Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.
With rental prices high, and many Americans unprepared to cover unexpected costs, the risk of unexpected rental costs is also high. Renter’s insurance is meant to counter that risk. Many landlords require renters to purchase this form of insurance, even though it’s not mandated by law.
Renter’s insurance costs about $15 to $30 per month on average, according to an estimate from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The precise amount will vary by state and other factors, such as your credit score and housing.
Best renter's insurance companies compared 2024
|Renter's insurance company
|Average annual cost
According to Liberty Mutual, “You can get a Liberty Mutual renters insurance policy for as little as $5 a month.” The company would not give an average annual cost figure.
What’s included in coverage
Fewest reported headaches filing a claim
Least vague policy offerings
Chubb declined to give a national average. It said $6 buys $1,000 of annual coverage (50 cents/month): Thus, coverage for $100,000 costs $600 per year ($50 a month).
National Student Services, Inc.
Off-campus college life
Our recommendations for best renter's insurance
Renter’s insurance is relatively straightforward. What you need to consider is the type of coverage you need, the terms of contracts on offer, any requirements your landlord may have, and other factors.
Best for speedy processes: Lemonade, Inc.
Founded in 2015, Lemonade is a registered B corporation based in New York. The company uses artificial intelligence and behavioral science to deliver quicker, more transparent insurance. Lemonade markets itself as an affordable insurance option, and the majority of its customers are under 35 years old.
Our take: Lemonade has been praised by users for having a fast and relatively painless claims process, probably thanks to its reliance on algorithms. However, you can’t get it nationwide: Renter's insurance from the company is currently available in 28 states and the District of Columbia, which means, of course, that it isn’t available in 22 states.
Best for online discounts: Liberty Mutual
One of the world’s largest property insurers, Liberty Mutual operates in 29 countries and economies across the globe. It offers several options for renter’s insurance.
Our take: Liberty Mutual has a good mix of coverage and extra options. It also offers an online purchase discount of 10% for customized renter’s insurance.
Best for what’s included in coverage: Erie Insurance Group
Founded almost a century ago, the Pennsylvania-based Fortune 500 company Erie Insurance is one of the bigger names in renter’s insurance. The company ranked the highest for satisfaction with property insurance claims experience in 2023 based on J.D. Power’s consumer satisfaction ranking system.
Our take: In its “Xtra Protection Features” category, Erie includes coverage in its standard insurance for some items that would normally require extra insurance, such as theft of jewelry or unauthorized use of your credit card. Erie also offers discounts for factors such as installing a sprinkler system and age. However, it has limited availability.
Best for fewest headaches for consumers: Amica Insurance
Claiming to be the oldest mutual insurer of automobiles in the United States, Amica insurance also offers renter’s insurance. It tends to top lists of best insurers.
Our take: Amica offers fairly inclusive coverage at an affordable price. The company, like Erie, topped the J.D. Power consumer satisfaction list for consumers who have had to file claims with them. That said, it’s not available everywhere.
Best for bundling: State Farm
With almost 10% of the direct insurance premiums written in the United States in 2022, State Farm is one of the largest names in insurance. State Farm covers theft, loss of use, some weather damage, and accidents.
Our take: In this case bigger can be cheaper if you bundle. State Farm’s options have been noted for their bundling options, and their promotional materials promise up to 17% savings when bundling renter’s insurance with auto insurance. Under some circumstances bundling insurance can bring the total cost down. And unlike some of the other options on this list, which have limited coverage, State Farm is available all over the country.
Best for spelling out coverage: Chubb
Part of the S&P 500 index, Chubb is an international insurer with a presence in 54 countries and territories, including the U.S.
Our take: Chubb has a relatively inclusive coverage option, and its website does a good job in spelling out the scenarios for which it will pay out. Stalker response expense coverage is also included as an extra option.
Best for off-campus college renters: GradGuard
GradGuard’s College Renter’s Insurance aims specifically at losses that are likely to affect college students, such as theft and vandalism, and damage from fire and smoke, burst pipes and sprinkler-head discharges.
