The Best Renters Insurance for 2020

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Renters insurance is so affordable, not having it is a huge financial risk. While your landlord’s home insurance may cover damages to the structure you live in, it won’t cover any of your belongings. Renters insurance costs an average of $180 a year, making it an incredibly affordable policy. To find the best renters insurance in 2020, we used our proprietary scoring system, the SimpleScore, to compare coverage options, customer support, customer satisfaction, discounts and accessibility for every major provider.

In this article

Compare the best renters insurance for 2020

  • Allstate– Best renters insurance for online tools
  • Nationwide – Best renters insurance for extended coverages
  • Liberty Mutual – Best renters insurance for discounts
  • American Family – Best renters insurance for competitive rates
  • State Farm – Best renters insurance for policy management
  • MetLife – Best renters insurance for customer support
  • USAA – Best renters insurance for military members and families

The best renters insurance companies at a glance

Coverage options Average Monthly Cost SimpleScore
Allstate Flood insurance, personal umbrella, personal property, reimbursed living expenses, liability, identity theft, guest medical $15 4.2/5
Nationwide High-value items, theft extension, water backup, earthquake $20 3.8/5
Liberty Mutual Personal property replacement, blanket jewelry, earthquake damage As low as $5 4/5
American Family Identity theft, pet insurance, travel protection, home-based business Not disclosed 4.8/5
State Farm Additional liability, identity theft, earthquake damage, business property, incidentally business Not disclosed 4.2/5
MetLife Identity theft, luxury items Not disclosed 2.25/5
USAA Computer coverage, valuable personal property, As low as $10 3.8/5

Covid-19 Update: We're keeping track of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting renters insurance. Read more.

Best for online tools – Allstate

Allstate

Go with Allstate if you prefer a mobile and online experience over contact with a customer service advisor. The insurer’s embrace of technology sets it apart from the competition.

J.D. Power Score
2/5
AM Best Rating
A+
BBB Rating
A+
SimpleScore
4.2 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
Allstate
4.2
  • Discounts
    5
  • Coverage Options
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    2
  • Support
    4
  • Accessibility
    5
Allstate stands apart from the competition with its mobile app. Those who are comfortable with online and mobile banking will appreciate the digital interface. You’ll be able to file a claim, review your bill or access details about your policy through the app. The website is loaded with plenty of learning resources and tools about insurance, personal finance and retirement planning.

Compared to its competition, Allstate offers the most options for additional coverage. You can add coverage to your policy for a myriad of protections. Some of its add-on options include reimbursed living expenses, liability coverage, guest medical coverage, identity restoration coverage, flood insurance, personal property and scheduled personal property coverage.

Full review

Our Two Cents — If you dread making phone calls, you’ll love Allstate’s mobile app. It even lets you file a claim without talking to anybody.

Best for extended coverages – Nationwide

Nationwide

Coverage goes beyond your home and includes stolen items from your watercraft or vehicle.

J.D. Power Score
2/5
AM Best Rating
A+
BBB Rating
A+
SimpleScore
3.8 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
Nationwide
3.8
  • Discounts
    4
  • Coverage Options
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    2
  • Support
    4
  • Accessibility
    4
Nationwide may have the broadest range of insurance products of all the providers, with coverage for vehicles, motorcycles, boats, life, farm and even pets. If you have renters insurance with Nationwide you can extend that coverage to protect variations of property theft, like if something is stolen from your boat, trailer or vehicle.

Additionally, Nationwide includes card coverage as part of its standard renters policy for times when your credit card is stolen and large fraudulent charges are made. The company also offers a free consultation with a representative to review your insurance policies and make sure you’re covered adequately. Despite all this, the company ranks below average in customer satisfaction. It earned a low 2 out of 5 stars in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Study.

Full review

Our Two Cents — It’s possible Nationwide is all looks and no show — it boasts a ton of extra customer-focused perks, but doesn’t have the satisfaction ratings to back it up.

Best for discounts – Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual

When you’re on a budget and you’re looking for the best deal, check Liberty Mutual’s rates.

J.D. Power Score
2/5
AM Best Rating
A
BBB Rating
A
SimpleScore
4 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
Liberty Mutual
4
  • Discounts
    5
  • Coverage Options
    4
  • Customer Satisfaction
    2
  • Support
    4
  • Accessibility
    5
Besides the standard rental coverage, Liberty Mutual has an add-on for higher-value goods that is worth checking out. If you lease or own computer equipment or electronics worth thousands of dollars or collect items that are appraised for high amounts, you can add a rider to protect your investment with just a $100 deductible. One issue with Liberty Mutual’s standard policy is that it lacks water damage coverage. You’ll have to add it as an optional coverage, so don’t forget to factor in the additional cost when you’re comparing different renters insurance policies.

