Whether you're getting renters insurance because you're moving out and going to college for the first time, or you've been a renter and are looking for ways to save money on your renters insurance, here is what you need to know.
Renters insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your "stuff" when you rent.
It's actually called personal property insurance - because most renters insurance policies will cover your belongs both at home and away.
If you're renting, many landlords now require that you have a basic renters insurance policy as a condition of the lease. If you're going to college, some colleges require students to maintain renters insurance if they live in the dorms!
The bottom line is that renters insurance is important. Fortunately, it's actually very affordable as well.
And if you combine your renters insurance with other policies (such as a car insurance policy), it could even be free!
We break down our top picks for where to get renters insurance, as well as everything you could ever want to know about it. Let's get started.
Editor's Note: Renters insurance is just one type of insurance you might need. Be sure to check out Insurance Basics: What Kind of Insurance Do You Need?
Best Renters Insurance Quotes Available Online
There are our top 3 picks for the best renters insurance option. Each one is based on your own personal situation. These options might not be the best for everyone, especially if you can get a multi-policy discount with your current insurance company.
Note: The insurance offers that appear on this site are from companies from which The College Investor receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The College Investor does not include all insurance companies or all insurance offers available in the marketplace.
- Renters insurance as low as $5 per month
- Very quick claims process all in the app
- Online app-based application process is easy to use and fast
- An insurance comparison tool
- Find the best policy across a bunch of companies
- Online application process is easy to use and fast
- Best rates if you're in the military or a dependent
- Insurance can be "free" if you bundle with auto
- This was the company that I used when I got renters insurance
Companies Who Offer Renters Insurance
There are a lot of companies that offer renters insurance. The list below is some of the most popular choices. If you are looking at a company not listed, let us know in the comments below!
AAA is most known for it's roadside assistance and auto insurance programs. However, AAA also offers a full suite of insurance products, including renters insurance. If you're already taking advantage of auto insurance through AAA, it could make sense to see if you could save even more by adding in renters insurance.
The offer renters insurance policies for as little as $5 per month. Check out AAA Renters Insurance.
Allstate is one of our top picks for renters insurance because they offer a great product at reasonable prices. They are one of the most well known insurance companies, and offer a full suite of insurance products that can match your needs.
We think that Allstate is best for people combining their auto and renters insurance policies. They advertise that you can get rates as low as $4 per month. Check out Allstate Renters Insurance.
Assurant is not the most well known company, but they have been doing renters insurance for a while and they have some great options. The offer flexible billing plans, as well as low deductibles as low as $100. They allow you to get a quote quickly and easily online.
They advertise that you can get renters insurance rates as low as $5 per month. Check out Assurant Renters Insurance.
ePremium Renters Insurance is another not very well know company that is trying to offer some different variations on renters insurance. For example, they also offer security deposit insurance where you can pay a small non-refundable insurance premium in lieu of a larger security deposit. When you move out, the insurance will cover any issues, up to the security deposit amount.
You can get renters insurances rates as low as $5 per month. Check out ePremium Renters Insurance.
Esurance is a popular choice for renters insurance as they were one of the first companies to advertise that you could do everything online. Since then, we haven't heard much from them. They have full service renters insurance that even pays for you to live if you have to leave your apartment and your landlord doesn't cover everything.
They currently advertise that their average customer pays $14 per month for renters insurance. You can check out Esurance Renters Insurance.
Farmers is a traditional insurance company that is very well known. They offer renters insurance as one of their many product offerings. They offer a wide variety of renters insurance options, including liability coverage and more. They even advertise that their renters insurance will help you with personal liability if needed.
They advertise that their renters insurance only costs pennies per day, so we expect relatively low payments. You can check out Farmers Renters Insurance.
Geico is most well known for it's car insurance (and it's Gecko mascot), but Geico also offers renters insurance and more. The great thing about Geico is that if you have their auto insurance, you can get a mutli-policy discount and save even more money (or maybe even get your renters insurance for free).
While they don't advertise their renters insurance rates, we expect them to be pretty low. You can check out Geico Renters Insurance.
Jetty is a startup that is working to change the renting game. They offer an innovative platform that allows you to get renters insurance as well as security deposit insurance and lease guarantor services. If you need someone to cosign your lease, Jetty can help with that.
