California Renter's Insurance

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California Renter’s Insurance

June 25, 2024

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Purchasing a renter’s insurance policy is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to protect yourself and your belongings while renting your home. A typical policy costs only $10 to $20 per month and can save you much more should unexpected damage or liability occur. 

But despite its affordability and practicality, only about half (55%) of U.S. renters currently have renter’s insurance, most of whom must have a policy per their landlord’s requirements. 

We’ve prepared this article to help you understand why you need renters insurance and how to obtain a policy in this state—from cost and coverage to additional policies you may need.  

What is Renter’s Insurance? 

Renter’s insurance is insurance that covers specific types of losses suffered by renters during their occupation of a rental property. A typical renter’s insurance policy covers personal property, liability protection, and additional living expenses. Renter’s insurance often kicks in after damage from natural disasters, accidents, or other incidents.  

An important note: Renter’s insurance does not cover the actual building itself. The physical building you live in should be covered by your landlord’s insurance. Renters insurance helps protect you and the belongings you own within the property that may be damaged or stolen. 

Why Do I Need Renter’s Insurance? 

Everyone who rents their home—whether that be a single-family home, studio apartment, mobile home, townhome, condo, or other type of property— should have a renter’s insurance policy. This is because even though you don’t own the physical building you are renting, the items you keep within it (or even in your car, or elsewhere) could still be damaged or stolen. 

For example, imagine that a fire occurred in your apartment complex. Your landlord’s insurance would cover the damage to the actual building, appliances, and building systems. However, your landlord is not responsible for replacing all your lost clothes, furniture, electronics, and other belongings. That’s what renter’s insurance is for.  

Renters insurance policies can also cover medical or legal expenses if you are sued. For example, your renter’s insurance would apply if someone gets injured in your home and you are responsible for their medical bills. 

An average renter’s insurance policy includes $20,000 – $30,000 of personal property coverage and doesn’t cost you more than a $20 bill each month. It’s a small price to pay for the great financial security renters insurance offers. 

What Does Renters Insurance Cover? 

Renter’s insurance has three main categories of coverage. 

  • Personal Property: Personal property refers to any belongings like clothes, furniture, electronics, etc. Your personal property is subject to limits and requires a deductible. However, your insurance will reimburse you should your personal property get damaged by disasters such as the following:  
    • Fire and smoke 
    • Storms, lightening, wind, hail 
    • Theft 
    • Vandalism 
    • Explosions 
    • Winter weather damage 
    • Damage from infrastructure tearing, cracking, burning, etc. 
    • Sudden, accidental damage from electric currents 
  • Liability: Liability coverage pays for your medical or legal bills should you be responsible for an injury on the property or damage to the property itself. 
  • Loss of Use/Living Expenses: Loss of use insurance kicks in if the property you rent becomes uninhabitable due to damage or repairs. It pays for your hotel bills and even certain food expenses while you wait for repairs to be completed. 

There are a few disasters renter’s insurance doesn’t cover, like flooding. It’s important to read your renter’s insurance policy to understand what is and isn’t included. If you need coverage that isn’t included, you can purchase add-on policies, such as water backup coverage, theft extension coverage, scheduled valuables coverage, or earthquake and volcano coverage. 

California Renters Insurance 

Renters insurance in California protects you and your belongings from a range of perils. In California, there are more than 500 active faults where earthquakes are very likely to occur, and many lie near major California cities. Homes in California are also susceptible to damage from other weather events. It is important to obtain financial protection for your belongings in case your home and personal property suffer damage from any of these disasters. 

How Much Does Renters Insurance California Cost? 

Many renters worry about the renters insurance cost. Fortunately, California renters insurance rates are highly affordable. The average premium for renters insurance in California is $182, or about $15 per month. California renters insurance rates are slightly higher than the national average of $12 per month, but only by a few dollars. Cheap renters insurance policies will have higher deductibles, while more expensive policies will have lower deductibles. However, almost all policies are relatively inexpensive and well worth the small investment to secure protection for yourself and your belongings. 

What Are the Most Common California Renters Insurance Claims? 

The most common claims for renters insurance in California include damage from coastline natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes. Mudslides are also common in California but may not be included in a basic policy depending on your insurance coverage. Damage to your personal property due to structural issues, heavy rain, or other storms can also be reimbursed via a renters insurance claim. 

What Additional Policies Do I Need in California? 

Renters in California also need earthquake insurance. Over 70% of Californians live within 30 miles of an active fault. Southern California alone has over 10,000 earthquakes every year—and while most of these are small, several hundred each year have a magnitude above 3.0.  

Earthquakes can cause major damage to properties, leaving many renters without homes during repairs in addition to destroying personal belongings. Since earthquake insurance is not included in a typical California renters insurance policy, renters need to purchase a separate policy. You can purchase earthquake insurance via the California Earthquake Authority. 

Flood insurance may also be necessary for California renters, especially those in southern counties. Flood events in the past have occurred most often in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Fresno, and Sonoma Counties, among others. Like earthquake insurance, flood insurance is also excluded in most renter’s insurance policies, so California renters will need a separate policy. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) helps homeowners and renters obtain flood insurance. 

How to Get Renters Insurance in California 

Most major insurance providers offer renter’s insurance, often bundled with auto insurance for a lower price. Other renters insurance discounts might be available depending on your current insurance policies. To determine your policy and coverage details, your insurer will typically ask you a few questions about the rental unit (such as the type of building, year it was built, and address) and the dollar value or replacement cost of high-value personal belongings you own. You’ll be able to work with the renters insurance company to tailor your policy and coverage details to your needs. 

Get Renters Insurance in California with Innago 

Innago offers renter’s insurance through our partnership with Assurant. If you’re a renter, regardless of whether your landlord uses Innago, you can purchase a policy and get protection for you and your personal belongings. You can get quick and affordable renters insurance quotes, customize your coverage, and add an additional person onto your policy at no extra cost. 

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