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

      The best renters insurance companies for 2020

      CompaniesCompare Coverage OptionsAverage Monthly CostSimpleScore
      AllstateFlood insurance, personal umbrella, personal property, reimbursed living expenses, liability, identity theft, guest medical$154.2
      NationwideHigh-value items, theft extension, water backup, earthquake$203.8
      Liberty MutualPersonal property replacement, blanket jewelry, earthquake damageAs low as $54
      American FamilyIdentity theft, pet insurance, travel protection, home-based businessNot disclosed4.8
      State FarmAdditional liability, identity theft, earthquake damage, business property, incidentally businessNot disclosed4.2
      MetLifeIdentity theft, luxury itemsNot disclosed2.25
      USAAComputer coverage, valuable personal property,As low as $103.8

      Best for online tools – Allstate

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

      J.D. Power Rating
      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
      Customer Satisfaction 5

      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. 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.

      Best for extended coverages – Nationwide

      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.

      J.D. Power Rating
      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

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

      Best for discounts – Liberty Mutual

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

      J.D. Power Rating
      3/5
      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

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

      Best for competitive rates – American Family

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

      J.D. Power Rating
      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

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

      Best for policy management – State Farm

       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.

      J.D. Power Rating
      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’s online portal makes it simple to make changes to your policy and pay your bill electronically. 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.

      Best for customer support – Metlife

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

      J.D. Power Rating
      N/A
      AM Best Rating
      A+
      BBB Rating
      A-
      SimpleScore
      2.3 / 5.0
      close
      SimpleScore Metlife 2.3
      Discounts 2
      Coverage Options 3
      Customer Satisfaction N/A
      Support 2
      Accessibility 2

      Ideal for individuals that prefer guidance from knowledgeable agents. 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.

      Best for military members and families – USAA

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

      J.D. Power Rating
      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 the best renters coverage for military members and their families. 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.

      Compare the pros and cons of our top picks

      CarrierProsCons
      AllstateGood mobile and online experienceRates may be higher than other providers
      NationwideOffers wide range of coverage optionsCustomer satisfaction rankings are low
      Liberty MutualOffers a lot of discounts to keep rates lowCoverage doesn’t include water damage
      American FamilyGood discounts, wide array of coverageCoverage limited to 19 states
      State FarmNational coverage, great online/app experienceRates may be higher than other providers
      MetLifeStrong customer serviceNo online access available
      USAAHighly rated customer service
      Very low rates
      Only available to active and retired military members and their families

      What is renters insurance?

      Renters insurance protects your valuables and any damages to your rented home that would be your responsibility (and not the landlord’s.) 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. Renters insurance also pays to replace your belongings if they are stolen. In addition, renters insurance can pay the expenses of someone injured in your home and you are found responsible. Also, if you are unable to live in your home due to damages, renters insurance can help pay for a hotel stay.

      How renters insurance works

      Renters insurance protects your personal belongings from theft or damage during a burglary as well as damage incurred due to fire, water or other unforeseen events. To purchase a renters insurance policy, 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. Renter insurance companies will use that information along with your personal information — name, address, birthdate, number of people living in the home, date you want coverage to start — to build a policy with the right amount of renters insurance 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 renters insurance 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.

      [ Read: Where to Find Financial Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic ]

      Find the Best Renters Insurance

      Save money on renters insurance with our simple comparison tool.

      Matching you with providers.
      We found results in
      Click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

        Types of rental insurance coverage

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

        • Personal property coverage: This renters insurance coverage protects the items in your dwelling like your clothes, computer, appliances and furniture
        • Liability coverage: Liability renters insurance coverage helps pay 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. It also pays for damages you cause to someone else’s property.
        • Medical payments to others: This renters insurance coverage pays a guest’s medical costs if they’re injured while visiting you in your home
        • Additional living expenses/loss of use: This renters insurance coverage 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.

        Renters insurance reimbursement forms

        What is actual cash value vs. replacement cost?

        When you shop for a renters insurance policy, your renter insurance company or agent will ask if you want an actual cash value or replacement cost policy. The answer to this question determines how much you will pay for your renters insurance policy as well as how you will be compensated in the event you file a renters insurance claim for losses related to your personal belongings. It’s important to evaluate which option works best for you before purchasing your renters insurance policy. The key characteristics of these two types of reimbursement plans for your renters insurance policy are:

        • 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 on your renters insurance premium. 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.

        [ Read: Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units? ]

        How to choose the best renters insurance for you

        1. Start shopping around for quotes. It’s really easy to head to the website of companies offering renters insurance coverage 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, a renters insurance company 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 renters insurance company. 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 renters insurance company offers coverage that will 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.

        What’s not covered by renters insurance?

        Your roommate’s belongings are 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.

        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.

        [ Read: How to Buy Cheap Renters Insurance Online ]

        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 renters insurance 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 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.

        Find the Best Renters Insurance

        Save money on renters insurance with our simple comparison tool.

        Matching you with providers.
        We found results in
        Click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

          How to file a renters insurance claim

          If you need to file a renters insurance claim, start by informing your landlord of why you need to file a claim and what the claim will cover. This is particularly important if your claim is related to fire, water or other damage that occurred to the building and affected your belongings. You most likely will need to get any related police or fire reports, repair documents, or other documentation from the landlord to supplement your claim.

          If your belongings were stolen or damaged during a break-in, you will need to file a police report. If your renters insurance claim is related to a guest’s injury, be sure to get their personal information, medical insurance information and copies of any medical reports and bills.

          Call your renter insurance company or agent, and notify them of your forthcoming claim. They may request additional information you will need to file with your claim. They also can tell you how long you have to file a claim. Once you have all of your documentation in order, you can file your claim in person at the agent’s office, online on the renter insurance company website, by phone or using the renter insurance company’s app.

          Compile a list of all belongings that were damaged or stolen and need to be replaced. Taking photos of damaged belongings also are helpful when filing your renters insurance claim.

          Renters insurance FAQs

          No, renters insurance doesn’t require an inspection. This is because rental 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.

          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.

          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.

          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.

          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.

          Methodology

          SimpleScore

          The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.
          For every review, our editorial team:

          • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
          • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
          • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore™

          Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our renters insurance reviews. You can also review more detail on our Simplescore renter insurance methodology.

          Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

          To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

          However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare State Farm’s home insurance according to our criteria for the best home insurance, it scores a 3.8 out of 5. But when we compare State Farm according to the criteria for the best auto insurance, it scores higher, since the features the company offers can vary by the type of insurance.

          Discounts

          We awarded higher scores to insurance providers with more discounts available on their website.

          Coverage Options

          We gave providers with more renter insurance coverage options a higher score because they’re more likely to have a policy that best meets your needs.

          Support

          We awarded higher scores to renters insurance providers with the most channels for customer support.

          Customer Satisfaction

          We leveraged the J.D. Power Home Insurance Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each insurance provider. (If a provider wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

          Accessibility

          We awarded higher scores to insurance providers that have more online and mobile features to easily manage your policy and claims.

          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
            Courtney Mihocik

            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.