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How to Get Renters Insurance

If you’re renting a home, you’ll need to know how to get renters insurance to make sure your property is protected from unexpected events like natural disasters and theft. Read more for information on the sign-up process, your options, and more.
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Whether your landlord requires it or you're just looking to keep your property safe, understanding how to get renters insurance is an important step in your journey as a renter. The process starts with understanding what coverage you need in order to select and fine-tune your policy.

There are many things to think about when considering an investment like renters insurance, and this article offers some important takeaways as you make your decision. Additionally, you can use this easy online tool to view free quotes from multiple providers in your area.

What Is Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance is similar to homeowners insurance but specifically offers coverage for renters living in a unit or home under a landlord. It exists to complement the landlord's insurance, which covers the structure and dwelling. Many landlords require their tenants to purchase a basic renters insurance policy when signing a lease for their unit or home for rent. 

It's a smart investment, even if it isn't required, since it can help you avoid the financial burden of uncontrollable accidents that may happen in your home. Understanding how to get renters insurance is a critical step before moving into your new place.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance can cover a range of losses, from the renter's personal property to liability claims from injuries that occur on site. Since the landlord and their insurance are only liable for accidents due to structural issues, the liability coverage from renters insurance can protect the tenant if they're responsible for someone getting injured in their home.

Property claimed from a renters insurance policy can include many different personal possessions, like a computer, bike, or furniture. However, the qualifying events on the policy may vary. In general, renters insurance covers the following:

  • Hail and wind
  • Damage from snow, sleet, or ice
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Lightning
  • Falling objects
  • Short-circuit and electrical damage

Overall, renters insurance can be broken up into three main components that are typically included in the basic package of a policy:

  • Liability: Personal liability claims can be made under a renters insurance policy in scenarios like dog bites or workers who suffer injuries in your home. The landlord's insurance will cover anything that occurs from a structural issue, but the renter is liable for different kinds of events outside of that category. This coverage often includes medical payments and even legal fees.
  • Personal Possessions: Most renters insurance policies cover personal belongings lost due to events like the ones listed above. Typically, certain properties are only covered up to a limit, so more expensive items may not be covered. To be sure those belongings are included in the policy contract, you may need to pay for necessary add-ons. You'll also have the option for replacement cash value (RCV) or actual cash value (ACV) policies. An ACV policy provides money to replace items based on their value, whereas an RCV policy costs more and replaces the lost items with new ones.
  • Loss of Use: Also known as additional living expenses (ALE), loss of use coverage pays for a hotel room, food, or other expenses you may face if you're displaced from your home due to a covered event.

Do You Need Renters Insurance?

Although no state currently requires renters to have an insurance policy by law, many landlords require it upon signing the lease for a unit or home on their property. If you rent an apartment, townhouse, single-family home, or condo, you are eligible and can benefit from renters insurance. Not all landlords require renters insurance, but setting up a policy can relieve the financial burden caused by unexpected events and can provide peace of mind.

Where You Can Get Renters Insurance

There are many top companies in the industry that provide comprehensive renters insurance with flexible coverage options. Here are the details of a few policies that we've reviewed:

Allstate

  • Monthly cost: $11+
  • Personal property options: $25,000-$150,000
  • Deductible options: $250, $500, or $1,000
  • Liability options: $100,000, $200,000, $300,000, or $500,000
  • Loss of use options: no limit
  • Add-ons and optional coverage: jewelry/watches/furs, identity theft restoration, scheduled personal property, and business property

Progressive

  • Monthly cost: $13-$25
  • Personal property options: $15,000-$150,000
  • Deductible options: $250, $500, $1,000, or $2,500
  • Liability options: $100,000, $300,000, or $500,000
  • Loss of use options: up to 40% of personal property
  • Add-ons and optional coverage: water backup, computers, earthquakes, and personal injury

Lemonade

  • Monthly cost: $5+
  • Personal property options: $10,000-$250,000
  • Deductible options: $500, $1,000, or $2,500
  • Liability options: $100,000, $200,000, $300,000, $400,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000
  • Loss of use options: 30% or more of personal property
  • Add-ons and optional coverage: earthquakes, jewelry, fine art, bikes, cameras, musical instruments, water backup, and landlord property damage
  • You can view more details and information by getting a free quote from Lemonade.

Verdict & Recommendation

Getting renters insurance is a critical step to avoiding the financial burden of expensive unexpected accidents. Even if your landlord doesn't require it, it's a good investment to protect your items and liability when renting a home or unit. The best renters insurance companies offer policies with overall coverage, comprehensive and affordable packages, and necessary add-on options depending on your needs.

We recommend Lemonade renters insurance as the overall best choice for renters. Here are some things we like about Lemonade that led our decision:

  • Easy-to-use smartphone application and website chat customer service
  • Fast and easy sign-up and claim process
  • Giveback program that donates unused money
  • Affordable and flexible options with significant add-ons to fit your needs

To see if Lemonade is right for you, you can check prices and get a free quote from the company's website.

Lemonade renters insurance is available in 28 states across the U.S., including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin. If Lemonade doesn't serve your area, get renters insurance quotes from companies near you to find the best policy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Renters Insurance

Who is covered by renters insurance?

If you purchase a renters insurance policy as the policy holder, you are covered in addition to your resident spouse and children, if any. Some insurance policies have the option to extend coverage to guests in your home, as well, but it would be a premium add-on to the package. A roommate would not necessarily be included—unless you and your roommate purchase a joint policy, which most companies offer.

How do you file a renters insurance claim?

The process of filing a claim depends on the company and policy, but in most cases, it is simple and stress-free. For example, Lemonade Insurance has a user-friendly app that makes it as seamless as possible, and you can finish filing a claim within minutes. You can visit the company's website to learn more about how it works.

Does renters insurance cover injuries?

Renters insurance covers medical expenses for bodily injuries that may occur on the premises of your home or unit to someone else. Policies protect against a personal injury claim from an accident that you may be responsible or liable for as the renter of the home. The amount that is covered will vary depending on the policy that you select.

Why do landlords require renters insurance?

Landlords usually ensure that the tenant purchases insurance when signing their lease because it can benefit both parties. When the tenant has a policy, the landlord can avoid liability claims due to damages from covered events, and it helps with uncontrolled expenses. Additionally, renters insurance policies are beneficial to the renter as an investment to cover losses from unexpected events.