Liberty Mutual basically hands out discounts. Ways to save money on your policy are effortless — opting in to autopay, being five years claim-free, shopping before your current policy expires, buying your policy online and purchasing another type of insurance with Liberty Mutual.

Full review

Our Two Cents — Liberty Mutual discounts are a win-win scenario — it’ll discount your premium for things that make both your lives easier.

Best for competitive rates – American Family

American Family

Solid customer ratings, plenty of insurance options and competitive prices make American Family hard to beat.

J.D. Power Score
5/5
AM Best Rating
A
BBB Rating
A
SimpleScore
4.8 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
American Family
4.8
  • Discounts
    5
  • Coverage Options
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    5
  • Support
    4
  • Accessibility
    5
The company has a strong auto insurance offering and an enticing multiple policy discount. If you happen to need both, you can save up to 29% on auto and 14% on renters insurance by bundling.

American Family throws in bicycle coverage with your standard policy. If your bike is kept in storage that is not connected to your apartment, such as a community storage locker, American Family will cover your bicycle against theft or damage. It also has some other unique optional coverage additions like identity theft protection, pet insurance, travel protection and coverage for a home-based business.

American Family also ranks high in customer satisfaction from J.D. Power with a 5 out of 5. The only issue is its limited availability. American Family only provides coverage in 19 states, primarily in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.

Full review

Our Two Cents — American Family gets literal with discounts for generational customers and coverage for your furry family members too.

Best for policy management – State Farm

State Farm

State Farm’s online portal makes it simple to make changes to your policy and pay your bill electronically.

J.D. Power Score
5/5
AM Best Rating
A++
BBB Rating
A
SimpleScore
4.2 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
State Farm
4.2
  • Discounts
    3
  • Coverage Options
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    5
  • Support
    4
  • Accessibility
    4
State Farm is the largest insurance provider in the U.S and employs a vast network of agents nationwide — likely responsible for earning the company a perfect 5 out of 5 rating in customer satisfaction from J.D. Power’s survey. If you’d prefer to do things independently, the company’s online portal and quote tool is one of the best. You can plug in different deductible options to compare pricing.

If you’re looking for ways to save money, State Farm might not be the best for you. It has very few discount opportunities compared to our other recommendations. You can receive a discount for having multiple policies with State Farm and for installing home safety systems like smoke detectors or burglar alarms. There’s a chance you’re quoted a low price regardless, but keep in mind you might find a better price elsewhere.

Full review

Our Two Cents — Jake from State Farm is probably single-handedly responsible for the company’s 5/5 customer satisfaction rating. If you don’t get Jake when you ring to get a quote, you can also use State Farm’s online portal.

Best for customer support – MetLife

MetLife

Ideal for individuals that prefer guidance from knowledgeable agents.

J.D. Power Score
N/A
AM Best Rating
A+
BBB Rating
A-
SimpleScore
2.25 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
MetLife
2.25
  • Discounts
    2
  • Coverage Options
    3
  • Customer Satisfaction
    N/A
  • Support
    2
  • Accessibility
    2
MetLife wins the category for best customer support because of its phone and email support representatives. The insurer doesn’t provide an online quoting tool or as many online features as you’d find with other companies — you’ll need to contact the company directly. But the representatives are prompt and knowledgeable enough to make up for the lack of online implementation. You also might have a higher chance of scoring discounts by talking to a representative. There are some employers and organizations that qualify you for a discount.

MetLife is ideal for renters who own many high-value items, such as artwork, jewelry, collectibles or home electronics. You can add riders between $5,000 and $15,000 to cover any losses to your higher-ticket items.

Full review

Our Two Cents — MetLife doesn’t do online. Yeah, seriously. But, its representatives are so helpful that you’ll walk away glad you called.

Best for military members and families – USAA

USAA

The best renters coverage for military members and their families.

J.D. Power Score
5/5
AM Best Rating
A++
BBB Rating
B+
SimpleScore
3.8 / 5.0
close
SimpleScore
USAA
3.8
  • Discounts
    2
  • Coverage Options
    5
  • Customer Satisfaction
    5
  • Support
    3
  • Accessibility
    4
USAA is a one-stop-shop financial company founded for military members. It provides banking, insurance, loans, retirement, real estate and investment services.

