Renters Insurance California: Guide to the best policy

Your California Renter’s Insurance Guide is here! Read on to find out how to get the best rental insurance in California, what will be covered, if the cheapest quote is best and more!

What Do Renters Need to Know?

Did you know around 7 million Californians rent dwellings at any given time? That’s quite a bit of rentals – but California’s no small state! With mountain, beachfront and even desert climates, California’s got a little something for everyone.

Over the past year, record fewer people are moving to California than ever before. The price of actually owning a home is fairly hard to handle for a median-income family, especially in Southern California and the Bay Area. How much you pay in rent depends on where you go in the state, and how much renter’s insurance you’ll need in California depends on where you live and what type of dwelling you rent.

In southern California, rent reached an average of $1,469 per year as of July 2019, which is generally higher than the national average rent based on the most recent census.

A fraction of renters buy household units, with purchases diminishing at roughly around 1.15% since last year. In Southern California, even a few-room bungalow rents around Venice Beach can rent up to $5000 monthly! Bay Area rents are some of the most expensive in the United States, ranging up to $3k for a one-bedroom in even moderately desirable areas.

Of course, California’s rural areas are much cheaper, diminishing that average rent number by a great deal. However, you cut it, from the Redlands to Tahoe to San Diego, California is home to some of the most beautiful desirable real estate in the United States.

Is Renters Insurance Required in California?

Although state law does not require it, there are a number of reasons to make sure you get renter’s insurance in California.

In the vast majority of cases, signing a lease requires renter’s insurance. This is because your landlord does not want to be responsible for the loss of your property, and you don’t want to be responsible for any damage caused to the structure

What does it cover?

Aside from personal property, rental insurance covers a variety of unavoidable natural disasters you might find in certain parts of California.

As you may know, there are wildfires and earthquakes in California pretty frequently. Even a mild earthquake can cause major damage to your possessions, especially as shaking or falling items fall off walls and break, damaging household items under them.

Additionally, California wildfires can be devastating. Even celebrities aren’t safe from the smoke – last year’s damaging wildfires swept across Malibu, destroying notable decades-old celebrity homes and costing lives.

With heavy rains and earthquakes come mudslides, weakening the land under them as they rage. Landslides can completely devastate homes or dwellings. Because anyone moving to or residing in California knows the risks, it’s best to take natural disasters seriously and be prepared. A great way to be prepared for an earthquake or California natural disaster renters coverage is to make sure your most precious belongings are insured!

Average Renters Insurance Premium in California?

When you receive your insurance quote, you’ll very likely be given a six-month term premium that is broken down into a monthly payment. Generally, taking a look across all the available policies in California, the cheapest plan is Farmer’s, averaging in at about $158, and Nationwide has the highest six-month premium at about $351.

Keep in mind a variety of factors influence the actual cost of your insurance, and we’ll go into this more below. Much of what you’ll pay depends heavily on the amount of coverage you’d like.

How Much Coverage Should I Get?

Our minimum recommended coverage amounts are as follows:

Personal Property: $20000

TVs, couches, bedding, and those family heirlooms you can never get back – these things have value! When you fill out your policy information, you’ll declare some of your larger priced and even irreplaceable items to your agent, and they’ll be able to help you determine if $20,000 is sufficient. This is the baseline we usually work with for people in looking for renter’s insurance in California and other states.

Liability; Medical Payments to others: $100k

The liability portion of insurance covers structural damage or other damage to the property. This is SUPER important to have, because you don’t want to be liable to pay for someone’s house if, let’s say, you cause a flood in the house that completely destroys everything. This Is the ‘meat and potatoes’ of any renter’s insurance plan, land it gives the landlord peace of mind that their property will be taken care of even in a time of tragedy while you’re living there.

This part of the policy also covers medical liability. Especially in a state like California, where natural disasters can result in significant injury, it’s important to have some kind of liability medical payment. This ensures that if someone is injured in your home, and you are found legally responsible for their medical bills, you’ll be covered.

Loss of Use: $1000

Because you won’t be able to use your home In the case of disaster or repair, loss of use can be a big help. If for any reason you can’t cook or use your home, you’ll need to pay for things like hotel fees, dining out and potentially even transportation or other similar fees you didn’t have before the repair started. For this reason, having some additional funds to use for living expenses because you’ve “lost the use” of your home can be really helpful.

How Expensive is Renter’s Insurance in California?

Based on our calculations, you should expect to pay anywhere from $50-350 a month. Several factors determine what you’ll pay for your premiums, including:

  • Where in California you live;
  • Whether or not there is a business on the premises – a business holding cash could be robbed and will attract more foot traffic, so it only makes sense that premiums are higher with a business on the premises;
  • Are there pets on the premises, especially dogs? Dogs could bite people and could damage property. It’s always good to disclose any type of pet.

Have you filed a claim for renter’s insurance previously, or had insurance canceled due to non-payment?
What is the construction type of your dwelling, and what year was it built? Obviously older dwellings come with more potential for problems, so this matters.

What fire protection district are you in? This helps assess the possibility of the fire company reaching you in the event of a fire disaster.

Based on the information above, you may find your premiums or deductibles increase. Our average deductible based on the above is right around $500 for all perils – meaning, if you’d like to file a claim, you’ll need to pay $500 before any release of funds. Also, make sure you talk to your agent about replacement cost value vs. actual cash value in your renters policy.

Am I eligible for discounts?

Discounts are possible – many insurance companies offer bundle discounts for renter’s if you currently have an auto or other policy with the company. Additionally, burglar alarms or other such security measures on-premises may lower the cost of premiums.

Get the Cheapest Renters Insurance Quotes California

If you’re looking for a rental insurance quote in the State of California, we can help! Insurance Geek searches dozens of carriers for the best possible quote and protection based on your situation. Let’s get you hooked up with renter’s insurance in California today!