Best, cheapest renters insurance in California | Roost
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Best, cheapest renters insurance for California

From Yreka to San Diego, there are a lot of great options for renters insurance in California. But no matter what part of the Golden State you call home, choosing the best, cheapest renters insurance can be a challenge if you don’t really know what criteria is most important (like affordable rates, quality customer service, and good policy features.) Not to worry—we went ahead and did it for you. Read on!

Comparing popular renters insurance companies in California

Roost ratingMin policy cost/mo ($10K pers. property & $500 deductible)Ave. policy cost/mo ($20K pers. property & $500 deductible)Online quoting experience (1 – 5) 5 being the bestCustomer service rating (Trustpilot)App rating
LemonadeBest$60$14052.64.5
Allstate*OK178*$25721.63
FarmersMeh$237$31623.64.7
American Family^Meh$188^$243^32.84.5
Assurant (Geico)Meh$195$31043.94.7
State FarmOk$155$24341.84.6
ProgressiveOk$129$16111.64.2
*Allstate will not let you get personal property coverage for less than $15,000^ American Family does not allow you to individualize your renters insurance coverage in Oregon by changing the amounts for personal property coverage, deductibles, or liability. We were forced to get quotes for $15,000 and $25,000 with $300,000 liability and $1000 deductible.

How we evaluated renters insurance companies in California

Affordability 

We looked at costs from company to company using a minimum personal property coverage of $10,000, a $500 deductible, and $100,000 liability coverage, and then increased the personal property coverage amount to $30,000, a $500 deductible, and $100,000 liability coverage.

Quality of coverage

Next, we rated the quality of the coverage options for the price that different renters insurance companies offer in California. 

Customer service

Do they make it easy for you to contact them? Do they offer 24/7 chat? Are local agents available if you want to visit an office? How quickly do they respond to claims? Look at their FAQs and customer service offerings to see if they offer the kind of service you are looking for.

If you have two or three companies on your shortlist, call each one and reach out to them using the chat service—your experiences will likely clearly reveal which company you’ll want to work with.

Online quoting experience

We rated the online quoting experience by the overall ease of use. We like websites that offer customizable options because it allows you to experiment with different coverage levels to see how it would affect your renters insurance premium quote. The only renters insurance company to ask for our social security number was Progressive. 

App store rating

We looked up the app store ratings for android and Apple products to give you an idea of what other renters think of each renters insurance company’s app, their coverage, and customer service.

Roost methodology for choosing California’s best and cheapest renters insurance 

We used the online quoting systems of the renters insurance companies that we compared to get quotes for renters insurance premiums. We got quotes for $10,000* and $30,000 of personal property coverage with a $500 deductible and $100,000 liability coverage. 

We got quotes for renters in their mid-twenties, living in apartment complexes in urban areas, no roommates or spouses, no pets, and no special coverages like earthquake or flood insurance. 

To ensure avocado to avocado comparisons we reviewed policies across similar coverage levels, online quoting experience, app experience, and customer service ratings in California.

How much renters insurance do I need in California? 

If you are a Californian college student you can probably get away with $15,000 in personal property coverage. If you’re living in the dorms you may still be covered under your parent’s insurance so be sure to check with them. 

When you’re just starting out on your own, it may not always make sense to pay for a lot of renters insurance. Consider how much stuff you have and if you’d actually want to replace it if it disappeared or got damaged. You may just want to consider liability coverage in that case because that protects you from expensive law suits.

If you do decide to move forward, figure out how much coverage is right for you by adding up the retail price of everything you own (plan on adding another 25% to that number to cover everything you may have forgotten.) If it only adds up to a few thousand dollars perhaps renters insurance doesn’t make sense right now.

Another approach is to contact a couple of the renters insurance companies in California and ask them what type of coverage customers like you tend to buy. While they may try to sell you more than what you need, be really direct about what you want to understand and the info you need to make a good decision.

If you want coverage but can’t afford much read our article, Cheap renters insurance.

Get $5/mo rent insurance

Which areas of California are the least expensive for renters insurance? 

We found that small coastal towns like Grover and Pismo Beach had the cheapest renters insurance with Oakland and Los Angeles were, unsurprisingly, the most expensive areas to buy renters insurance in California.

Here are some average renters insurance rates for you to compare prices.

