8 Best Renters Insurance Companies in California of 2023

Find out the best renters insurance companies in CA. Compare rates, deductions and policies from top providers to find the right coverage for you.

As the most populated state in the U.S. with several major cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento, California has a sizable number of renters--many of whom don't have adequate renters insurance.

However, renters have plenty of reasons to buy renters insurance in California.

Besides getting coverage for potential theft or damage, renters insurance can reimburse you if your possessions are destroyed or damaged in a fire--even wildfires, which Californians need to consider.

No law requires renters to purchase a policy, but it's definitely the smart option.

According to PropertyNest research, the average basic renters insurance policy in California is $18.86 per month or $226.32 a year.

PropertyNest researched and reviewed dozens of California's top insurance companies to find the best coverage, technology, claims service, pricing, and discounts.

This guide to renters insurance coverage in California will also help you figure out how renters insurance can benefit you and what to expect from your policy.

Compare the coverage and cost of the best renters insurance providers in California picked by PropertyNest editors:

Compare Renters Insurance in CA

The Best Renters Insurance Companies in California

  • Lemonade – Best Policy for Instant Quote
  • Allstate – Best Policy for Making Claims Easy
  • Liberty Mutual – Best Policy for Discounts
  • State Farm – Best Policy for Cheapest Rate
  • GEICO – Best Policy for Cheapest Earthquake Coverage
  • Assurant – Best Policy Overall
  • Progressive – Best for Single Deductible
  • Amica Mutual – Best Policy for Coverages

Lemonade: Best Policy for Instant Quote

Lemonade renters insurance CA
Editors star rating review
Editor's Rating (4.5 Stars out of 5)

Lemonade is a popular renters insurance provider known for its charitable giveback program, simple app and solid online experience, and quality coverage. 

Lemonade is the leader when it comes to getting a quote. Cleanly designed and easy to use, you can get an instant quote right on the homepage without having to repeatedly click on links.

Lemonade is also known for its affordable premiums.

Lemonade offers a number of different plans meet your needs, starting at only $5 per month.

We determined from Lemonade’s site that they charge $12 a month for a standard renters insurance policy.

Another upside is that Lemonade offers an earthquake endorsement, unlike some insurers for only an additional $4.75 per month.

Read a full Lemonade home renters insurance review.

Lemonade Renters Insurance Discounts

Lemonade has a few discounts available for new policyholders.

  • Bundling discount: Save up to 4% when you bundle pet or auto insurance policies with your renters policy.
  • Protective device discount: Get additional percentages off for having a smoke detector and/or burglar alarm installed in your unit.

Lemonade Renters Insurance Pros & Cons

  • Fast premium quote.
  • Handles 30% of claims instantly.
  • Flat fee on monthly premiums.
  • Donates unused insurance money to charities.
  • A company built for online use only.
  • No live agents to speak to.
  • Few discounts to lower premiums.
How is Lemonade Renters Insurance Rated?
J.D. Power (out of 1,000)853
NAIC Complaint Index1.94

Allstate: Best Policy for Making Claims Easy

Allstate renters insurance CA
Editors star rating review
Editor's Rating (5 Stars out of 5)

Although Allstate is a national insurance company, it has that small mom-and-pop feel because it’s easy to talk to local agents who know your area or neighborhood.

You can always call your local agent to get a quote or to ask questions about your policy.

Besides its affordable rates, $17 to $20 per month (although the upper limit is on the high side), Allstate is known for its many ways to file a claim.

And similar to Lemonade, Allstate allows you to get an instant quote and purchase a policy on its website in under 10 minutes without talking to a customer service rep.

Allstate coverage is also customizable, allowing you to choose whether you want replacement cost value (RCV) or actual cash value (ACV) personal property protection and whether you want extra protection for other items in your home.

And if you have to vacate your rental due to a fire that burns down your unit, you can stay in comparable lodging, with no limit on the loss of use, which is a unique California renters insurance policy feature provided by Allstate

Additionally, the insurer’s many customer discounts offer steep savings, which can bring your premium down significantly.