They have an app and online site that makes it easy to apply. They don't advertise their insurance rates, but we imagine they are on par with most companies. Check out Jetty Renters Insurance.
Lemonade is another startup that is looking to change the insurance space. They offer app-based renters and homeowners insurance. They also advertise that you can get renters insurance for as low as $5 per month, and homeowners insurance from as low as $35.
They are one of our top picks for renters insurance because of their low rates and easy to use app.
They also attempt to make insurance claims very easy by having it all done on the app - and they claim that you can even get paid in $3 minutes in some situations. Check out Lemonade Renters Insurance.
Liberty Mutual is a long time favorite of ours for renters insurance, as they've been doing it for a long time and have great rates. You can get a lot of different options with your Liberty Mutual renters insurance, but make sure you only get what you need.
You can also combine policies to get a multi-policy discount if you have other insurance with Liberty Mutual.
They currently advertise that you can get renters insurance for less than $1 per day. Check out Liberty Mutual Renters Insurance.
Nationwide is a popular insurance company that has been made famous from it's celebrity endorsements on TV commercials. However, they also offer renters insurance to compliment all their other product offerings.
Nationwide doesn't advertise it's renters insurance rates, but we can assume they are competitive to most of the other companies on this list. They do say that they focus on bundling insurance, so that you can save even more with a multi-policy discount.
Check out Nationwide Renters Insurance.
Policygenius isn't directly an insurance company. It's a comparison tool that allows you to find the best quote for your insurance product needs - including renters insurance.
We love Policygenius because we love the idea of comparing multiple offers from various companies that meet your criteria. Read our Policygenius review here.
Check out Policygenius Renters Insurance.
Progressive is another popular car insurance company that also offers renters insurance. This can be a great deal if you already use Progressive for car insurance, because if you bundle, you can save a lot of money. Progressive's renters insurance policies can protect your belongings, protect you against lawsuits, and even help pay for temporary living expenses.
Progressive advertises that you can get renters insurance with them for as little as $1 per day. Check out Progressive Renters Insurance.
State Farm is another popular insurance company that's most well known for home owners insurance, but also has renters insurance policies. As a result, the renters insurance seems like an after thought for the company as the site to apply is hard to navigate and find information.
State Farm does have an app that can help you with your rental experience, but we're not quite sure how it connects to their renter insurance policy.
Check out State Farm Renters Insurance.
USAA is another great choice for renters insurance, and actually the company that I personally used while I was in college. The big drawback to USAA is that you have to be a member - and that requires that you serve in the military or are a dependent.
While this does apply to a lot of people, it doesn't apply to everyone.
USAA offers renters insurance for as low as $5 per month. You can also combine this with other insurance and get a multi-policy discount - which could save you more than the cost of the renters insurance, making it free. For example, I had a $5/mo policy, but I saved about $20/mo on my car insurance - making it free and then some!
Check out USAA Renters Insurance.
Why College Students Need Renters Insurance
College is the first time many students move out of their parents' house — whether to a dorm room or sharing an apartment with friends. It's also the first time that students really start to acquire their own possessions — computers, electronics, furniture, and more.
Plus, college students typically don't have a lot of spending cash — mom and dad help out with a lot.
As a result, it's really important for college students to protect the small amount of assets they have. Chances are, if a student get's their laptop stolen, it will cost at least $1,000 or more. And college students typically don't have that kind of cash lying around. In 2011 (the last year statistics are available), there were close to 10,000 burglaries and robberies on university campuses nationwide. And that was only what was reported on campus. That doesn't include the potential losses from near-campus locales — apartments, coffee shops, parks, etc.
With roughly 14 million college students nationwide, the odds of you getting something stolen sometime during your four years of school is 0.3%, or 1-in-300. That's important to keep in mind.
The bottom line is that you need college student renters insurance to protect yourself and your stuff. Renters insurance is actually a misnomer — the actual policy is personal property insurance. That means it covers your stuff anywhere.
When you live in a dorm room or have a roommate, your stuff is just less secure. People are always coming and going, and you may not know a lot of them. Then, you probably have to go the library, the computer lab, the quad, the coffee shop, and more. There are so many places that have the potential for someone to take your stuff.
