Do I need renters insurance?

The question of whether or not you need renters insurance typically comes down to your lease agreement rather than a state mandate. No state requires renters insurance for tenants of homes or apartments, but some landlords may require it. Check your lease agreement to see if your landlord requires you to carry a policy. If not, the choice is up to you and how much you want to risk not having it.

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Is renters insurance required in the U.S.?

Unlike car insurance that varies from state to state, no state requires renters insurance — regardless of what kind of rental you have. The landlord must carry a special type of homeowners insurance that assumes risk for individuals living in the dwelling where the landlord does not reside.

However, just because the building is covered by another policy doesn't mean you'll want to skip renters insurance altogether. There are several instances when having a renters policy could come in handy, including:

  • Liability protection — if someone is injured while at your apartment and you're deemed liable for their injuries, your personal liability coverage can help cover the costs associated with their injuries, up to your policy's limit.
  • Personal property protection — if your apartment experiences a covered loss such as theft, vandalism, or fire, you could receive money to replace some of your stuff.
  • Additional living expenses — if your home is uninhabitable due to a fire, flooding, or another covered event, your renters policy could help pay for the additional expenses associated with living at a hotel, food, etc. while your apartment is being fixed.

Why does my landlord have renters insurance requirements?

Because a lease agreement is between you and the landlord, it can contain any number of stipulations they see fit. Requiring tenants to have a renters insurance policy is just one of the things landlords can require upon moving in.

Requiring tenants to have renters insurance is a good idea for both landlords and tenants in that:

  • Landlords requiring potential tenants to have a renters policy can be similar to a background check, giving landlords insight into how responsible the potential tenant is.
  • Renters looking to rent an apartment requiring renters insurance could view the requirement as some assurance that the landlord is invested in keeping their property nice and will be timely with repairs.

Do I need renters insurance before signing a lease?

If a landlord does require renters insurance, many will require proof within 30 days of moving in. They could, however, want to see proof of renters insurance from your current residence.

Also, keep in mind that not carrying a renters insurance policy when it's a requirement of your lease could result in a violation of your lease terms. That alone could allow your landlord to terminate your lease with written notice, which would require you to move out and find a new place.

Pro tip:

Renters and landlord rights vary from state to state, so it's best to check your state's laws before ever signing a lease agreement.

Why should I get renters insurance?

No one expects to fall victim of a home fire, theft, or vandalism, but you can be prepared in the event one thing is stolen from your apartment or you lose everything in a fire. Likewise, if your apartment suddenly becomes uninhabitable and you're forced to stay somewhere else while repairs are being made, you may be out of pocket a lot of extra money.

A good renters insurance policy from Progressive can help you in these situations with an average cost of less than $30 a month.* Learn more about what determines a renters insurance rate and how you may be able to lower it.

Protection for you and your stuff

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