The major drawback is that Allstate does not offer an earthquake endorsement.

Read a full Allstate renters insurance review.

Allstate Renters Insurance Discounts

Allstate gives renters opportunities to save with these discounts.

  • Bundling discount: Save money when you add your renters policy to another one like auto.
  • 55 and retired discount: You can get off a whopping 25% off your premium if you are no longer working and not seeking work and age 55 or over.
  • Auto-Pay discount: Schedule automatic monthly payments and get another discount.

Allstate Renters Insurance Pros & Cons

  • An umbrella policy provides liability protection beyond the limits of standard policies.
  • Has tool to help calculate the value of personal belongings.
  • Provides additional coverage for valuables like jewelry and musical instruments.
  • Choose between RCV or ACV for personal property coverage.
  • No optional earthquake endorsement.
  • Not explicit about what events count as covered losses.
  • Coverage amounts for personal belongings, loss of use, liability, and medical expenses vary by state.
  • Adding RCV coverage is pricey.
How is Allstate Renters Insurance Rated?
J.D. Power (out of 1,000)837
A.M. Best - Financial Strength RatingA+
NAIC Complaint Index2.05

Liberty Mutual: Best Policy for Discounts

Liberty Mutual renters insurance CA
Editors star rating review
Editor's Rating (4.5 Stars out of 5)

Liberty Mutual is best known for its comprehensive coverage, ability to cover high-end valuables like jewelry using an add-on, easy claims processing, cheap rates, and comprehensive earthquake coverage.

Liberty’s earthquake coverage is one of the best around.

For California residents that live in areas susceptible to earthquakes, this optional coverage protects you in the event of an earthquake.

Coverage includes damage caused by aftershocks up to 360 hours after the initial earthquake.

Note that this coverage requires a separate deductible.

The bad news is that while Liberty Mutual covers the entire state of California, their earthquake coverage does not. You must live in an eligible area.

But the number of Liberty’s discounts and their accessibility are hard to beat. For example, you can qualify for a discount simply by purchasing your policy online as well as signing up for automatic payments, just to name two easy ways.

Read a full Liberty Mutual home insurance review.

Liberty Mutual Renters Insurance Discounts

Liberty Mutual offers a generous number of discount opportunities.

  • Claims-free discount: If you haven't filed a claim with your previous insurer for five years or more, you qualify for a discount.
  • Early quote discount: If you get a quote from Liberty Mutual before your previous policy expires, you'll save when you sign up.
  • Bundling discount: You can save when you bundle multiple policies.
  • Auto-pay discount: Save money when you enroll in auto-pay with your bank account.
  • Online purchase discount: Automatically save when you purchase your policy online.

Liberty Mutual Renters Insurance Pros & Cons

  • Easy online claims filing.
  • With its online claims process and mobile app, you can “chat” with the insurer almost exclusively without needing to call a representative.
  • Great for those who want to connect with a local agent.
  • Customer service available on weekends.
  • People looking for multiple lines of insurance coverage.
  • Tuition insurance included, which covers illnesses, unexpected accidents, and mental health conditions like mood disorders and anxiety issues.
  • Earthquake coverage not available in all areas of California.
  • Limited extra coverages.
  • Replacement cost for personal property is an add-on at an additional cost.
  • Theft coverage available, but it will increase your premium.
  • Mold damage caused by flood not covered.
  • Flood insurance available.
How is Liberty Mutual Renters Insurance Rated?
J.D. Power (out of 1,000)834
A.M. Best - Financial Strength RatingA
NAIC Complaint Index2.37

State Farm: Best Policy for Cheapest Rate

State Farm renters insurance CA
Editors star rating review
Editor's Rating (4.5 Stars out of 5)

State Farm is one of America's best and most well-known insurance companies.

This is due in large part to having inexpensive premiums for renters insurance policies.

In California, your State Farm renters insurance premium can be as low as $12 a month with $30,000 in personal property coverage and the standard $100,000 in liability coverage.

This means that State Farm has the cheapest rate compared to other insurers we looked at.

But check with your landlord for liability coverage before you buy the policy; some landlords require renters to have a specific minimum for liability.

