Imagine coming home to find all of your possessions destroyed in a fire or other catastrophe. Your landlord’s insurance policy won’t help you; it covers only the building repairs, not your personal belongings. That’s why it pays to have the best renters insurance in place for your needs.
Dozens of insurers offer renters policies — so which one is right for you? NerdWallet evaluated some of the top renters insurance companies for financial strength, ease of filing and tracking a claim, coverage options, discounts and other factors. Below are the 15 companies that came out on top.
The best renters insurance companies
|Note: Not all insurers available in all states.|
|*USAA is available only to active military, veterans and their families.|
|**Jetty policies are available only to people living in Jetty's partner properties.|
More about the best renters insurance companies
In addition to the basics — such as liability and personal property coverage — Nationwide’s standard renters insurance policies include credit card coverage and building addition/alteration coverage for no extra cost. That means you’re covered for unauthorized charges on your credit and debit cards (up to your policy limit), and if your landlord lets you make improvements to your home, those are covered as well.
Nationwide offers a basic slate of discounts for consumers who are claim-free, have multiple Nationwide policies or have smoke detectors and other protective devices installed in their homes.
Nationwide receives fewer consumer complaints than expected for a company of its size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
» MORE: Nationwide insurance review
Travelers puts consumers first in a variety of ways. Its user-friendly website makes it easy to file and track claims online, learn about coverage options and get a quick quote. Travelers also gets fewer consumer complaints than expected for a company of its size, according to the NAIC.
The company offers discounts for renters who have multiple policies with Travelers or who have safety and security devices such as smoke alarms, internal sprinkler systems or smart home technology.
» MORE: Travelers insurance review
One of America’s largest insurance companies, State Farm offers just about every type of insurance, including renters.
If you want to talk through your options on the phone before purchasing a policy, you can consult with a local agent. If you’d rather get it all done online, you can get a quote, file and track a claim, pay bills and more on the State Farm website. Some of these tasks can be completed quickly without having to create an account.
State Farm doesn’t list many coverage or savings options on its site, but it does highlight discounts for combining your renters and auto insurance policies and for installing home safety devices such as burglar alarms and smoke detectors.
What sets Farmers apart from the pack are its low number of consumer complaints, relative to the company’s size, and its user-friendly website. You can easily get a quote online or find a nearby agent for more personalized service.
In addition to industry-standard discounts for purchasing multiple policies with the company and having safety and security devices, Farmers also offers lower rates for customers in certain professions, including doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers, firefighters and engineers.
Renters who haven’t smoked for at least two consecutive years can also save on premiums.
» MORE: Farmers insurance review
Offering renters insurance in every state except Alaska and Hawaii, Amica stands out for how few consumer complaints it receives relative to its size, according to the NAIC. It also has an easy-to-use website that allows consumers to get quotes, pay bills and file and track claims online at any time.
You can add extra coverage onto your renters policy for jewelry, electronics and other valuables, or sign up for replacement cost coverage so that if your belongings are damaged or stolen, you’ll receive enough to buy new ones rather than the amount they are now worth. Amica also offers fraud coverage for unauthorized use of your identity.
Discounts are available for consumers who pay their bills automatically, sign up for paperless billing, bundle car insurance with their renters policies, stay with their insurer for at least two years or go without filing a claim for at least three years.
» MORE: Amica insurance review
Despite its name, Auto-Owners offers more than just car insurance. Its renters policies can be upgraded with the Renters Plus package, which covers water backup of sewers and drains, waterbed liability and loss of refrigerated products (for example, if your power goes out and you have to toss spoiled food).
You can also upgrade to replacement cost coverage for your belongings — which means that if you have a 3-year-old laptop that’s stolen or damaged for a covered reason, Auto-Owners will pay out enough for you to buy a new one rather than a used one.
Auto-Owners has a generous selection of discounts for those who are claim-free, pay their premiums on time and opt for paperless billing, among others.
» MORE: Auto-Owners insurance review
MetLife is a reliable option for renters insurance, with a lower-than-expected rate of consumer complaints, according to the NAIC. Note that you’ll have to speak with a representative to get an estimate of what your policy will cost, as the company doesn’t offer online quotes.
