Who Needs Renters Insurance?
Anyone who rents an apartment, condo, townhome, or other type of dwelling should seriously consider getting renters insurance. Renters insurance covers a tenant’s personal property if it’s damaged or destroyed during a break-in, a storm, or another event specified in the policy. In addition, renters insurance provides coverage for personal liability and medical bills if you have a guest over and they’re injured. Finally, if there’s a fire or other catastrophic event that forces you to move out of your unit, renters insurance will cover your extra living expenses, such as hotel bills and meals out.
Unlike some other types of insurance policies, renters insurance is relatively simple. But there are some nuances when it comes to selecting a policy and insurance company, which is where this guide comes in. Below, we’ll list our top-rated renters insurance companies of 2022 and provide more information on how renters insurance works.
Any rates listed are for illustrative purposes only. You should contact the insurance company or insurance agent directly for applicable quotes.
- Standard policies cover flood damage
- Available in all 50 states
- Membership limited to members (retired or active) of the U.S. armed services and their families
- Doesn’t cover roommates
USAA: Available in all 50 states, renters insurance from USAA is limited to members of the U.S. military, whether they’re active duty or retired, and their immediate family members.
A standard policy from USAA provides coverage for your personal belongings, temporary living expenses should your home become uninhabitable due to a covered event as well as liability and medical liability should someone become injured in your home. USAA’s standard policy also includes flood coverage. However, it won’t cover your roommates.
For more information, read our full USAA review.
- Fast sign up and claims process
- Portion of revenue distributed to charities of your choice
- Not as widely available as other companies in our rating
- May not be a good fit if you prefer working with an agent
Lemonade: Founded in 2015, Lemonade is among a new crop of online-only startups companies aiming to disrupt the insurance space. It operates as a peer-to-peer insurance provider, meaning premiums paid by customers go into a community pot that is used to pay out claims. One of the benefits that Lemonade claims for its business approach is that it can approve a policy within minutes and a claim almost instantly.
Lemonade advertises its insurance policies at highly competitive rates, starting at $5 a month for renters insurance and $25 a month for homeowners insurance.
For more information, read our full Lemonade review.
- Competitive pricing
- Offers replacement cost coverage
- Limited availability compared to other companies in our rating
- Few discounts available compared to other companies in our rating
Erie Insurance: Founded in 1925, Erie Insurance is based in Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s probably best known for its auto and leisure insurance, but it also offers renters, homeowners, property, life, and business insurance. Erie Insurance sells relatively low-cost insurance in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions through 13,000 independent agents.
For more information, read our full Erie Insurance review.
- Offers a variety of discounts
- Coverage for home-based businesses is available
- No online purchase option
- Limited availability compared to other companies in our rating
American Family: Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family offers car insurance, homeowners insurance, and renters insurance, along with life insurance and other types of policies. It has agents in 19 states and serves the entire country through affiliates The General and Homesite. American Family offers a wide selection of renters insurance add-ons, like travel insurance, pet insurance, as well as coverage for home businesses and identity theft.
For more information, read our full American Family review.
How To Choose the Best Renters Insurance
There are several steps to follow when selecting a renters insurance policy. They include:
- Decide what you want to cover. The Insurance Information Institute explains that there are three basic types of coverage included in most renters insurance policies: personal possessions, liability, and additional living expenses.Consider your circumstances to decide which of these you want to cover:
- Your personal possessions include things like clothes, bedding, sports and hobby equipment, small appliances that didn’t come with the rental property, and anything else you own that’s stored in the unit.
- Liability coverage that comes with a renters insurance policy will pay for legal fees and medical bills arising from an injury to a guest in your unit.
- Additional living expense coverage will reimburse you for hotel bills, restaurant meals, and other costs above and beyond your normal living expenses if you have to move out of your unit after a covered event.We provide a more extensive list of coverage options for renters insurance in our What Does Renters Insurance Cover? guide.
- Determine how much renters insurance you need. To figure out how much renters insurance you need, take an inventory of all of your personal property. Walk through each room of your home and note everything you own, including things stored out of sight, such as in a bedroom closet. All of these things might have to be replaced after a major disaster, so be sure to purchase enough coverage. Especially valuable items like expensive jewelry might require a supplemental or add-on policy.
- Choose a replacement cost policy or an actual cash value policy. A replacement cost policy has a somewhat higher premium, but it will reimburse you for the cost to replace your lost or damaged items with new equivalents. By contrast, an actual cash value policy will only compensate you for what those items were worth in their used condition. For certain types of property, especially things like electronics that depreciate rapidly, an actual cash value policy will leave you short of funds for buying new items.