While State Farm provides coverage for your belongings as other insurers do, you can get personalized renters insurance that fits your needs.

Importantly, State Farm offers earthquake coverage at an added cost.

The policy covers some of the losses and damage that earthquakes can cause to your belongings.

Read a full State Farm renters insurance review.

State Farm Renters Insurance Discounts

  • Bundling discount: Save money when you hold more than one policy with State Farm.
  • Protective device discount: A discount is applied if your home has a smoke detector, burglar alarm, fire alarm, or other home monitoring system.

State Farm Renters Insurance Pros & Cons

  • Inexpensive premiums; the lowest in the industry.
  • Claims-free history and home alert features discounts.
  • Online quote tool connects you with a local agent.
  • Save by bundling your coverage.
  • Received the highest possible rating by AM Best.
  • Doesn’t cover every disaster.
  • Doesn't offer coverage for less than $10,000 of property.
  • Fails to list different coverages and savings on its site.
  • Add-ons can be costly.
  • Can’t lower premium by much due to only two discounts.
  • Doesn't offer 24/7 customer service.
How is State Farm Renters Insurance Rated?
J.D. Power (out of 1,000)836
A.M. Best - Financial Strength RatingA++
NAIC Complaint Index1.77

GEICO: Best Policy for Cheapest Earthquake Coverage

GEICO Renters Insurance CA
Editors star rating review
Editor's Rating (4 Stars out of 5)

GEICO has a user-friendly app and website.

You can even estimate the value of your personal items and learn if there are any discounts you can take advantage of to lower your premium.

GEICO’s app and online experience are similar to its competitors, although GEICO does them one better by allowing customers to get in contact directly with a local agent.

But for California residents, GEICO’s earthquake endorsement stands out.

Earthquake insurance for renters is the safest way to protect your belongings and cover the cost of living somewhere else, like a hotel if your rental is damaged and needs repairs after an earthquake.

GEICO has one of the cheapest earthquake policies in the US, at only $2 per month.

With a standard policy that costs just $17 per month, you’re looking at paying only $19 per month.

GEICO Renters Insurance Discounts

GEICO's renters insurance only has one available discount.

  • Bundling discount: Get a discount when you bundle renters with a GEICO auto policy.

GEICO Renters Insurance Pros & Cons

  • Has one of the cheapest earthquake policies.
  • Earthquake insurance covers loss of use.
  • Bundle GEICO auto insurance to get a discount.
  • $100 deductible option at reasonable rate.
  • Smartphone app connects users to local agents.
  • Low cost for paying in full.
  • Functions as an agency and doesn't underwrite its own renters policies.
  • Few discounts.
  • Making a claim through a third-party insurer can be confusing.
  • Known more for its auto insurance.
How is GEICO Renters Insurance Rated?
J.D. Power (out of 1,000)869
A.M. Best - Financial Strength RatingA++

Assurant: Best Policy Overall

Assurant Renters Insurance CA
Editors star rating review
Editor's Rating (4 Stars out of 5)

Assurant is best overall because of its affordable rates, cheap earthquake policies, compelling optional coverages, and noteworthy flood insurance endorsements.

Assurant offers renters a selection of lower deductibles of $100, $250, and $500.

Renters also win with Assurant’s basic renters insurance policy, which has a low monthly premium of only $13.

On top of that, Assurant offers earthquake protection for only $2 per month..

So, for both the basic renters policy and the earthquake add-on on top, you will only pay $15 per month.

This puts Assurant among the most affordable renters insurance companies in California.

Another important bonus for renters is that replacement cost coverage is automatically included at no extra cost.

Assurant is also one of the nation’s leading providers of flood insurance.

This is great for California residents who experience frequent flooding from storms and heavy weather.

Assurant has thirty years of experience when it comes to floods and flood damages, and it offers the most competitive rates for a flood policy add-on.

Assurant also offers a few unique optional coverages that are rarely seen in other insurers.

For example, with pet damage coverage, if your dog or cat damages your furniture, the coverage will pay to repair or replace it.

