Renters insurance is a must-have for tenants in Los Angeles. It provides financial protection and peace of mind if theft, fire, or other insurable events leave you and your belongings vulnerable.
What is renters insurance?
Renters insurance is a type of insurance that protects tenants from financial losses related to their rental property. It covers losses due to theft, fire, and other disasters and provides liability protection for injuries sustained on the premises. Renters insurance can also provide coverage for personal possessions and additional living expenses if the tenant must relocate temporarily due to damage to the rental unit.
What renters insurance covers for tenants in Los Angeles
Renters insurance typically covers personal property, liability, and additional living expenses for tenants in the event of covered losses, such as theft, fire, or certain natural disasters. Renters insurance policies can vary, so tenants in Los Angeles need to review their policies carefully and understand what is and is not covered.
- Personal liability – This covers court costs if a tenant is sued for accidentally damaging the rental property or if a lawsuit results from a guest being injured and accumulating medical bills. It also protects a guest’s personal property if it’s damaged while visiting. In these situations, renters insurance helps pay legal fees and settlements up to a predetermined limit chosen by the renter.
- Additional living expenses – If the property is damaged and becomes uninhabitable, renters insurance helps pay for food, hotel bills, and other costs incurred while the tenant relocates during the time it takes to complete the repairs.
- Personal possessions – This covers the cost to repair or replace the renter’s belongings, such as furniture, electronics, and clothing, if they are damaged or stolen (within policy limits). Renters insurance covers unexpected events like vandalism, theft, fire, plumbing failure, electrical issues, and storms.
What additional coverage and protection options are available with renters insurance for tenants in Los Angeles?
In addition to the standard coverage provided by renters insurance, tenants can add additional coverage to their policy, depending on their needs and the policy options offered by their insurance company.
Optional coverage for other insurable situations includes:
Sewage or drain backup: This protects tenants from property damage due to a water backup from a sump pump, sewer, or drain.
Identity fraud: This covers the cost and time it takes to restore a tenant's identity.
Replacement costs: This covers personal property damaged by a covered catastrophe. This is useful in an area with extreme weather events, such as earthquakes and floods, which are not often covered by renters insurance.
What renters insurance doesn’t cover for tenants in Los Angeles
Renters insurance does not typically cover losses or damage from certain events or circumstances. Standard exclusions in renters insurance policies include:
Damage or loss caused by normal wear and tear: If your personal belongings are damaged or destroyed due to normal wear and tear, such as the gradual deterioration of an item over time, your renters insurance policy will not cover the loss.
Damage or loss caused by certain natural disasters: Renters insurance policies may not cover damage or loss caused by certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods. You may need to purchase a separate policy or endorsement to cover these types of losses.
Damage or loss to the rental property itself: Renters insurance policies typically only cover damage to your personal belongings, not the rental property itself. If the rental unit is damaged or destroyed, it is the landlord's responsibility to repair or replace it.
Is renters insurance required in Los Angeles?
Renters insurance is not required by law in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the United States. However, many landlords and property management companies require tenants to have renters insurance as a condition of the rental agreement. If you are a tenant in Los Angeles and are unsure whether you are required to have renters insurance, review your rental agreement or check with your landlord or property management company. Even if it is not legally required, it is still a good idea to consider purchasing renters insurance to protect yourself and your belongings from potential losses.
What happens without renters insurance?
Without renters insurance, you will not have coverage for:
- Loss or damage to your personal belongings.
- Legal expenses or damages if you are sued.
- Additional living expenses if you need to temporarily move out of your rental unit due to a covered loss.
If your personal belongings are damaged, destroyed, or stolen, you must pay for the repairs or replacements out of your pocket. If you are sued for accidentally injuring someone or damaging their property, you will pay for any legal fees and damages. And if you need to move out of your rental unit due to a covered loss, you will have to pay for temporary housing and other expenses. With renters insurance being so affordable, is it not worth the risk?
Average cost of renters insurance in Los Angeles
The average cost of renters insurance in Los Angeles is between $15–$30 per month. This adds up to about $180–$360 per year, more than the national average of $159 per year.
However, FBI statistics show that in Los Angeles in 2019, there were 15,040 reported property crimes per every 100,000 people. This is 5% above the national average, so it’s no wonder personal property insurance costs a little more in Los Angeles.
There were also 8,283 fires in Los Angeles in 2020, a jump from 5,695 in 2019, so renters may want to ensure their insurance covers fire and water damage.
Why a landlord in Los Angeles might require renters insurance
Landlords and property managers in Los Angeles might require renters insurance to protect their property. Renters insurance gives landlords peace of mind knowing that their tenants are protected from potential damages or losses due to fire, theft, vandalism, and other disasters. Renters insurance also provides liability coverage if a tenant is found responsible for an accident on the rental property. In addition, it can help cover any costs associated with relocation until repairs are complete following a disaster.
How should landlords notify tenants about getting renters insurance?
Landlords should notify current tenants through written communication, such as an email or letter. This communication should explain the importance of renters insurance, outline the available coverage, and provide information on obtaining a policy and any available discounts.
Landlords should inform prospective tenants that renters insurance is required when they apply for a rental unit. In addition, landlords should include contact information for their preferred insurer in case tenants have questions about the process.
Finally, it’s in the best interest of landlords to remind tenants that they are ultimately responsible for obtaining and maintaining adequate coverage.
Tips for landlords: How to help tenants make good decisions for protecting their belongings with renters insurance
For many tenants, renters insurance is a new experience. Landlords can help their tenants make the right decisions about coverage by talking to them about the three issues below.
Encourage your tenants to:
Check their coverage limits: Ask your tenant to ensure their policy’s coverage limits are enough to cover their belongings. If not, they should consider increasing the limits so they don't have to worry about paying out of pocket if something happens.
Consider additional coverage: Depending on the value of your tenant's belongings, you may want to suggest additional protection, such as flood or earthquake coverage.
Keep records: Ask your tenants to keep updated records of all items they own and their estimated value. This will make filing a claim much easier if they experience a covered loss event.
By following these tips and requiring renters insurance, landlords in Los Angeles can rest easy knowing their tenants' belongings are protected.
Renters insurance in Los Angeles is a wise investment for tenants as it provides financial protection from unexpected events such as theft, fire, and other disasters. It also covers personal property and liability, which can be invaluable if an accident occurs on the rental property. Plus, renters insurance provides peace of mind for tenants, as they know any losses will be covered in an emergency or disaster.
How RentSpree helps facilitate renters insurance coverage
RentSpree has partnered with Sure, a rental insurance provider, to bring landlords and tenants a streamlined process for buying renters insurance. Through the RentSpree platform, tenants can purchase coverage and provide proof of insurance to the landlord in one step. With RentSpree, landlords can quickly ask tenants to purchase renters insurance during the application process and receive digital proof of insurance after purchase. The easy-to-use tenant dashboard provides updated coverage information and renewal reminders. Get renters insurance through RentSpree today.