- Choose a renters insurance company. When selecting a policy, look at companies that use their own agents, those that use independent agents who refer clients to more than one insurance company, and those that sell policies directly online and by phone. Family, friends, and realtors can provide valuable recommendations. Ask for quotes from three or more companies, but don’t just look at the price. Customer service and a strong financial rating from agencies like AM Best are equally important, if not more so.
- Choose a policy. Finally, choose a policy with enough personal possession and liability coverage. Read the fine print and make sure you understand all the terms of your policy, including what it covers and doesn’t cover, so there are no unpleasant surprises later. Finally, consider adding additional coverage for floods, earthquakes, or other types of disasters endemic to your area that might not be covered by a standard policy.
For more information, see How to Buy Renters Insurance.
Should I Bundle Renters and Car Insurance?
Bundling renters and car insurance policies is up to you; however, bundling might not always be the cheapest option. Many insurance companies in our ratings have bundling options for these two policies, which can result in lower premiums. But, your actual savings will vary based on the details of the policies being bundled.
Similar discounts might be available for other types of policies. For example, Allstate will let you bundle renters insurance with term life insurance or auto coverage, while Nationwide will let you bundle renters and motorcycle coverage.
It is possible you could save more by purchasing individual policies from separate companies. For more information, see our How to Bundle Renters and Car Insurance guide.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
If you rent, your landlord’s insurance protects the building you live in, but not its contents. In the event of an accident, your landlord cannot be held financially responsible for any damage to your belongings. Renters insurance is designed to protect the contents of your dwelling, similar to homeowners insurance.
A typical renters insurance policy also covers the following:
- Theft. If your house or apartment is broken into and things are stolen, you would submit a claim to your renters insurance company who would compensate you for the stolen items. Often, renters insurance policies protect you from thefts that occur outside your dwelling – for example, if you are pickpocketed or your phone is stolen while you’re out and about.
- Living expenses. Loss-of-use coverage helps cover additional living expenses that are a result of damage to your home. If, for example, a fire occurs in your building and makes your apartment uninhabitable, loss-of-use coverage may help pay for a hotel room for you to stay in.
- Injury to guests. Personal liability coverage kicks in if someone is injured or their property is damaged and you are blamed for the incident. Your renters insurance policy may also cover medical payment for the guest’s medical bills or your legal defense, should the injured party take you to court.
The financial amount that an insurance company will pay in these scenarios depends on the renters policy that you purchase. The payout caps often change depending on the premiums (the monthly payments you make for the policy) and the deductible (the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance policy kicks in.)
When purchasing renters insurance, don’t just focus on price, though. The company with the lowest premiums might not have the coverage you need or good customer service agents. The Consumer Federation of America notes that good customer service is especially important because it will make the process of filing a claim much easier and more pleasant.
For more information, see How Does Renters Insurance Work.
Do I Need Renters Insurance?
There are several reasons you may want to consider a renters insurance policy.
- Landlord requirements. Some landlords and rental agencies require tenants to maintain a rental policy. Consult your rental agreement or contact your existing or potential landlord to determine if you need coverage.
- Coverage for your possessions. It’s likely your landlord already has an insurance policy to protect their building, but their policy won’t cover your possessions in the event of a theft, fire, water damage, or other circumstance that may leave you with damaged property. Renters insurance can help you protect your valuables or everyday essentials, including clothing, laptops, and appliances.
- Liability protection. Most renters policies include liability coverage. If someone is injured or their property is damaged and you’re found legally responsible, having a policy can help you pay for repairs, property replacements, or medical bills.
- Financial support after a disaster. Renters policies generally include “loss of use” coverage, which can help you pay for a hotel or other essential costs (e.g., daily meals) if you’re displaced due to a covered peril.
Worried about costs? Check these affordable renters insurance companies.
Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, burglaries accounted for 33% of on-campus crime in 2019. A renters insurance policy will repair or replace personal belongings after a covered loss and cover living expenses if you need to find a new place after a covered loss makes the residence uninhabitable. It will also cover liability if you accidentally damage the property or injure someone on it.
Regular homeowners insurance policies typically have a sub-limit allocated to off-property personal belongings, like those in a dorm room. However, off-campus apartments or housing will likely not be covered and will need a separate renters insurance policy.
Electronics like cell phones and computers might have their own stand-alone insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), and you could be eligible for an auto premium discount if a student is leaving their car at home while they’re at college.