Another example is unemployment insurance. If you are unemployed for a month or more, this coverage pays part of your rent directly to your landlord.

Other add-on coverages include sewer backup coverage, smartphone care, and identity fraud coverage.

Assurant Renters Insurance Discounts

Assurant has one discount available for renters in California.

  • Lump payment discount: Save when you break up your premium into four payments. Save even more when you pay the whole year upfront.

Assurant Renters Insurance Pros & Cons

  • Helpful educational content in quote and signup tools.
  • Cheap earthquake coverage.
  • Low deductible choices.
  • Flood insurance pays for additional living expenses.
  • An add-on pays for damage from a backed-up drain or sewer.
  • Bedbug damage and food spoilage are included; this is rare coverage.
  • Replacement cost coverage is included.
  • Earthquake coverage only available in California and Washington State.
  • Only offers renters insurance; thus no bundling.
  • Lacks discount options.
  • High number of customer complaints.
  • Slow claim service response time.

Progressive: Best for Single Deductible

Progressive Renters Insurance CA
Editors star rating review
Editor's Rating (4 Stars out of 5)

Progressive teams up with third-party insurers to provide renters insurance.

It is well-known for the discounts it offers to policyholders.

One of its most notable discounts is a single deductible discount that can lower your premium.

If you bundle Progressive's renters insurance with its auto insurance you only need to pay a single deductible if you file a claim on both policies simultaneously for a covered event.

For example, if someone steals your car, which also incidentally contained your laptop or phone, this would apply to both your auto and renters policy; only one deductible would apply to this claim as opposed to two.

Read a full Progressive renters insurance review.

Progressive Renters Insurance Discounts

  • Paperless - Having all your policy information and news delivered to you electronically will grant you a discount.
  • Pay in Full - You save money in the long run if you pay your policy in full the second you sign on the dotted line.
  • The 3-Day Discount - Starting your policy at least three days after reviewing your quote gets you a discount.
  • Gated Community - If your rental is behind gates or has a security guard, you get a discount, but remember that you must drive by an active security guard or use a keypad or remote to enter your rental community.

Progressive Renters Insurance Pros & Cons

  • Many ways to reach customer service: policyholders can contact via phone, web, app, or online chat.
  • 24/7 customer service by phone.
  • HomeShield offers increased coverage for collections, watercraft, theft of firearms, and business property.
  • Additional coverage for computers and related equipment if you use them for your business and work from home.
  • You can get coverage for water damage from the backup of sewer or sump pump systems.
  • Doesn’t offer earthquake insurance, which can be a deal-breaker for California residents.
  • Can’t file a claim online, which means you must contact a service rep directly.
  • For those who are looking to save time by using the company’s website or app, the claims processing can be a disadvantage.
  • The mobile app caters to auto and other types of insurance, so you can’t use it to manage your renters policy.
  • Lacks multiple additional coverage options.
  • Down payment required with first month, making that period of coverage expensive.
  • Paperless discount only available if you do it while applying for a quote.
How is Progressive Renters Insurance Rated?
A.M. Best - Financial Strength RatingA+
NAIC Complaint Index1.66

Amica Mutual: Best Policy for Coverages

Amica Renters Insurance CA
Editors star rating review
Editor's Rating (4 Stars out of 5)

Amica Mutual is an ideal option for renters insurance because of its comprehensive coverage. Amica provides protection from perils such as fire and theft and additional coverage for personal property, including items like furniture and electronics.

Amica's liability coverage also safeguards you in cases of lawsuits or medical bills if there is an accident at your rental residence.

Amica is also recognized as one of the best insurers in the US.

Below are the most notable coverage options offered by Amica.

