California Renters Insurance

Experts break down renters insurance costs, coverages, companies, and more.

Exterior view of multifamily residential building in Berkeley, California. Find California renters insurance.

Whether you are renting an apartment in Hollywood or leasing a townhouse in the Bay Area, you can benefit from having a solid renters insurance policy. Unfortunately, many renters in California do not realize the value of having this coverage until it is too late.

If you are among the many tenants living in California, a local independent agent can help you find the best renters insurance policy. These agents can work with some of the area's most highly rated insurance providers to find the coverage you want at the most competitive price.

Contact an insurance agent near you to start comparing customized renters insurance quotes.

California Rental Statistics

  • California residents pay an average of $1,503 per month in rent.
  • Around 45.2% of all homes in California are occupied by renters.
  • An estimated 50.7% of all renters in this state spend more than 30% of their incomes on rent and utilities.

Are Renters in California Required to Have Insurance?

Renters insurance is not required by law.

There are times when landlords will require tenants to carry renters insurance as one of the terms of their lease. However, in most cases, this insurance is fully optional.

Because it is not required, many people believe it is not important. However, these policies can provide a lot of coverage at a very low price. This makes them well worth the money spent.

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost in California?

Renters insurance policies are surprisingly affordable. In California, the average renters insurance policy costs just $182 a year. That’s only $15 a month for the peace of mind a policy can afford you.

Factors that can make your actual cost higher or lower than this average amount include:

  • The value of your personal property and whether you are purchasing actual value or replacement cost coverage
  • The crime rate and weather risks where you live
  • Your claims history, credit score, and method of payment
  • Whether you are bundling your renters insurance with another policy like car insurance or life insurance

Comparing quotes from a few competing insurance companies lets you be sure that you are choosing a policy that is offered at a good price. Independent agents make comparison shopping easy.


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What Does California Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance protects you with three types of coverage:

  • Contents coverage: This covers repair or replacement costs if your personal property is lost or damaged due to a covered event. Covered risks include:
    • Property crimes
    • Accidental fires, whether they originated in your own home or in a neighboring unit
    • Wildfires (but not in all locations)
    • Severe weather events such as thunderstorms and lightning, windstorms, tornadoes, and hail
  • Renters liability coverage: This covers your financial obligations and legal representation if you unintentionally cause someone else to experience injuries, property damage, financial losses, or other harm.
  • Loss of use coverage: This covers your additional living expenses if a covered event renders your home unsafe for habitation and you must seek alternate living accommodations while your landlord makes repairs.

You may want to review your policy’s coverage limits every few years to make sure that they are keeping up with your lifestyle.

What about Coverage against Floods, Earthquakes, and Wildfires in California?

Be aware that renters insurance does not cover property damage caused by floods or earthquakes, and in some of the more vulnerable areas of California, your policy may also exclude coverage for wildfires. Read below to learn what you can do to protect your property.


Around 10% of all properties in California have a better than 26% chance of sustaining flood damage in the next 30 years, but renters insurance does not cover against flood damage.

If you are living in an upper-floor apartment, chances are good that you don’t need to worry about property damage caused by floods. However, if you are renting a house, mobile home, or ground-floor apartment in a flood-prone area, your property may be at risk.

In this case, you can supplement your renters insurance with an affordable, contents-only flood insurance policy. These policies are available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a program run by FEMA.


Many parts of California are at risk for sustaining earthquake damage. In most cases, the most significant damage will be to the structure of the building your apartment is located in. Unless the quake is a very large one, the damage to your personal property is likely to be minimal.

If you fear that a large earthquake might strike, you do have the option to purchase an earthquake insurance policy. However, these policies tend to be quite expensive and have very high deductibles. Because of this, they are typically not cost-effective for renters.


If your rental unit is in an area that has a high risk of sustaining wildfire damage, your insurance company may either offer the opportunity to add a wildfire rider to your policy or it will exclude this coverage altogether.

Fortunately, you can get wildfire insurance coverage through the California FAIR Plan. This insurance association, which is managed by the California Insurance Commission, offers wildfire coverage to high-risk homeowners and renters who are unable to purchase the coverage they need on the private market.

How Can an Independent Insurance Agent in California Help?

When you are shopping for renters insurance, a local independent agent can help. These agents can provide you with customized quotes from some of the best renters insurance companies in California so you can choose the policy that offers the coverage you want at the most affordable price.

There are hundreds of independent agents with offices throughout the state of California. These experienced professionals are available to assist you with all of your insurance coverage needs. Set up an obligation-free consultation with an insurance agent near you to get started.

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