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The Complete Guide to Renters Insurance in San Diego

Got questions about renters insurance in San Diego? We’ve got answers! Learn everything you need to know about renters insurance in the Golden State.
renters insurance San Diego

Whether you’re a landlord getting ready to draft your next lease agreement or a tenant considering your options before moving into your new San Diego home, renters insurance should be at the top of your mind. 

The reality is that a lot of renters don’t invest in renters insurance because they don’t think their belongings warrant a policy or because they believe they are protected by their landlord’s policy.

And some landlords don’t require renters insurance because it seems like another hoop for potential tenants to jump through.

In reality, renters insurance protects both tenants and landlords and should be a part of every rental agreement. And with the lower costs, it’s worth the investment for peace of mind.

But what does renters insurance cover, how much does it cost, and why is it so important? We’re walking you through everything you need to know about renters insurance and sharing four of the best renters insurance providers in San Diego.

Table of Contents

What is Renter's Insurance?

Renters insurance is like homeowners insurance but for individuals renting or leasing a property. It protects personal property and potential liability within a rental unit. Think of renters insurance as an added layer of protection to keep your property safe and sound.

What is covered by renters insurance in San Diego?

What can a renters insurance policy actually do for you in San Diego? Every insurance policy is different, but there are some key components of most policies that you should be aware of when you start looking at your options.
  • Personal property protects your personal belongings while they are in your residence. So if your bed is destroyed because of a leak in the ceiling or your laptop and television are stolen while you’re out of town, renters insurance will be able to assist you with the replacement costs.
  • Loss of use protects you when an emergency requires you to vacate your residence. Suppose a fire, windstorm, or other event forces you to leave your rental unit. In that case, your renters insurance will cover the costs for temporary housing and other living expenses like food, laundry, parking, and more.
  • Liability coverage protects you if someone is injured in your rental unit or someone on your policy causes damage to another person’s property. Renters insurance should reimburse you for legal fees and property damage.
  • Medical protection will cover the medical expenses of a guest injured at your home. Whether they’re in your home or outside, medical protection will cover any non-resident or guest but will not protect the tenants living at the property.

What isn’t covered by renters insurance?

As mentioned above, medical coverage is not provided for residents of the rental unit. 

Additionally, renters insurance only covers property and belongings—it does not cover the structure. The property owner will need homeowners insurance to protect the structure of the house or apartment.

The cost of water damage to your property will sometimes be covered, but flood-related water damage is typically excluded from most standard policies. If you want to add flood coverage, you can purchase additional insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Most standard policies need to be held by one person or family unit—if you have roommates, their property will not be protected under your policy. Standard policies do not cover vehicle damage, damage from earthquakes, or damage to expensive items that exceed your policy limits.

Each provider has its own regulations and policy limits, so it’s essential you carefully read your policy to know what is covered.

There are no state or federal laws that require tenants to have renters insurance in San Diego or California. However, landlords can require tenants to have renters insurance. If your lease states that you need renter insurance, it is your responsibility to get it before your move-in date. 

Even if your landlord doesn’t require renters insurance, having coverage is like an emergency fund—you hope never to have to use it, but having it gives you peace of mind.

The 6 benefits of renters insurance

There are many reasons why investing in renters insurance is a good idea for tenants. Let’s look at six reasons why purchasing renters insurance or requiring your tenants to have renters insurance is a sound decision.
The Benefits of Renters Insurance
It’s affordableIt may be part of your leaseIt protects your belongings
Your belongings are protected even while travelingIt provides liability coverageIt protects you if your home is uninhabitable

1. It’s relatively affordable

Renters insurance policies are relatively affordable at an average of just $14 to $30 per month in the US. The actual cost will depend on how much coverage you need, the type of coverage, your deductible, any add-ons, and where you live—keep reading to learn how much renters insurance costs in San Diego.

2. Your landlord might require it

As mentioned before, some landlords require you to have renters insurance. The idea is that renters insurance shifts some of the responsibility from the landlord onto the tenant. If a landlord requires renters insurance, they will need proof of your policy before you move in.

3. It covers losses to your belongings

Many people think they don’t have “enough” property to protect. But it quickly adds up when you think about your clothing, jewelry, computers, televisions, furniture, and electronics. The thought of replacing all of your belongings can be daunting. 

No one ever wants them to find themselves in a situation where their personal belongings have been stolen or damaged. But the reality is that it can happen. Renters insurance protects you so you can purchase replacements if the worst happens.