And that's just theft! Renters insurance also covers things like a regular policy: fire damage, vandalism, and more. Many college students think the landlord or university (if you're living in a dorm) will pay for loss if the building burns down or something happens. That's incorrect. Landlord insurance only covers the structure — renters are responsible for their own contents!
Prices To Expect
The amazing thing about renters insurance is that it is extremely cheap! I'm talking incredibly cheap. When I was going to college, I had a renters insurance policy worth $5,000, and I was paying $4 per month for the policy. Plus, I used the same company that did my auto insurance, and I received a "multi-policy discount" of $15 on the car insurance. The bottom line: it was free.
Why did I choose $5,000 for my policy? I really only had a computer and TV that I cared about, but my apartment also had a cheap couch, a bed, and my clothes. I figured in a worst-case scenario, that $5,000 would get me back on my feet.
You can take the $4 per month as a baseline. You can get a policy worth $10,000 for about $10 per month, and a policy worth $20,000 for about $20 per month. The question is, as a college student, do you really need that much insurance?
Sample Renters Insurance Rates By State
It's important to note that no state law anywhere requires that you have renters insurance. However, many landlords do require renters insurance in their leases - and you have to comply with the terms of your lease.
Based on a 2015 study by the Insurance Information Institute, here's what you can expect to pay for renters insurance by state:
Average Monthly Premium
Average Annual Premium
What Types of Coverage To Look For With Renters Insurance
This is always the tough one, because every company calls their coverage a little something different. Plus, each insurance company typically offers add-ons that may or may not be of value to you.
The biggest benefit you're looking for is property protection. You want to make sure that your stuff is safe. A typical policy would cover:
- Theft — ensure the policy covers theft from your unit and theft anywhere you are, like a coffee shop.
- Smoke damage
- Lightning damage
- Discharge of water — for example, if the fire sprinklers go off accidentally.
Here are some other important coverages:
- Loss of use: This helps you pay for another apartment or hotel should you not be able to use your rental for whatever reason.
- Liability: This is coverage that insures you if you are sued. Say your dog bites someone, and they sue for the cost of medical bills. Your liability coverage will help you pay for this expense.
Here are some typical terms:
- Deductible: This is what you pay if something happens. Many policies offer no deductible, but the average deductible is $500. I would aim for a deductible of $0 for a policy, but get the lower amount you can afford.
- ACV vs. replacement cost: This determines whether you will get the actual cash value of the loss or the replacement cost of the loss. Think about it this way: if your two-year-old laptop is stolen, will you get enough money to buy a new laptop, or will they give you the current eBay price for your laptop? I always opt for replacement cost, since I will get a new laptop.
Here are some random coverages (you may not need these, but you could depending on your situation):
- Hurricane damage coverage
- Flood damage
- Identity theft protection
All of these extra random coverages probably have extra charges associated with them. I wouldn't opt for them unless you're very concerned about those issues. Chances are, though, as a college renter, you don't need hurricane or flood protection because you could probably take the small amount of personal property you own with you when you evacuate.
What You'll Need To Apply
You don't need much to apply for renters insurance. You typically fill out a form online that includes your name, address (of the unit you're going to be renting), phone number, and possibly your Social Security number.
They may also ask you questions about whether you have pets (certain breeds of dogs may disqualify you from insurance), whether you have roommates (may increase the cost), and certain characteristics of the unit (fire alarms, smoke detectors, burglary alarms, etc.).
Whatever you do, don't lie on your insurance application! If you lie, and have to file a claim, your claim will be denied, and you could even be sued for fraud.
Otherwise, the process is painless and will probably take about 15 minutes to get you a policy.
How To File A Claim
Should something happen and your stuff is stolen or there is a fire, you'll have to file a renters insurance claim. This simply means you contact your insurance company (typically by phone, but many companies are moving to online claim forms), and tell them what happened. Your insurance company will then open an investigation and process your claim.
Important: They may ask for proof of your belongings, such as a laptop. That's why it's so important to keep records of your purchases — either by keeping a copy of the receipt, or saving the transaction online. Also, storing photos of your belongings is a good practice if you don't have receipts.
Depending on your insurance company and the nature of the claim, they will typically pay for losses within several days to several weeks. As such, it's still a very good idea to have an emergency fund to help you get through the interim.
What are your thoughts on renters insurance? Do you have a policy or recommend one?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.