Besides the standard insurance coverages, USAA includes earthquake and flood coverage in the basic policy. Your belongings are also covered during a move, whether you’re packing, driving or storing it. It also includes identity theft coverage up to $5,000 and coverage for military uniforms. USAA provides plenty of value, but if you’re not in the military or related to someone who is, then you’re out of luck.

Full review

Our Two Cents — USAA is a top-tier insurer to serve those who serve the country, but anyone else is out of luck.

How to choose the best renters insurance for you

  1. Start shopping around for quotes. It’s really easy to head to an insurer’s website and fill out some simple information about your dwelling to get a quote. Save those quotes and compare them, which ones offer the most coverage at an affordable price?
  2. Check out discounts. The more discounts you can get, the better. Find out which renters insurance policies offer discounts that you can easily attain. If you have a security system in place already, an insurer might give you an extra discount for that.
  3. Filing a claim. How easy is it to file a claim with the insurer? If you’re expected to jump through hoops just to get a check to cover damages, then it might not be best to choose that insurer. Some policies have easy mobile app access that can make filing a claim simple — that’s probably what you need during high-stress disasters and situations.
  4. Coverage. To ensure that your property is insured, make sure that the coverage that the insurer offers can protect all of your belongings, especially the ones that are particularly important to you. Your plates and silverware may not be important, but your prized guitar, gaming computer or family heirlooms are.

How renters insurance works

Renters insurance is pretty simple. You should start by creating a home inventory of everything you own and might want coverage for. Then determine the value of that collection and how much coverage you might need. Insurers will use that to build a policy with the right amount of coverage. After you’ve decided on a policy, you’ll pay a monthly or yearly premium for that coverage. If anything happens to your belongings or home, you’ll file a claim and (hopefully) be reimbursed to replace the damaged or stolen items.

Some of the specific incidents that renters insurance will cover include: fire and lightning, windstorm, explosions, riots, damage by vehicle (not your own), smoke, vandalism, theft, volcanic eruption and falling objects.

Types of rental insurance coverage

All of the best insurance carriers provide access to four types of basic coverage:

  • Personal property coverage: This covers the items in your dwelling like your clothes, computer, appliances and furniture
  • Liability coverage: Liability insurance covers you for the cost of lawsuits and your defense if you or someone in your household is involved in an accident or incident that harms others or causes property damage
  • Medical payments to others: This covers a guest’s medical costs if they’re injured while visiting you in your home
  • Additional living expenses/loss of use: This pays for your expenses to live elsewhere if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril or loss

There are additional coverage options to add like pet insurance, flood insurance, earthquake protection, identity theft and luxury items coverage that vary by insurer.

What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance protects your valuables and any damages to your rented home that would be your responsibility (and not the landlords.) Often, your landlord’s home insurance policy doesn’t include coverage for your personal property. It may cover the building and its grounds, but it won’t replace your vinyl collection if your neighbor’s pipes burst and flood your living room.

Is renters insurance worth it?

For some people, it may be required by your landlord. If not, you’ll have to weigh the risks and your personal priorities. Renters insurance could be a good idea if you have a lot of valuables in your home you’d like to protect or live in an area more at risk for theft, fire or natural disasters. If your home is suddenly unlivable (like from flooding or a fire) and you don’t have anyone to stay with, some renters insurance policies will reimburse those displaced living expenses. Renters insurance is usually pretty affordable too, which makes the investment less daunting and the policy more valuable.

Like with most types of insurance, it’s a betting game on the likelihood that something will happen — you either pay into insurance monthly on the chance you experience a theft or disaster large enough to warrant a claim for reimbursement, or you risk having to replace things out of pocket. If you have an emergency fund saved up, it might be a better financial decision to use that than pay monthly for insurance.

Average cost of renters insurance

The average cost of renters insurance is $180 a year across the nation, according to the Insurance Information Institute. When you think about the amount of coverage you get with it — like personal property protection and liability — it’s cheap insurance compared to other types. For example, homeowners insurance costs an average of $1,211 a year, auto insurance has an average cost of $944 a year and life insurance runs about $841 a year.

Though you may want to own a home one day, you can at least take comfort in the fact that you’re saving, on average, about $1,031 in insurance by renting. Depending on where you live, those savings could be even more.

What’s not covered by renters insurance?

Your roommate’s belongings is not covered by renters insurance. Even though they live in the same dwelling, if something happened to both your things (like a fire or theft), only yours would be covered by your policy.