  • Earthquake Coverage - The insurer offers the best California earthquake insurance because it partners with the CEA (California Earthquake Authority). This is a good thing because CEA provides the majority of all earthquake coverage throughout the Golden State. Earthquake coverage protects your personal property from damage caused by seismic activity.
  • Sewage and Drain Backup Coverage - This coverage helps you repair water damage from overflowing drains and sewers, broken sump pumps, and damage that results from water moving from the ground up.
  • Identity Theft Protection - This add-on protects renters in the event of identity fraud and pays for the cost of restoring their identity.
  • Personal Property Replacement Coverage - This endorsement allows you to increase your policy limits for your personal belongings and ensure that they are covered under replacement cost, which will pay for property damage due to peril without depreciation.
  • Valuable Items - Valuable personal property coverage protects high-cost items such as vintage watches, jewelry, artwork, electronics, and furniture from theft, loss, or damage.
  • Platinum Choice Home Protection - Besides sewer and drain backup, this special coverage protects your credit cards if they are lost or stolen, computers or laptops if they are destroyed or stolen, and business property that you use at home, such as a printer or a fax line.
  • Flood Insurance Coverage

Read a full Amica renters insurance review.

Amica Mutual Renters Insurance Discounts

Amica, generally, has a number of discounts available for renters. You can find out if these discounts are available in your state by getting a quote.

  • Bundling discount: Get up to 15% off bundling your renters policy with their auto policy.
  • Loyal customer discount: Get a discount if you've been with one insurer for 2 years or more.
  • Claims-free discount: Be claims-free for at least three years and save.
  • Auto-pay discount: Qualify for a discount when you sign up for automatic discounts.
  • Paper-free discount: Save money when you opt to receive your bills and policy electronically.

Amica Mutual Renters Insurance Pros & Cons

  • Excellent customer service and claims handling.
  • Offers deductible as low as $100.
  • No limit on personal property coverage.
  • File a claim by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Coverage packages available for pets, special occasions, and retirement planning.
  • A good number of discounts are usually available.
  • Allows renters to save for a house in the future.
  • Doesn’t go into detail about which events you’re protected from under coverage.
  • Charges unexpected surcharges.
  • Need to pay extra for replacement cost coverage.
  • Not available nationwide.
How is Amica Renters Insurance Rated?
J.D. Power (out of 1,000)854
A.M. Best - Financial Strength RatingA+
NAIC Complaint Index0.32
Compare Renter Insurance Company Ratings
CompanyPropertyNest RatingJ.D. Power (out of 1,000)A.M Best RatingBBB Rating
Lemonade5.0853Not RatedB+
Liberty Mutual4.5834AA+
State Farm4.5836A++A+
Erie Insurance4.5851*A+A+
Jetty4.0Not RatedAA+

Is Renters Insurance Mandatory to Rent an Apartment in California?

In California, renters insurance is not mandatory in order to rent a property.

However, it is highly recommended that tenants purchase renters insurance due to the cost of repairing or replacing damage in a covered event, such as a fire, flood, or earthquake.

By protecting property from theft or damage and providing liability protection, renters insurance can offer renters significant peace of mind.

So while renters are not obligated to purchase renters insurance in California, they should strongly consider investing in a policy to ensure they have sufficient coverage when something unexpected occurs.

It should be noted that, unlike in some states, landlords in California can require tenants to purchase renters insurance while leasing their property.

How Does The Landlord Enforce Renters Insurance?

Some lease agreements include a clause in which the renter agrees to purchase a renters insurance policy.

This is partly done to protect the landlord from a lawsuit if damage to the property causes it to become uninhabitable.

It also protects the landlord from liability if an injury occurs on the premises.

In this clause, there is wording stating that the landlord’s insurance does not in any way cover a renter’s personal property if the property is damaged by a covered peril or stolen.

Also, when your lease contains this clause, you must have renters insurance at all times.

The clause can also help protect the landlord from missed rent payments if the renter their belongings due to a fire or other natural disaster occurring on the property.

To make sure you comply with the clause, your landlord may ask for proof of renters insurance each time you renew your lease.

They may also check if you have enough liability and personal property coverage.

If a renter can’t provide proof of coverage, the landlord may remind the renter that this is required and may pursue terminating the lease agreement.

What is the Average Cost of Renters Insurance in California?

Rates will vary depending on your preferred coverage limits and the value of your belongings and add-ons you select.

The average basic renters insurance policy in California costs $226.32 per year or $14.45 per month.

That's about the same as the national average cost per month.

