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Renters Insurance 101

How Does Renters Insurance Work?

Your personal possessions turn the space you rent into a place that’s uniquely yours, and we think that’s worth protecting. As a renter, you may think you don’t have that many valuables, but if you start to count the cost of your belongings — from your TV, laptop, camera, clothes, furniture, etc. — the number adds up.

Think about this:

  • Your neighbor forgot to blow out a candle…
  • Someone broke in and stole your TV…
  • A friend gets hurt at your get together…
  • Your laptop is stolen while you’re working at a coffee shop…

Unfortunately, you’d be responsible for paying out of pocket for scenarios such as these.

The good news? You can be proactive about financially protecting yourself from the unexpected. Renters insurance is an easy and affordable way to protect your personal property, provide liability coverage and even has your back on the go.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about renters insurance.

How Much Is Renters Insurance?

Not as much as you think.

There are a number of factors that go into the cost of your coverage, so the price for renters insurance is going to be different for everyone — but a typical premium for renters insurance is usually less than the price of one dinner out with friends. The estimate of your possessions, your location and added on coverage are a few things taken into consideration when calculating the cost of renters insurance.

Looking to save more money? You can also bundle your renters insurance with other policies — such as your car insurance coverage. Check out our discounts for streamlining your coverage with an auto and renters bundle.

How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

Take a look at how much stuff you own. Typically, to see how much coverage you need, you’ll add up all of your belongings in your apartment and use that as an estimate to start.

You’ll want to make sure your coverage limit is enough to help cover the cost to replace your belongings should the unexpected happen. An agent will help factor in how your location affects the cost and also any added coverage you might want, like identity theft protection.

How Much Would it Cost to Replace All Your Stuff?

Enter how much your belongings are worth and we’ll help you estimate how much it’d cost to replace everything you own and how much it’d cost to cover it all with renters insurance.


How much jewelry do you own? Add up everything from watches and an engagement ring to antique jewelry and diamond earrings. Keep in mind, if the total value of your jewelry is more than the jewelry limit on your policy it’s a good idea to add additional coverage.


Add up what your electronics are worth. Think TVs, computers, gaming systems, stereos, guitar amps and more. Your renters insurance helps protect them from things like damage and theft — even when you're on the go!


From your winter jacket to your favorite pair of leather boots, the cost of all your clothes adds up to more than you think. How much would it cost to replace all the clothing in your closet if they were damaged from something like smoke or fire?


Whether it’s a hand-me-down futon or a leather couch you invested in, if the furniture in your home was damaged or destroyed, would you be able to replace it all out of pocket? Your bed set, dresser, couches, recliners, desk — how much would it cost to replace everything?

Other Assets

What else do you own? Consider things like a bicycle, appliances, artwork, record collection, books, musical instruments, collectibles — anything you’d want covered if it was damaged or destroyed by an unexpected event.

You would need to replace
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Renters in your state pay
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*The estimated monthly payment shown is an average of what renters pay in your area. Your actual premium will be based on your coverage limits.
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How Long Does it Take to Get Renters Insurance?

Moving in tomorrow? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Getting renters insurance is a simple process and most policies go into effect as soon as you hang up the phone with your agent.

To make the process smoother, evaluate your needs before connecting with an agent. Since renters insurance helps cover the cost of lost, stolen or damaged items, you’ll want to add up how much your total property costs. This way, in the event of a total loss, you’ll know how much it would cost to replace your belongings. 

Does Each Roommate Need Renters Insurance?

A renters insurance policy does not extend coverage to any of your roommates unless their names are specifically written in the policy. So, though it’s not recommended, sharing a renters insurance policy with your roommate is a possibility. We suggest getting your own customized policy to fit your needs, and since renters insurance is so affordable, it just makes sense to get your own coverage! Get the 411 on roommates and renters insurance.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Insurance can be confusing — we get that. We’ll walk you through what you need to know about how you’re covered. And, check out some real-life renters claims by American Family customers to see just how this affordable coverage can save you from some big financial expenses.

Does renters insurance cover theft? Yes! Renters insurance helps cover the cost to replace your belongings that were stolen, whether from your apartment or away from your apartment (you’ll learn more about coverage-on-the-go later).

Does renters insurance cover fire? Having renters insurance helps you recover from damages to your belongings that were caused by a fire, whether caused by you or a neighbor.

Does renters insurance cover smoke damage? If any of your belongings are ruined because of smoke damage — whether you burnt the lasagna or your neighbor left the pizza in the oven — they may be covered by renters insurance.

Does renters insurance cover water damage? Water damage has some stipulations, but for the most part, if your belongings are ruined from plumbing, heating or cooling systems*, you’ll be covered.

*You won’t be covered due to sewer back-up, septic back-up and sump pump overflow unless special coverage is purchased for this type of loss. Your agent can help you add on this coverage.

Does renters insurance cover mold? Yes, you may be covered for damages caused by mold or bacteria. Also, definitely make sure to tell your landlord if you see any mold in your apartment. It’s their responsibility for getting rid of the mold, but not their responsibility for paying any damage costs to your things caused by the mold.