Learn more about how renters insurance policies work in our guide on How to File a Renters Insurance Claim.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
The cost of a renters insurance policy is affected by a number of factors:
- Where you live
- The type and amount of coverage you want
- The amount of your deductible
- Whether you choose a replacement-cost policy or a less expensive, actual-cash-value policy
- You add supplemental coverage for natural disasters like earthquakes, or to insure high-value possessions such as jewelry or art
According to a 2021 study by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average annual cost of a renters insurance policy in 2018 was $179 per year. Some companies even offer policies as low as $5 a month. Compared to the average annual homeowners insurance premium of $1,249 per year, renters insurance is a relative bargain when you consider the cost of replacing personal items or an injury to a houseguest. Our guide How Much Is Renters Insurance? provides more details on factors contributing to cost.
A common way to save money is by bundling your renters insurance with your car insurance policy. For more information, read our guide on How To Bundle Renters and Auto Insurance.
What Should I Look For in a Renters Insurance Policy?
There are several things to look for when purchasing a renters insurance policy, including:
- A policy with enough coverage to reimburse you for all your personal property
- A replacement cost or actual cash value policy
- A policy’s personal liability and additional living expenses coverage
When it comes to coverage, you want to make sure you have enough to reimburse you for personal property that is damaged in a storm, fire, or other covered disasters. To do this, take inventory of all your property by writing down everything you own and the approximate value. If you have receipts, make sure to save them. You will also want to note valuable items like jewelry or electronics, as these might require add-on coverage.
You will also want to check if your policy has a replacement cost or an actual cash value policy. A replacement cost will reimburse you for the cost of replacing your property with comparable new items. An actual cash value will only reimburse you for the depreciated value. Used items would not be worth as much, so your compensation would be lower. The policy you choose will depend on how you balance the risks to your property with monthly premium payments.
Lastly, examine a policy’s personal liability and additional living expenses coverage. Whether they are what you need depends in part on how likely a guest is to be injured on your property and the probability of having to move out due to damage to your unit.
Compare renters insurance rates
2001-3000 sq. ft.HomeownerRenterCompare Quotes
Powered by :
For more information about renters insurance visit our other guides:
- Cheapest Renters Insurance Companies of 2022
- How Much Is Renters Insurance?
- How to Buy Renters Insurance
- How Does Renters Insurance Work?
- What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
- How to File a Renters Insurance Claim
- How to Bundle Renters and Auto Insurance
- What is Condo Insurance?
- Geico vs. Allstate Renters Insurance
- Allstate vs. State Farm Renters Insurance
- Geico vs. State Farm Renters Insurance
- State Farm vs. Progressive Renters Insurance
Renters Insurance Companies
- American Family
- Erie Insurance
- Farmers Insurance
- The Hartford
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
Other Ratings From 360 Reviews
For information on other forms of insurance visit our other ratings:
- Best Life Insurance Companies of 2022
- Cheapest Life Insurance Companies of 2022
- Best Homeowners Insurance Companies of 2022
- Best Car Insurance Companies of 2022
- Best Pet Insurance Companies of 2022
Our 360 Methodology for Evaluating Renters Insurance Companies
The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing renters insurance companies to provide guidance to prospective consumers.
Why You Can Trust Us: 15 Renters Insurance Companies Researched
At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our ratings, we researched more than 15 Renters Insurance Companies and analyzed 12 reviews. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. All sample products provided for review are donated after review.
1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.
U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data, including internet search data, to determine which renters insurance brands Americans are most interested in. We found 15 companies that stand out in terms of volume of searches and research among consumers, as well as across the different rating sources. Once we identified these companies, we reviewed the companies’ available renters insurance features offered at the time of publication.
We compared policy costs across different companies using an archetype that, as much as possible, represents a typical American renter: a 33-year-old individual renting a 1,200 square-foot apartment with one other roommate in a building with a local fire alarm and sprinkler system. We built a standard plan that includes property/contents coverage of $30,000, liability coverage of $100,000, and a $500 deductible. We collected quotes from four locations – Chicago; Cleveland; Glendale, Wisconsin; and Indianapolis – to get a better idea of price variations for a standard plan across different areas. We then took the median value of the price quotes we received to create a sample monthly plan cost.
2. We created objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.
Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on the personal opinions, tests or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:
(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:
- Professional Ratings and Reviews: Many independent renters insurance evaluating sources have published their assessments of renters insurance companies and products online. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
- Consumer Ratings and Reviews: U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of renters insurance providers. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.
Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.
(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.
The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.
The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company that a source rated was scored in comparison to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:
- Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point’s relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it’s above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it’s equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the company’s rating from the mean and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
- Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
- Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.
(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.
We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than 2 was excluded from the consensus scoring model.
Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.