This figure is based on having $15,000 in personal property coverage, $100,000 in liability coverage, and a $500 deductible.

What Factors Determine Your Policy Rates?

As you search for the best policy, keep these factors in mind that will increase or decrease your rate.


California is prone to earthquakes because of the many fault lines running through the state.

As such, California renters should purchase earthquake insurance, which will increase their rate.

A Home Not Up to Code

If your rental is old, dilapidated, not up to code, or far from a fire station or fire hydrant, your policy will cost more.

Long Rental History

If you’ve rented for a long time in various cities and have the experience of knowing what additional coverages you should get, your premium may be lowered.

Claims History

If you have never filed a claim with a past insurer and then sign up for a new renters policy, your new insurer will usually grant you a discount provided you don’t make a claim for a certain period specified by the insurer.


Your pet is usually covered under the liability portion of your renters insurance policy.

However, if your dog, for example, poses a high risk and has a history of biting people, it will in all likelihood, not be covered.

If your insurer doesn’t cover pets, you may need to buy a separate pet insurance policy to protect against damage caused by your pet.


Most insurance companies give you a multi-policy discount for bundling your renters insurance with other policies, like auto insurance and life insurance.

The multi-policy discount is one you should look for. It can substantially lower your rate. If you bundle, you can shave
as much as 15% with certain insurers.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

In California, the standard renters insurance policy covers liability, personal property theft or damage, medical treatment, and loss of use.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage protects you against lawsuits from someone who sustains bodily injuries or property damage that you or your family caused.

Liability coverage also pays for your legal defense.

Personal Property Coverage

This pays to repair or replace property that’s stolen or vandalized or that has been damaged due to fire, windstorms, smoke damage, and other perils your policy may cover.

Types of items covered items and their coverage limits include the following below.

Most Common Items Stolen in Home Burglaries
Cash or Other Forms of CurrencyBank notes, bullions, gold or silver (non-jewelry), coins, medals, smart cards, stored value cards.Most renters insurance policies will only cover up to $200 in stolen cash.
Electronic EquipmentPhones (iPhones, Androids, etc.), computers, laptops, iPads, earbuds, smart watches, TV sets, gaming systems, Alexa or Google home devices, etc.Standard renters insurance policies cover the loss or damage of electronic devices.
ClothingDesigner purse/handbags, shoes, jewelry, designer watchesStandard renters policies cover your personal clothing or designer handbags etc.
Power ToolsDrills & drivers, saws.Covered under the personal property coverage.
Kitchen appliancesRefrigerators, microwaves, blenders, electric mixers, ice makers, coffee machines, and other appliances.Renters insurance covers personal appliances if they are damaged, stolen, or destroyed by a covered peril.
Prescription drugsWill not cover stolen prescription drugs.
Personal informationBank accounts, identity information stolen from documents, or stolen personal equipment.Most companies do not include identity theft as a covered peril in a standard renters insurance policy.
FirearmsPistols, riflesLegal firearms are covered under personal property coverage.

Loss of Use

This policy covers basic living expenses and temporary housing costs if you can’t live in your rental unit due to damage, or destruction from fire, smoke, or heavy winds.

Medical Payments For Others

The standard policy pays for medical care if there is bodily injury to a person that occurs in your rental unit, regardless of fault.

How Much Liability Coverage Should You Get in California?

If your landlord requires renters insurance, check with the landlord to see how much liability coverage the landlord requires you to buy.

Most landlords require a liability coverage limit of at least $100,000.

But note that adding more coverage is relatively inexpensive.

You can get $300,000 or $500,000 of liability coverage on your California renters insurance for just a few dollars more a year.

What Does a Landlord’s Insurance Policy Cover?

Renters insurance does not cover the rental structure, such as the exterior and interior of your apartment building.

That’s your landlord’s responsibility.

The landlord’s insurance covers common areas in a building that may need repairs or become damaged due to a covered peril, such as the lobby, the elevator, the hallways, and other common spaces.

But in some situations, a landlord will cover certain parts of your rental unit.

For example, the landlord will repair or replace your front door or any broken windows if there's a burglary.