Personal property coverage $20,000/$500 deductible, Liability coverage $100,000*
Los Angeles 90046$291
Oakland 94603$293
Pismo Beach 93449$153
San Diego 92101$178
Redding 96049$196
Sacramento 94205$243
*Rates shown are the annual premium from insurance.com

How can I save on renters insurance in California? 

There are a lot of great ways you can save money on renters insurance in California. Here is a list of some ideas:

  • Maintain a good credit score
  • Don’t buy more renters insurance than you need
  • Bundle your renters insurance with other insurance like your auto insurance
  • Pay your renters insurance for the entire year

We’ve got more great ideas for how you can save money on your renters insurance in California here.

What is renters insurance?

Like most places, renters insurance in California is made up of three basic parts—personal property insurance, renters liability insurance, and additional living expenses insurance. Depending on your budget you may choose to only go with renters liability insurance, or you could get personal property and liability, or all three. It depends on how much insurance you need, where you live, and what your landlord may require as a part of your move-in.

Personal property insurance

Personal property typically covers things such as electronics, furniture, appliances, clothes, etc. You may think you don’t have much stuff, but if you look at a list of some basic items you might be surprised at how fast things add up.

  • Couch $550
  • Shoes, surfboards, etc. $500+
  • Chair $115
  • TV stand and storage $525
  • Bed $249
  • iPad Pro $799
  • Mattress and Box Spring $950
  • Dresser $225
  • Jeans/Dress Pants $45 a pair, minimum $225 total
  • T-shirts $20, 5 of them $100
  • Blender, Coffee maker, cookware, dishes, etc. $600
  • Miscellaneous consumables $200

By our math, you’re already looking at thousands of dollars worth of stuff, and that doesn’t take into account things like your TV, sports equipment, etc. In fact, the average two-bedroom apartment contains just $30,000 worth of stuff. (While you may not want to necessarily cover all of your belongings, it helps to know how much it would cost to replace them!) 

And did you know that while you’re out on the town in L.A. that your stuff is protected if you are one of the 151,000 victims of theft from cars that takes place in California every year? Totally sweet!

Renters liability insurance

Renters liability insurance includes protection from lawsuits and medical bills related to incidents that you may be responsible for. 

It covers things such as:

  • Structural property damage to your apartment caused by you.
  • Accidental damage caused to your neighbor’s apartment.
  • Accidental injuries.
  • Injuries caused by your pet.

Accidental living expenses insurance

If your apartment is no longer inhabitable this type of insurance will pay for living expenses while you are waiting for it to be repaired or you find a new place to live.

Renters insurance FAQs for California

1. Is renters insurance expensive in California?

Renters insurance premiums in California are pretty average compared to the rest of the United States, ranking 21 out of all 50 states. Annual renters insurance premiums in California, for a two-bedroom apartment, ranged from approximately $150 a year to over $300 a year depending on where you live.

2. What is the average cost of renters insurance in California? 

The average price of renters insurance in California is $195 a year (just over $16 a month). Shop and compare prices. You can find some policies that start at just $5 a month with companies like Lemonade.

3. My landlord offers renters insurance in California. Should I take it? 

Landlord-offered renters insurance policies in California may only cover damage to their property which means none of your stuff is covered. Read the policy carefully. For more info on what to look for, read our article on What does a landlord tenant liability policy cover to understand whether or not this is a good option for you.

4. Does my roommate need renters insurance in California? 

Yes, if your lease requires anyone living at your apartment to have renters insurance. If your roommate is your spouse or a relative, then they may already be covered under your renters insurance policy in California. 

5. Is renters insurance worth it in California? 

Only you can decide if renters insurance is worth it. Weigh the probability of theft and damage in your area. If you have a lot to lose, then the answer is probably yes. 

6. Can my landlord require me to have renters insurance in California?

Yes, your landlord can require you to have renters insurance in California. As long as your landlord has made this a requirement of living on their property in your lease they have the right to require that you have renters insurance.

A quick note! Our goal is to gather and share info that’s up-to-date and helps you make great decisions as a renter. That said, the information you get directly from a provider could be a little different. Make sure to review their terms and conditions directly; and, if you see anything here that needs to be updated, please let us know! Advertising disclosure
Last Updated: May 24th, 2022