Renting property in California is a mutual agreement between renters and landlords and is highly regulated. Within the state, insurance laws vary between each municipality, and San Diego has its own civil code guiding rental issues that landlords and property management companies must follow.
What is renters insurance?
With renters insurance—also called tenant insurance—renters are protected from legal fees and settlements related to liability claims. Renters insurance protects tenants from legal responsibility if a liability claim is made against them. For example, it protects renters if someone is injured on their premises or causes damage to the rental property, so long as these situations aren’t related to structural issues or problems with the building itself.
In addition to liability coverage, property insurance protects the renter’s belongings and living expenses in case of a loss event such as fire, theft, or accident. Renters insurance is a great, low-cost way for renters to protect themselves from damage, loss, and theft of their personal belongings and unforeseeable legal issues that may arise from their tenancy.
What does renters insurance cover for tenants in San Diego?
As a tenant in San Diego, having renters insurance can give you peace of mind and affordable insurance coverage for unexpected events.
Renters insurance covers:
Liability (legal responsibility): This includes coverage for repairs if a renter accidentally damages the rental property (neglect), personal property damage (in the case of a lawsuit), or a guest’s medical bills if they are injured on the property. If the renter is found at fault, renters insurance helps pay legal fees and settlements (up to the policy limit chosen by the renter).
For example, suppose a tenant accidentally leaves a portable room heater on in the rental property, which causes a fire that destroys the rental unit or another tenant’s property. In this example of negligence, the tenant could be held legally responsible.
Renters insurance would cover some or all the liability and pay the other party their losses. The tenant could be required to pay for the losses the landlord or other tenants suffer due to the tenant’s negligence. For that reason, it is recommended that tenants purchase renters insurance.
Personal possessions: This includes the cost to repair or replace a renter’s belongings (up to the limit of the policy), such as clothing, furniture, and electronics, if they are damaged or stolen due to unexpected events like theft, fire, vandalism, storms or plumbing and electrical issues. Personal possessions are still covered if they aren’t in the rental unit when they’re damaged or stolen.
Additional living expenses: If a property is damaged and becomes uninhabitable, renters insurance helps pay for hotel bills, food, and other costs if a tenant must live elsewhere while the space is repaired.
What renters insurance doesn't cover for tenants
While renters insurance has a lot of benefits, it doesn’t cover everything. Major weather events like earthquakes, landslides, floods, or sinkholes are not covered. You would also not be covered if there is pet damage, pest infestation, vehicle damage, or damage to the building itself.
Renters insurance usually only protects the policyholder. A roommate must take out their own renter's insurance policy to protect their personal property. If your personal property is valued at more than the coverage limit and you incur a loss, your belongings may not be covered. It’s best to do an inventory and give value to your belongings to ensure adequate renters insurance coverage.
Is renters insurance required in San Diego?
Renters insurance is not a legal requirement in San Diego, but landlords can require tenants to purchase renters insurance as part of the lease agreement. Many landlords require a tenant to have renter’s insurance, specifically liability coverage and will set the minimum in terms of coverage. Be sure to factor the cost of this insurance into your total rental cost.
The average cost of renters insurance in San Diego
As of September 2022, San Diego is ranked as the nation's fifth most expensive rental market. However, you can still find affordable renters insurance. Renters insurance in San Diego is $26 higher per year than the national average of $159 but still worth the coverage. The average annual cost is $185, just over $15 monthly.
There are a couple of factors that affect the premium as well. If you have a lot of belongings or the value of your possessions is high, you will have a higher premium. Locations more at risk for severe weather events, like tornadoes, hurricanes, and tropical storms, will have higher premiums. If the location of the residential neighborhood in San Diego is considered an area with high crime or personal injury risks, the premium will be higher.
Why landlords in San Diego might require renters insurance
Renters insurance can help balance the responsibility between tenant and landlord. Landlords in San Diego might require renters insurance because it has many benefits. If a tenant has renters insurance, it mitigates the lawsuit threat and prevents higher insurance premiums. Renters insurance keeps a tenant's possessions safe, which is important as these possessions aren’t protected by a landlord’s property insurance.
Requiring renters insurance may help the landlord acquire responsible tenants who want to protect their possessions and the property in case of accidental damage or a visitor injuring themselves.
How should landlords notify tenants about getting renters insurance?
As a landlord, the best way to inform potential tenants of the requirement to purchase renters insurance is to tell them during the application process. Being upfront with a potential tenant allows them to consider the extra costs and coverage. If a tenant is up for renewal, the landlord can inform them in writing about the requirement to purchase renters insurance at renewal time.
Landlords can communicate and encourage tenants to purchase renters insurance by focusing on the positive aspects of insurance, providing helpful information, emphasizing affordability, and streamlining the process. One of the ways landlords can streamline the rental insurance process for tenants is by using RentSpree.
How can landlords and tenants benefit from RentSpree’s renters insurance?
RentSpree is a secure property and tenant management platform that helps landlords and tenants with a fast and efficient screening, application, insurance, and rental payment process. To help facilitate the purchase of renters insurance, RentSpree has partnered with Sure to provide renters with a fast, efficient renters insurance process.
Sure is easy to use, and renters can get coverage with a one-step purchase. The renter’s dashboard on the Sure platform holds the proof of insurance so potential tenants can submit it to the landlord for verification. Renters can check for ongoing coverage from the RentSpree dashboard, which provides maximum convenience and renewal reminders.
Purchase renters insurance with RentSpree
Signing up for renters insurance through RentSpree is easy and convenient. Renters can fill out the paperwork when they apply to rent a property. Once the purchase is complete, the proof of insurance is submitted to the landlord, who can verify coverage during their tenant screening process. With RentSpree, getting renters insurance is seamless, streamlined, and fast.
Tenants, contact RentSpree today to sign up for renters insurance and protect your possessions. Landlords, add renters insurance to your online application process for tenants today.