Does renters insurance cover appliances? Another win for renters insurance — your electronics and appliances are protected from power surges, theft, fire damage and more.

To sum it up: renters insurance helps cover your personal property if damaged from smoke, lightning, windstorm, hail, explosion, vandalism, or riot, among the aforementioned scenarios.

But that’s not all. Renters insurance also includes liability coverage.

What is renters liability insurance? Liability coverage is a part of your renters policy that helps cover the costs due to accidental bodily injury and property damage of others. It also will help cover the cost of lawsuit expenses should something happen in your apartment.

What is medical expense coverage? Another facet of the liability coverage on your renters policy is that it helps cover medical expenses for guests injured in your rental unit. Say a guest breaks their leg by slipping on your freshly mopped floor — instead of using their own health insurance, they can submit their medical bills directly to your renters insurance company.

Keep in mind, this coverage won’t cover your own medical bills or anyone who lives with you — that’s why you have health insurance.

Can a Landlord Require Renters Insurance?

Though renters insurance is not required by law, your landlord can choose to make it a requirement by including a provision in the lease that requires you to have it. If you sign a lease that requires you to have renters insurance, then you are required to get it. Your landlord will require proof of insurance and in the event that you don’t have it as you agreed, they may be able to take action as provided in the lease, which could include a monetary penalty or even eviction.

And, the requirement of having renters insurance is something that you will want to know about before signing any lease, so be sure to read through the lease completely and ask your landlord questions about it before signing.

Keep in mind, having renters insurance benefits you just as much as your landlord — if not more! Find out more about why landlords require renters insurance.

Doesn’t My Landlord’s Insurance Cover My Things?

This is a common misconception many renters have. A landlord’s insurance usually only covers damage to the building — not any damage caused to your belongings. For example, if there is a fire, the landlord’s insurance covers the damage to the building caused by the fire, but any damage to your belongings caused by the fire is not their responsibility. That’s where your renters insurance steps in.

Another common scenario is water damage. If there is a water leak that ruins your favorite rug and damages the wood underneath it, your landlord will replace the wooden floor, but not the rug.

And, personal property isn’t the only thing not covered by your landlord. If your apartment catches fire & you damage surrounding apartments, your landlord could potentially seek legal action against you. Personal liability coverage, which is included within your renters policy, could help protect you against any damages resulting from legal action.

So, let’s clear up this snafu once and for all: it’s your landlord’s responsibility to protect the building, and it’s your responsibility to protect your personal property and damages you’re liable for — which is what renters insurance is for!

How Do I Transfer My Renters Insurance If I Move?

American Family Insurance offers a unique, streamlined location-change feature that is as simple as calling up your insurance agent to make the switch.

Basically, your coverage will follow you wherever you move, whether it be across town or across the country. Your price may change slightly depending on certain circumstances, but for the most part all you have to worry about is packing your boxes and your agent will do the rest of the work!

Take a look at our moving apartments checklist to transition to your new place with ease.

Do I Need Renters Insurance in College?

Laptop, textbooks, gaming system, clothes — your things add up to more than you may think. What if someone were to get injured in your apartment? Would you have enough to cover the cost if you were sued and found legally responsible for someone else’s injury?

Truth be told, when you’re a college student, you probably don’t have much money laying around to replace everything you own or especially to cover you in the event you were held liable for an accident.

Having renters insurance as a college student can give you peace of mind as you work on pursuing your dreams. Renters insurance can help cover the cost to replace possessions from theft, damage caused by fire or water, and you’ll even get liability coverage if someone were to get hurt in your dorm or apartment. Here are a few more reasons why you need renters insurance as a student.

Did we mention renters insurance is super affordable each month — often less than the price of a pizza? And if there’s anything a college student understands, it’s the word affordable (and pizza).

Are you a parent with a soon-to-be collegiate scholar? Take a look at why your student needs renters insurance.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Me When I’m Traveling?

Are you often traveling for work, family or fun? Having renters insurance is good for that, too!

Now you know that renters insurance helps cover the cost of your personal belongings and even helps you out if you’re held liable for an accident on your rental property, but here’s some exciting news: renters insurance also covers you when you’re away from your apartment or rental property. So, whether you’re working at a coffee shop or flying to the other side of the country, your renters insurance acts as an invisible shield around you and your possessions.

Keep in mind, there are limits to the coverage, especially if traveling outside of the country. Your agent can help you understand exactly how you’re being protected no matter how far from home your dreams take you. In the meantime, read more about renters coverage on the go.

You work hard for all of the things that make you uniquely you, so why wouldn’t you want to protect everything you own? Your American Family Insurance agent is ready to help you make sure all your coverage needs are met, your questions answered and any claims are handled quickly. Connect with yours to find customized renters insurance that helps you protect what matters most.

Still not convinced that you need renters insurance? Ask yourself these four questions to learn more.