Washington D.C.
- Quote process: Online
- Claims process: Online
- Additional policies: Auto, pet, life
- AM Best rating: Unknown
- Sample monthly cost: $20
- Certified B Corp means that the company has high social and environmental standards
- Lemonade donates unclaimed money from customers’ premiums to the charity of customers’ choice with the Lemonade Giveback program
- Some claims are paid out instantly
- Customers receive replacement cost coverage
- Quote and claim system are only available online
- Monthly costs are relatively high
Why It Made the Cut: USAA offers affordable insurance with low prices and great coverage for members of the military.
Available nationwide, USAA has a strong reputation for renters insurance rates that typically are less than the national average. It’s also known for excellent customer service and strong financial backing, which is reflected in the company’s A++ AM Best rating. Renters insurance through USAA also includes flood and earthquake damage coverage, which is usually an add-on at other insurance companies. Although renters can start the quote process online, they may need to call the company to get a final quote. While coverage is only available to current or former military members and their families, it’s a great option for renters who are eligible.
- Coverage area: 50 states
- Quote process: Online or phone
- Claims process: Online
- Additional policies: Vehicle, life, health, pet, travel
- AM Best rating: A++
- Sample monthly cost: $10
- Prices typically fall below national average, making coverage more affordable than that of some competitors
- A++ AM Best rating
- Standard policies include flood and earthquake coverage
- Renter must be a current or former member of the military or a family member of one
- Some customers may have to call to complete the quote process
When searching for the best renters insurance companies, State Farm earned the best overall rating because it checks all the boxes for affordability, coverage options, and customer service. American Family Insurance was the runner-up because of the diminishing deductible on renters insurance policies.
How We Chose the Best Renters Insurance Companies
To select the best renters insurance companies, we reviewed the various coverage options for renters insurance and looked at possible rates to see which companies had the most affordable policies. In addition, we looked at the AM Best ratings and J.D. Power rankings to see where companies stacked up based on their ability to pay claims and their level of customer service. Also, we looked at how accessible these renters insurance companies are for consumers and if they were available to customers across the country. These factors all played a role in determining the best renters insurance companies.
Before You Choose One of the Best Renters Insurance Companies
Not every company will fit the needs and budget of every consumer. It’s vital to compare renters insurance policies with a close look at the coverage options, coverage limits, and rates for the coverage. Renters also should evaluate whether they want the ease of purchasing and maintaining the renters insurance policy online or if they prefer to deal with an agent, either by phone or in person. Reading renters insurance reviews can also help a user determine if there are any consistent issues with the company’s user interface or customer service. A renters insurance comparison will help narrow down the choices for the best renters insurance companies.
Cost of Buying a Policy From One of the Best Renters Insurance Companies
The national average cost of renters insurance is $168 a year or $14 a month. But where a renter lives will play a significant role in how much renters insurance will run. For example, in Louisiana, the average yearly cost is $262, while the average annual price in Wyoming is only $101. Renters insurance may also be more expensive in cities; Los Angeles has an average yearly cost of $256, and New York City has an average annual cost of $174.
As for all insurance products, renters should check with at least three different renters insurance companies when shopping for the best renters insurance. It’s important to compare the details of each policy, including the coverage limits and the costs. Renters will want to make sure the specifics of the policies are the same to verify which one is the least expensive while providing the same coverage. In addition, it’s important to compare all available discounts, because those discounts could make an already great policy more affordable than it otherwise would be. Remember, too, that any add-on coverage will increase the premium rates for the policy.
The Advantages of Buying a Policy With One of the Best Renters Insurance Companies
It’s important to have renters insurance because your landlord is not responsible for any damage to or loss of your personal belongings inside the apartment or home, only the structure of the building. Renters insurance will provide coverage for your clothing, furnishings, electronics, household goods, and other belongings in the apartment or home. But renters insurance coverage also can provide liability coverage, funds for temporary housing, and even coverage for items in storage.
- Renters insurance may pay someone’s medical expenses if they are injured in your apartment.
- If you damage a neighbor’s apartment wall (say a shelf fell and made a hole), your renters insurance could cover it.
- Renters insurance may provide coverage if you are a victim of identity theft.
Shopping for the best renters insurance can be confusing, but it’s important to do your research so you find the best coverage for your needs at the best price for your budget. It’s a worthy investment that will protect you and your belongings if a covered event causes damage to them.
Q. What does renters insurance typically cover?
Renters insurance typically covers your personal belongings, provides lliability protection if you are found legal responsible for causing damage to someone’s property or injuring them, medical payments if someone is accidentally injured in your home, and reimburses you for temporary living expenses if your home is uninhabitable.
Q. Can a landlord require renters insurance?
Yes, your landlord can require you to have renters insurance.
Q. How much renters insurance do I need?
You should have enough renters insurance coverage to cover replacing your personal belongings and protect your financial assets in the event you are found liable for damage or injury to others.
Q. Does renters insurance cover flooding?
Most renters insurance policies do not cover flooding.
Q. Does renters insurance cover theft-related damage?
Yes, renters insurance covers theft-related damage.
Q. Does renters insurance cover property damage?
It depends on the property damage. If the property damage is to the structure of the building, your landlord’s insurance may cover it. However, if you accidentally damage someone else’s property, your renters insurance could cover it.
Q. Does renters insurance cover carpet damage?
Renters insurance is primarily for your personal belongings. If the carpet is part of the rented unit and belongs to the landlord, the most likely scenario would be that a portion of the security deposit is withheld by the landlord. However, if the carpet is one of your belongings, damage sustained could be covered by renters insurance depending on the source of the damage. For example, renters insurance most likely won’t cover wear and tear, but would cover damage caused by a fire or flooding from a burst pipe.
Q. Does renters insurance cover broken windows or glass doors?
Windows and glass doors are usually considered the landlord’s property, so it would be the landlord’s responsibility to repair or replace those items.
Q. What is not included in renters insurance?
Renters insurance usually doesn’t cover high-value items such as jewelry (you would have to purchase separate coverage), damage you intentionally cause, and damage or loss that results from flooding or an earthquake.