If your electrical system goes down, your landlord will also repair it.

Some renters insurance providers do cover spoiled food as part of their standard policy, but that’s rare.

You may be able to get additional coverage to cover your losses, but you should first assess whether some items are non-essential or things you can easily replace.

What Natural Disasters are Covered by Standard Renters Policy?

The following natural disasters, often called covered perils, are covered by a standard renters insurance policy.

  • Fire
  • Wildfires.
  • Lightning.
  • Windstorm and hail damage.
  • Smoke damage.
  • Volcanic eruption.
  • Explosion
  • Weight of ice, sleet, or snow.
  • Hurricanes.
  • Water damage unrelated to natural floods.

What Renters Insurance Typically Does Not Cover in California

Besides earthquakes and flood damage, the basic renters insurance does not cover the following:

Structural Damage

Landlords or owners need to buy extra coverage for the frame and structure of their property.

Roommate Property

If you have a roommate and you experience a covered peril, only your personal belongings are covered,

Your roommate will need to purchase their own policy.

Expensive Belongings

You need to get add-on coverage for costly items and valuables as they are excluded from standard renters insurance policies or are only covered up to the policy’s limit.

Natural Disasters

The following natural disasters are not covered in a standard renters insurance policy.

What Natural Disasters Occur in California?

California is one of the ten riskiest states to live in due to many natural disasters, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new “National Risk Index”

These natural disasters occur in California:

  • Wildfires
  • Floods
  • Mudslides
  • Landslides
  • Earthquakes

Some rarer natural disasters for Californians are:


In Los Angeles County, tornadoes are a risk and are more likely to happen between November through January.

The cities with the most recorded tornadoes include Long Beach, South Los Angeles, and South Whittier.


It’s very unlikely. However, should your city in California be subjected to a rare hurricane that causes major destruction, your renters insurance will protect you.

Why is California Prone to Natural Disasters?

A combination of coastal conditions, fluctuating weather, extreme heat, and geology makes California prone to natural disasters.

Why You Should Get Earthquake Coverage and Flood Insurance

California is at risk of earthquakes because it sits on many fault lines.

Therefore, it’s advisable to buy additional earthquake coverage.

It’s also recommended that California renters get flood insurance.

But there are differences between natural floods and floods that cause interior damage.

Damage resulting from the water back up or water originating in the rental is covered is in the standard policy.

Flooding due to hurricanes or severe storms that damage your belongings are not covered.

Since flooding due to natural disasters is common, getting flood insurance is recommended.

Both earthquake and flood insurance will raise your premium, but if you don't have them and one or both occur, you’ll be paying out of pocket for any damages and losses.

What Does Earthquake Insurance Cover?

While earthquake coverage differs depending on the insurer you choose, it usually covers personal belongings damaged due to an earthquake.

In addition, earthquake coverage includes necessary living expenses if your rental becomes uninhabitable, such as staying at hotels or eating out at restaurants.

However, earthquake coverage does not cover fire damage, flooding, and vehicle damage.

You get fire damage protection from your basic renters insurance policy, flooding for an additional cost to your basic policy, and vehicle damage from your auto insurer.

What If My Policy Doesn’t Include Earthquake Coverage?

In California, you need to shop around if a renters insurance policy doesn’t include an earthquake endorsement.

Your renters insurance company can help point you in the right direction.

In addition, the Department of Insurance website can also be a resource for finding licensed earthquake insurers.

Californians also have another option. You can buy earthquake coverage through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA)

You can get an instant quote on CEA’s website.

If you already have a renters policy, you can contact the company to see if it's a CEA-approved insurer.

However, insurers typically won’t sell new policies for one or two months if an earthquake has occurred in your area.

So, you should get earthquake coverage immediately when you sign up for a renters insurance policy.

How to Protect High-Cost Personal Belongings?

Your standard renters policy in California will be able to replace or repair your belongings in full, minus the deductible, up to the policy limits.

However, if your diamond ring costs $20,000 and your coverage limit is $15,000, you’ll have to pay the difference.