Our take: While colleges can make referrals for renter’s insurance, they don’t always. With no credit scoring and a low deductible, GradGuard presents a decent option for college students already facing student loan debt and other expenses.
Best for college dorms: Arthur J. Gallagher
Sometimes bundled as part of enrollment costs, dorm insurance covers college students. These forms of insurance offer very low deductibles, often less than $100, and are meant to cover college equipment such as laptops and books. Gallagher is one of the companies with a special focus on college students.
Our take: Arthur J. Gallagher has low deductibles, and its coverage includes theft, water, earthquake, vandalism, and accidental damage. The company enjoys an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, but it also has a high number of complaints.
There are many options out there, so how do you locate the “best” ones?
While all lists will differ, ours looked at a number of noted insurance providers and weighed the cost of the premiums against what’s covered in the policy, discounts, and consumer ratings concerning filing claims. We selected ones that stood out on one or more of those criteria.
The estimated annual cost figures are based on national averages listed publicly by the companies or provided by them to TIME Stamped.
Tips for comparing renter’s insurance
When shopping for renter’s insurance, price isn’t everything. You should scrutinize the terms of the contract and consider additional factors, such as how annoying the claims process will be.
Here are a few things to help you come to a decision.
- Take a home inventory, noting what you have and how much it’s worth, then consult any other coverage you have and your budget to decide what coverage you’ll need.
- Shop around and identify a couple of options available in your area.
- Take a look at the potential policy’s language. Does it cover what you need? How vague is it?
- Look up a company’s consumer ratings to see how much of a headache it was for people who filed a claim.
- See if you can get any discounts or bundle the insurance to make it as affordable as possible.
Are there alternatives to renter’s insurance?
Most people who purchase renter’s insurance are being forced to do so by their landlord as part of the rental contract. If that’s the case, short of moving somewhere it’s not required, it would take negotiation with your landlord to seek an alternative.
There are a number of things that a landlord could require in place of renter’s insurance. For example, there are “loss recovery funds” in which landlords make all tenants without renter’s insurance pool money into a fund, which then is used to cover losses. That’s a decision that has to be made by your landlord. Even this type of fund does not make the landlord legally responsible for your possessions. Should the money run out, you’d still have to pay to replace your things.
There’s also potential assistance available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if your losses were incurred by a natural disaster. You can apply for funds that can be used to pay for housing. FEMA also offers disaster loans, known as SBA-dependent “other needs” personal property assistance, for replacing “essential” personal property in some disaster-related cases. This can include child care, moving costs, funeral costs, and healthcare costs.
TIME Stamp: Renter’s insurance is prudent protection
Renter’s insurance offers protection for your possessions and your liability in the face of someone being injured on your property. It also can help pay the costs of relocating in the face of a disaster, such as a fire. Many landlords require you to have renter’s insurance. Even if yours doesn’t, having some form of it is undoubtedly prudent. Also relevant: what your possessions are worth, and how much risk you are willing to take on. The annual average cost runs anywhere between $180 and $360, depending on the terms of the agreement.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Which is the cheapest renter’s insurance company?
This is a bit difficult to answer, because not every company was willing to provide an average annual cost of its insurance. Based on Liberty Mutual’s claim that you can purchase renter’s insurance from it for as little as $5 a month, it would come in as cheapest at $60 a year. However, how much coverage you would get for that small a sum is unclear. In Chubb’s case, $60 a year would buy you $10,000 worth of coverage.
Lemonade, at an annual average cost of $168, is next in line. GradGuard is a bit cheaper, at $156 per year, but it is only for college students. Both are cheaper than the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ estimates of anywhere from $180 to $360 per year on average.
Do college students need renter’s insurance?
College students get renter’s insurance for the same reasons as other renters: to mitigate the risk of losing all their stuff in a tragic accident. Some products are designed specifically for college students.
What are the different renter’s insurance coverage types?
Almost all renter’s insurance options will cover your property and personal liability and will pay additional living expenses if your housing becomes uninhabitable. The contract terms will specify how much will be paid and whether extras, such as high-value items, are also covered.
The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.