Renting instead of buying a home or apartment has a lot of advantages, like flexibility and fewer responsibilities than homeownership. But it’s still important to protect everything you have in the house in case of theft, fire, or other disastrous events. For people who own their homes, these things are covered by homeowners insurance. And for renters, there’s—you guessed it—renters insurance. Is it worth paying for this type of coverage if you rent your home? Here are some things to consider to decide if renters insurance is right for you.

What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance provides protection for your personal belongings and offers liability coverage in case someone is injured while on the property. Renters insurance policies are typically affordable, and they offer valuable coverage for the cost.

Reasons you might need renters insurance

1. Protecting your stuff

One of the main reasons to get insurance is to safeguard your personal possessions. Your landlord’s insurance typically won’t cover your belongings in the event of theft, fire, or other adverse events that are covered in your plan.

2. Liability coverage

Renters insurance includes liability coverage. If someone is injured on your rental property, your policy can help cover their medical expenses and legal fees if you’re found liable. (Many policies include things like dog bites, though some companies exclude certain breeds from coverage, so you’ll want to look closely at that if you have a dog.) 

3. Temporary housing

If your rental home becomes uninhabitable as the result of a covered incident like a fire, renters insurance can provide coverage for temporary living expenses like hotel bills, food, and transportation.

4. Personal property coverage off-premises

Renters insurance often covers your belongings even when they are not in your rental unit. For example, if your laptop is stolen while you’re traveling, your policy may help replace it.

5. Additional living expenses

If you are forced to move out temporarily due to a covered incident, renters insurance can often help cover the costs of relocating to and renting a temporary residence.

6. Legal protection

Renters insurance can help cover legal expenses if you are sued for personal injury or property damage resulting from incidents within your rented home.

Is renters insurance right for you?

Determining if you need renter’s insurance depends on several factors:

1. Required by your lease

Check your lease agreement—some landlords or property management companies may require you to have renters insurance as a condition of the lease.

2. Value of your belongings

Consider the total value of your possessions. If you have valuable items like electronics, jewelry, or high-end furniture, renter’s insurance can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that they’re covered.

3. Where you live

Your rental home’s location is something to consider. If you live in an area where natural disasters, theft, or vandalism are common, renters insurance becomes even more important.

4. Your budget

Renters insurance is usually pretty affordable, with monthly premiums often ranging from $15 to $30. Take a look at your budget to see if this cost will work for you.

5. Your savings

If you have significant savings and can comfortably replace your belongings or handle liability claims, you may not need renters insurance.

6. Peace of mind

Consider your risk tolerance. Renters insurance provides peace of mind, since you know your belongings and financial well-being are protected if something unexpected happens.

How to get renter’s insurance

1. Assess your needs

Calculate the value of your possessions and what it would cost to replace them, to determine the coverage amount you need. Be sure to consider any specific items of high value that might require additional or dedicated coverage. Things like extraordinarily expensive jewelry may need its own policy. Likewise, if you have an e-bike, that’s often not covered by insurance (since it’s considered a powered vehicle).

2. Shop around

Get quotes from multiple insurance companies. Rates can vary, so it’s important to compare costs and coverage options.

3. Make sure you understand the details of the policy

Carefully review the terms and conditions of the policy, including coverage limits, deductibles, and any additional coverage options.

4. Bundle with other policies

If you already have auto insurance or other insurance policies, check with your current provider to see if they offer renter’s insurance. Bundling can often lead to discounts.

5. Choose the right deductible

The deductible is the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. Consider how much you can afford in case of a claim and choose a deductible that aligns with your budget. (A higher deductible means you’ll pay a lower monthly premium but more out of pocket if you make a claim, while a lower deductible means you’ll pay a higher monthly premium but less out of pocket if you make a claim.)

6. Check reviews

Look for reviews or testimonials about the insurance provider’s customer service and claims process to ensure they are reliable and will provide good service,

The bottom line: is renters insurance right for you?

While renters insurance isn’t legally required in most places, it can provide valuable protection for your belongings, offer liability coverage, and give you peace of mind in unexpected situations. To decide whether it’s worthwhile for you, look at whether your lease requires it, and consider your budget, location, and the value of the things you own.