What Should My California Renters Insurance Cover?

african american couple high fiving while moving into new apartment with boxes

Your stuff. That’s the quick ‘n’ easy answer as to what you should expect your renters insurance policy to cover. 

But that’s only part of the story. Your policy goes farther than that. 

Let’s first look at what California renters insurance actually is and why you need it. Then we’ll go more in-depth into what you can expect from your renters insurance policy. 

Why Do I Need California Renters Insurance in the First Place? 

Mainly, your California renters insurance provides financial protection in the event of a loss. 

Imagine you have a $300,000 mortgage, and your home burns to the ground in a California wildfire. It’s suddenly worth zero, but the company that financed your purchase still wants your house payment — all $300,000 plus interest. This is why it’s important to have a home insurance policy. 

But you don’t own a home. You’re a renter. So why do you need insurance? Your place belongs to your landlord. Bad luck for them if a fire takes it down. 

Yes, your landlord owns the roof, the walls, floors, ceilings, electrical system, water pipes, and…well, everything that makes up the infrastructure of the place. But you own your clothing, furniture, art, collectibles, electronic devices, and…well, your stuff. Just about everything you moved into your apartment, condo, rental house or have stored in a “rented” storage unit. 

If your personal possessions get damaged by smoke, torched in flames, water damaged from strong winds, stolen, or vandalized, how would you go about finding the money to replace it all? 

Sure, if the damage is from a careless smoker in another unit or the results of sprinklers being disabled, or because the lock on your door never worked properly, you can sue someone. Or try. And in several months or years, you might even get a settlement to your satisfaction. Maybe. 

But what if you are self-employed, work from home and all of your electronics — your computers and printers and smartphone — are damaged, destroyed, or stolen? Do you have the money to replace all of your expensive gear in a matter of days to avoid costly downtime? Or can you wait months or years for that settlement check? 

With renters insurance, all you need to do is make an insurance claim immediately, and you’ll quickly be compensated. 

So What’s Covered by Renters Insurance? 

Basically, everything you own up to the limits you set. Your renters insurance policy will cover you from the damages inflicted on you by natural disasters, fire or flooding, theft or vandalism, or other causes of damage or loss. 

You’ve got a few coverage options to discuss with your insurance agent. The first is the financial limit you want to place on your coverage. The higher the coverage level, the more your policy will cost — but the more financial protection it will provide. 

You’ll also determine your deductible. That’s the amount of money you’re responsible for before your policy pays the rest. If you sustain $2,000 in damage from flooding caused by a broken water pipe and you have a $500 deductible, the insurance company will only kick in the last $1,500. The higher your deductible, the more you’ll assume financially if a covered event occurs, but your premiums will be cheaper. 

The final financial issue affecting the cost of your California renters insurance policy has to do with buying an actual cost policy versus one that covers the replacement cost. Your insurance agent can discuss the details, but know that an actual cost plan settles for what your covered item is worth today. A replacement cost plan pays what it would cost to replace the same item today. 

If your computer is six years old and you have an actual cost policy, you’d get the price of a six-year-old version of that make and model — a used computer, in other words. If you had a replacement cost policy, you’d get the cost to buy a new computer of that same make and model. 

A replacement renters insurance policy will cost more than an actual cost policy. 

renters insurance policy with pen

What Else Will My California Renters Insurance Cover? 

In addition to your stolen, vandalized, damaged, or destroyed personal possessions, your renters insurance will protect you from liability lawsuits people might file against you. Let’s say your child leaves a roller skate on a staircase, and a visitor trips and falls and ends up with broken bones and an ambulance ride. Later, you hear from their lawyers. 

Even if this person is a close friend, they might be forced to sue you if they don’t have the money to pay for medical bills and lost work time. Fortunately, your renters insurance policy will pay your legal costs to the policy limits. 

Another added benefit to a renters policy is the coverage will pay for the cost of relocating to temporary housing if your rented space is damaged and you’re displaced while your landlord repairs your place. Temporary housing in California can be quite expensive, so it’s a cost you don’t want to assume if you don’t have to — especially if you’re displaced for a long time. Even your restaurant bills may be submitted if you do not have access to a working kitchen. 

Final Note: Your California Renters Insurance Can Also Get You a Good Apartment 

In addition to all of the direct benefits you can get with affordable renters insurance coverage, the simple reality is that many California landlords require renters insurance for a lease. So a renters insurance policy, in effect, gives you the apartment you want. 

Let’s go back to that scenario where you run a business from your home, and most of your digital equipment is stolen. Now see it from your landlord’s point of view. If you don’t have renters insurance, you’re basically out of business until you can replace the lost equipment. If that’s the case, can you afford to pay next month’s rent? That’s why landlords care so much about tenants having California renters insurance. 

Find Cheap California Renters Insurance 

At Cost-U-Less, our agents are skilled at helping renters find an affordable renters insurance policy to protect their finances. Call (800) 390-4071 or get a quick renters insurance quote online. You can also find a location close to you to meet with an agent who can help you find protective and very affordable California renters insurance.