That’s because a standard renters policy doesn’t cover expensive possessions like jewelry, musical instruments, electronics, or furniture.

To cover your collectibles or valuables, you need to get an endorsement or rider.

But first, you’ll have to get your expensive items appraised.

That’s because the appraised value of an item is used to determine the cost of the policy rider.

For example, you will pay about $2 per $100 in value for a rider to cover expensive jewelry. So, if you have a diamond ring worth $5,000, you’ll pay $100 for a rider on top of your insurance premium.

Should You Perform a Home Inventory?

With a home inventory, you inventory your personal possessions, assign them a value.

It is also recommended that you take photos of all your items.

If you can’t remember the cost of each item you own, or if you can’t find any receipts, you can research them online.

Or you can find a similar item if the manufacturer no longer makes it.

This will help when you file a claim if a fire damages your items, the insurer will know precisely what to pay.

A home inventory allows you to determine how much coverage you may need in addition to what a standard renter’s policy offers.

Can You Be Denied Renters Insurance in California?

Yes. You may be denied renters insurance in California.

For example, an insurer may deny you coverage for being too far from a fire station or a fire hydrant.

A fire hydrant should be within 1,000 feet of where you rent.

What’s The Last Resort If You're Declined for Renters Insurance?

If you’ve been declined several times by renters insurance companies, you are not out of luck.

Your last resort is the California FAIR Plan, which offers renters insurance to those who pose a risk and who’ve been turned down elsewhere.

However, the FAIR Plan has limited coverage compared to a standard renters insurance policy.

The FAIR Plan pays only for damage due to fire, lightning, smoke, and internal explosions.

Those disasters are considered standard in a renters insurance policy.

You have to pay extra for a few coverages from the FAIR Plan, which come as standard in a renters policy.

For example, theft isn’t covered. But you can add that to your FAIR Plan coverage.

Our Methodology

PropertyNest thoroughly researched the state's top renters’ insurance companies and narrowed the list down to those that operated in California. We then rated them on criteria that included ease of use, financial strength, customer satisfaction, and affordability. Read our full in-depth renters insurance methodology.

How We Ranked and Picked the Best Renters Insurance Companies in California

We gathered information from multiple trusted sources and California's renters insurance companies. We narrowed our search down to the unique needs of California residents by prioritizing the following:


If a company had many different discounts that could significantly lower your premium, we added that insurer to our list.

It was important for the insurers we chose that they had a multi-policy or bundle discount because it provides the highest policy discount. Some companies reduce their premiums by as much as 15% when bundling.


A quality insurer should have a range of policy coverage options to suit the different needs of different policyholders.

We examined how many coverages an insurer had to customize a basic renters policy.

Having multiple coverage options is important because there is limited coverage available in a standard renters policy.

That’s because there is limited coverage available to customers in a standard renters policy.

In considering the needs of California residents, we looked at many insurers to find those with earthquake coverage and flood insurance.

To our surprise, many renters insurers didn’t offer earthquake coverage as an add-on to the basic plan, but that’s primarily because California residents are considered high risk for insurers because of the large number of claims caused by earthquakes.

Financial Strength

If your renters insurance company doesn’t have an excellent financial rating, they might not be able to fulfill their obligations when so many people are making claims at the same time.


We included only those companies with websites and apps that were not difficult to use and were easy to navigate. Those insurers who allowed you to get a quote online or buy a policy were placed on our list.

Customer Satisfaction

We spent considerable time reviewing published consumer ratings and verified reviews of renters insurance providers in California.

Insurers with many quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our list.


Because it is so important to Californians, we looked at each insurer’s affordability.

We included insurers with rates lower than or near the state and national average. We found many premiums for under $15 per month in our search for affordable renters insurance in California.


We surveyed insurance coverage prices in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Fresno.

Augustine Reyes Chan
About the author

As a real estate professional, Augustine Reyes Chan has helped many buyers and sellers through the process of homeownership. He is an expert in the field of how-to for potential buyers, qualifying for a mortgage, and all that goes into car, homeowners, and renters insurance. Augustine Reyes Chan graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Bachelor's degree in Sociology.