Most of the time flood and earthquake damage is not covered in the standard policy. There are often add-on options that might be a good idea if you live in a high-risk area. Furthermore, infestations by pests, rodents or bugs are viewed as a maintenance issue by your provider and won’t be covered by insurance.

What is actual cash value vs. replacement cost?

There are two types of reimbursement plans for your insurance policy.

  • Actual cash value: With this type of policy, your possessions are covered but not at the cost you purchased them. Depreciation is taken into account, meaning your property’s age and condition are considered when determining the amount your provider will give you. Actual cash value can save you money month-to-month. It’s also a good option if the items you want to insure are relatively new because they will not have depreciated that much.
  • Replacement cost: With this option, it doesn’t matter how old the item is or what its condition was at the time it was damaged. The cost to replace your item is paid to you in full. This type of coverage is a great option if you have a lot of aged, yet valuable property. The downside is that a replacement cost policy is more expensive than an actual cash value policy.

If you don’t have that many high-value items, an actual cash value would probably suffice, but review your policy limits before deciding. Estimate what it would cost to replace everything you own in the event of a catastrophic event. If partial coverage would leave you with a lot of out of pocket expenses, it may be worth choosing replacement cost.

What impacts rental insurance premiums?

A few things will influence your specific insurance premium. The amount of coverage is the biggest factor. The premium is basically a direct translation of the level of coverage you’ll be insured for.

The way you customize your policy can tweak your annual premium too. Repayment types for example — actual cash value will be a cheaper choice while replacement cost will lead to a higher premium. The deductible you choose changes the premium too. A higher deductible (the out of pocket responsibility before an insurance payout) will mean a lower premium and vice versa.

Location can also be a factor, as higher crime rates or natural disaster zones will raise policy costs.

Renters insurance FAQs

Does renters insurance require an inspection?

No, renters insurance doesn’t require an inspection. This is because renters insurance doesn’t protect the apartment or house you’re renting but instead protects your personal belongings. It also covers the medical costs and legal fees if someone is injured in your home or by a pet.

Does my landlord’s insurance cover my property?

Your belongings are not covered by your landlord’s insurance. A landlord’s coverage only insures the building’s structure and not the items inside.

What happens if I move to a new place?

If you’re moving to a new place in the same state, you most likely just need to update the address on your policy account. However, if you’re moving out of state, you may need to take out a new policy per that state’s regulation. Either way, it’s relatively painless to update your information and renters insurance when you move.

Too long, didn’t read?

As far as insurance goes, renters insurance is one of the cheapest policies you can buy. It’ll help protect your belongings in the face of theft, damage or disaster. Each insurer has its own pros and cons that will cater to different individuals. The best renters insurance for you will depend on your coverage needs, priorities and individual circumstances.

Keep reading

Methodology

The SimpleScore is our proprietary scoring metric to compare products and services at The Simple Dollar in a transparent, evidence-based way. Our editorial team identifies five quantifiable aspects to compare for every brand, determines the rating criteria for each aspect score, then averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore. For renters insurance, we compared coverage options, discounts, customer satisfaction, support and accessibility for every major provider. Our ratings are meant to be a directional tool to help you in the process of choosing renters insurance. Be sure to continue your research and shop around for the best renters insurance that fits your specific needs.

Last updated July 9, 2020 – Added new information about the renters insurance purchasing process.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the renters insurance companies we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

COVID mask

The impact of COVID-19 on your renters insurance.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many insurance companies provided relief in the form of percentages back on monthly bills as well as a freeze on coverage cancellations due to inability to pay. While it’s not recommended, you could technically stop your coverage to save money if absolutely needed — but again, it’s strongly advised against.

Furthermore, many landlords have also agreed to delay or reduce rent in order to allow their tenants to find their financial footing during economic shutdowns. Reach out to your insurance company and landlord if you’re having trouble paying — it’s very likely that they will be willing to work with you to find a solution.

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Danika Miller
Danika Miller
Personal Finance Reporter

Danika Miller is a writer at The Simple Dollar. Her work can be found on Reviews.com, Freshome.com, Her Campus, and Jeopardy Magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in creative and technical writing from Western Washington University.

Reviewed by

  • Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in insurance, personal finance, and loans. Previously, she wrote and edited for Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, Ballantyne Magazine, Thread Magazine, The Post, ACRN, The New Political, Columbus Alive and the Institute for International Journalism.