Each MetLife renters insurance policy offers identity theft resolution services at no extra cost, including assistance with resolving issues such as falsely filed tax returns, bank accounts opened in your name, fraudulent credit card usage and email hacking.
Depending on your state, you may also be able to purchase extra coverage up to $15,000 for electronics, musical instruments, recreational or sports equipment and luxury items. This covers your valuables not only if they’re damaged or stolen but also if they break down or malfunction.
» MORE: MetLife insurance review
The Hartford targets senior renters through its partnership with AARP, though nonmembers can also get a policy through the company’s network of independent agents.
The Hartford offers a wide range of additional coverage options, including the ProtectorPLUS Zero Deductible Benefit, which is included at no extra cost and waives up to $5,000 of your deductible if you have a qualifying claim of $27,500 or more. Other potential add-ons include replacement cost coverage for personal belongings, extra coverage for valuables and identity fraud coverage up to $25,000.
One drawback: The Hartford has more consumer complaints than expected for a company of its size, according to the NAIC.
» MORE: The Hartford insurance review
Allstate is a particularly attractive pick for senior renters: Retirees age 55 and up can save up to 25% on their premium.
Allstate also offers discounts up to 20% for those who haven’t filed claims in a while, plus up to 5% savings for renters who elect to have their insurance payments automatically withdrawn from a bank account.
Beyond its generous discounts, Allstate is a good bet for renters thanks to its excellent mobile app. The app’s Digital Locker feature lets you take a quick inventory of all your personal belongings, which could be invaluable if you ever need to file a claim.
Lemonade is one of the newest and most innovative renters insurance companies. While other insurers might take weeks to resolve a claim, Lemonade says about 30% of its claims are paid out instantly once you’ve provided details in the company’s app.
Lemonade also adds value to its standard renters policies by offering replacement cost coverage for personal belongings rather than actual cash value, so you can afford to buy new replacements even for older items that are stolen or damaged.
Through its distinctive Giveback program, Lemonade takes a flat fee from each premium, uses the rest of the money to pay out claims and then donates any funds left at the end of the year to a charity of the policyholder’s choice.
Lemonade currently sells insurance in Washington, D.C., and the following 27 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
With a slightly lower than expected rate of consumer complaints according to the NAIC, American Family is a solid choice for renters insurance.
The company offers a range of discounts, including both common options (a discount for having car and renters insurance with American Family) and unique ones (a generational discount for renters ages 18 to 30 whose parents are also insured with American Family).
One coverage option worth noting is known as Diminishing Deductible. If you add this to your policy, you’ll get a $100 credit on your deductible on the first day of coverage and then see your deductible drop another $100 with each renewal (up to a maximum of $500). That means you’ll pay less out of pocket each time you file a claim.
» MORE: American Family insurance review
Assurant makes the list for providing standard coverage that many other companies charge extra for. One example: replacement cost coverage for your belongings, so you’ll receive enough to buy new items rather than used ones. Depending on where you live, Assurant also offers coverage for bedbug extermination, food spoilage due to power outages and additional living expenses if you need to evacuate during a flood.
For those seeking bare-bones coverage, Assurant has a liability-only policy available to renters living in its partner properties. It won’t cover your personal belongings, but it will pay out for legal expenses and lawsuits if your dog bites someone or a person on your lease causes property damage.
Erie shines when it comes to customer service, with fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size. You can add several extra coverage options to your Erie renters policy, including for valuable items such as jewelry or art and replacement cost value for your belongings.
The company currently sells policies in Washington, D.C., and these 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Note that Erie is a better bet for consumers who want an agent to talk them through their coverage options than those who prefer to do everything online; there’s currently no way to get a renters quote through the company’s website.
» MORE: Erie insurance review
USAA offers insurance (plus banking and investing products) for active military personnel, veterans and their families. NerdWallet doesn’t rank USAA alongside other insurers because it isn’t available to everyone.
