Renters Insurance

Ask the Insurance Lady: Renters Insurance

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Renters Insurance Myth VS Reality:

My landlord has insurance, they will take care of me if something happens, right?

Landlord policies insure the structure, with no provision for tenant property.   If something happens making your home uninhabitable – like a fire or a water leak – they landlord’s policy will pay for their lost rent, but not for emergency housing for tenants. The only way to protect yourself as a renter is to have your own insurance policy.

I don’t own anything of value, so I don’t really need renters insurance.

Most people associate renter’s insurance with high value items like their computer, bicycle or jewelry, and they forget about the more mundane items like furniture, clothes, and even food. You have more stuff than you think, and what’s cool is that the insurance company will replace your old stuff with new stuff so there’s no depreciation like you have with car insurance.

I can’t afford Renters Insurance

Renters policies are VERY affordable, costing as little as 50 cents/day. If you have more stuff, you’ll pay a bit more.

Crazy statistic: Only 37% of renters have insurance compared to 95% of homeowners!

% of Insured Renters

% of Insured Homeowners

Why do so few renters buy insurance? For most renters, it’s because they just don’t think about it, think it's too expensive, or think their landlord covers them. It's also usually REQUIRED for homeowners, but it's optional for renters.

How to buy Renters Insurance

Let’s face it, insurance is not something that’s taught in school, and often not in families. With so many people in Oakland, Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area renting, we wanted to provide some essential information to consider when shopping for renter’s insurance.

Your stuff: this is the biggest part of the policy.

Think about the stuff you would want or need to replace. Essential items like furniture and food. Personal items like clothing, shoes and even grooming products.   The modern essentials – electronics and all the peripherals. Fun stuff like your bike, golf clubs, or other hobby gear. Fancy stuff like cameras, jewelry, musical instruments (some of these may need exta coverage)

If you can’t or wouldn’t replace it, don’t insure it. Things like photo albums, books you’ll never read again, old clothes. If it’s clutter, you might be keeping it for a future use, but it’s not necessary to insure.

Loss of use

This portion of your policy provides housing when your rented home is damaged and uninhabitable. Your landlord’s policy covers lost rent – you, on the other hand, will need to find a new place to rent.


If you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, you can be sued. Predicting these accidents is impossible because they are just that – accidents.   Liability insurance provides both the legal support (attorneys and claims adjustors) as well as much needed funds for settlement. The higher your salary and savings, the higher your liability limits.

The biggest mistake that people make with renters insurance is NOT purchasing a policy, and the second biggest mistake underestimating the need for insurance.

Here’s what’s cool – it doesn’t cost extra to get help in selecting coverages. Insurance agents don’t charge fees to their clients, instead they get paid by the companies they represent. If fact, be best ones will actually teach you how the policy works and help you be a more informed consumer.