Aside from its military focus, what sets USAA apart from other renters insurance companies is the fact that damage from floods and earthquakes is covered by its standard renters policy. Most other companies don’t offer this coverage unless you pay extra. This could offer significant value to renters who live in regions where floods or earthquakes are a risk.
The company receives fewer consumer complaints than expected for an insurer of its size, according to the NAIC.
» MORE: USAA insurance review
Insurance startup Jetty specializes in products for renters — not just insurance but also a lease guaranty service that can take the place of a guarantor or co-signer and a deposit alternative that you can pay instead of a more expensive cash deposit.
Unlike most renters insurance companies, which won’t cover bedbug infestations, Jetty includes a Bedbugs Power-Up in all its standard policies; the company will send you a $300 check to offset the removal cost if a pest control professional determines you have bedbugs. Its other Power-Ups cost extra but may be worth adding if you have expensive personal electronics or rent out your space on home-sharing sites like Airbnb.
There’s one catch: Jetty’s renters insurance is available only at select partner properties.
» MORE: Jetty renters insurance review
How to compare renters insurance
The average renters insurance cost is about $14 a month, depending on how much coverage you have and where you live — but price shouldn’t be the only factor you consider in a renters insurance comparison.
A standard renters insurance policy includes several types of coverage:
- Personal property coverage, which replaces your belongings if they’re stolen or damaged in a covered disaster.
- Liability coverage, which pays out if you’re sued and found liable for an injury to a guest in your home or damage you do to someone else’s property.
- Additional expenses coverage (sometimes called “loss of use”), which pays for hotel stays, restaurant meals or other relocation costs while your rental is being repaired after a covered disaster.
Make sure you enter the same limits for each type of coverage when shopping for renters insurance quotes in order to get a direct comparison.
Then take a look at each company’s optional coverages, which you can pay extra to add to your policy. Do you need more coverage for a pricey musical instrument, or would you like to add identity fraud protection? Each insurer has slightly different options, and some are even included in your base premium — so it’s worth shopping around.
Finally, consider the company’s website. Is it easy to find a phone number to chat with an agent if you need to? If you prefer doing everything online, can you get quotes, file and track claims, and pay bills through the company’s website or app? Checking out these options before you buy your policy can save you some hassle later.
Picking the best renters insurance policy: 5 common scenarios
Got a dog, a roommate or an engagement ring? These scenarios can determine what type of renters insurance you need.
You have a roommate
Some insurers let roommates share a renters insurance policy in states where it’s allowed. But just because you can share doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Before you sign a policy, have a frank discussion with your roommate about how to split insurance payments — especially if your roommate has a lot of stuff that could drive up the cost of the quote. Be sure you agree, too, on the type of renters insurance coverage you’ll get.
You’re on a tight budget
To reduce the policy cost, consider increasing your deductible, which is the amount deducted from your claim check for a property loss. But first ask yourself: How much could you pay out of pocket if your stuff were stolen or damaged?
To discover the most affordable options in your state or metro area, see the best cheap renters insurance.
You would want new items if your belongings were destroyed
Buy a renters insurance policy with “replacement cost” coverage. It typically costs a bit more than an “actual cash value” policy, but it pays to replace your possessions with similar new ones. Lost your TV in a fire? Replacement cost coverage pays for a brand-new one just like it.
You own expensive jewelry or electronics
You may think all your belongings are covered up to your personal property limit, but many renters insurance companies cap how much they’ll pay out for select valuable items such as jewelry or electronics, typically around $1,000 or $1,500 for each category. If you own multiple computers and smartphones or a pricey engagement ring, you might need extra coverage — often called a “floater” or “scheduled coverage” in industry parlance — to make sure these items are insured for their full value.
You have a dog
A lawsuit against you over a dog bite could ruin your finances for years. If you want coverage for this, make sure dog bites are included in the liability portion of your renters insurance policy and that the breed you own isn’t excluded.
Renters Insurance Ratings MethodologyNerdWallet’s renters insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints, coverage options, discounts, online experience and more. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
Methodology: Insurer complaintsNerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2016-2018. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.
To recap our selections…
NerdWallet’s best renters insurance companies of 2020
- State Farm
- The Hartford
- American Family