And you’d be surprised by just how many situations a standard HO-4 renters policy protects you from:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot / civil commotion
  • Damage from aircraft
  • Damage from vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism / malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling object
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Overflow of water or steam from plumbing, HVAC, etc.
  • Sudden breakage of a water heater, etc.
  • Frozen pipes
  • Electrical currents

4. It keeps your belongings safe even when you travel

The great thing about renters insurance is that it covers your belongings, whether they’re at your home, in your car, or traveling with you as you “eat, pray, love” across the globe. Your possessions are covered from loss due to theft and “other covered losses” anywhere you travel. Be sure to check your policy for a more precise definition of “other covered losses,” but this added layer of protection is a definite bonus.

5. It provides liability coverage

Liability coverage is included in most standard renters insurance policies. This protection covers injuries sustained while in your home or if you accidentally injure someone. It will pay any court judgments and legal expenses up to the policy limits.

6. It protects you if your home becomes inhabitable

If your home becomes inhabitable and you’re required to find alternate housing for a time, your renters insurance policy may cover “additional living expenses.” While this will differ for each policy, this can include accommodation costs, food, laundry, and more. Be sure to check your policy to understand what is included in “additional living expenses.”

What is the average cost of renters insurance in San Diego?

We mentioned earlier that the average cost for renters insurance across the US was $14 to $30 per month.

On average, renters in San Diego are at the beginning of that scale, paying just $14 a month or $177 a year. This is also significantly lower than the renters insurance cost for many other California cities.

CityAverage monthly costAverage annual cost
San Diego$14$177
San Jose$17$201
San Francisco$18$211
Los Angeles$22$273
The exact cost of your renters insurance will depend on the amount of coverage for personal belongings, liability and medical bills, the deductible, and any extra coverage options you choose to add.

The best renters insurance in San Diego

Finding the right insurance provider is a personal choice. You know what you need from a policy and how much you’re willing to pay, so keeping your needs and budget in mind while shopping for insurance providers is a great way to find a match. 

We’re sharing four of the best renters insurance companies in San Diego to get you started.


One of the more expensive options on our list, Amica, is great for those looking for insurance and has amazing customer service. And while Amica comes in at $16 per month, they offer lots of discounts to help make coverage affordable for everyone. Here are some of the discounts you can take advantage of: 

  • Bundle your renters and auto insurance for a discount
  • Sign up for automatic payments for a discount
  • Go paperless and receive a discount
  • If you’re claim-free for three years or more, you qualify for a discount


If you’re looking for coverage beyond the standard policy inclusions, Nationwide has a wide range of useful options while still being affordable. In San Diego, earthquakes are always a possibility. Most insurance providers don’t offer coverage for earthquake-related issues. Nationwide offers earthquake coverage as well as extended liability protection, identity theft coverage, and endorsements for valuables.


Lemonade is a digital insurance provider offering the best rates in San Diego. A renters insurance policy with $30,000 of personal property coverage costs $90 a year, less than half the average price for renters insurance in San Diego. Getting a quote takes less than 10 minutes and is done online.

Farmers Insurance

Coming in at the high end of the price scale, Farmers Insurance costs $20 per month for a renters insurance policy in San Diego. But if you’re looking to create a policy with a lot of customized options, Farmers Insurance might be right for you. They also have excellent customer service and a smooth claims process.
CompanyMonthly CostWhy they’re great
Amica$16The customer service at Amica is unparalleled, and you’ll receive top-tier service.
Nationwide$13Nationwide has a wide range of additional coverage options.
Lemonade$8The most affordable option, Lemonade comes in well below the San Diego average.
Farmers Insurance$20Farmers Insurance is perfect for those looking for a tailored policy and smooth claims process.

Renters Insurance San Diego FAQs

Is renters insurance worth it?

Yes, renters insurance is worth it. Because of the low cost, renters insurance is an excellent way to protect your investment in your personal property without breaking the bank. Paying a few hundred dollars a year is much more affordable than replacing everything in your home or covering the legal and medical costs if an accident happened in your rental unit. A good policy will protect your belongings against common risks like theft, fire, and loss and provide you with liability coverage as well.

How much is renters insurance in San Diego?

On average, renters in San Diego pay $14 a month, or $177 a year, for a standard renters insurance policy. Policies vary in price depending on the coverage amount and the provider, but you can pay as little as $8 a month while other providers charge $20+ a month.

How does renters insurance work in California?

California renters insurance protects you against damage to your property from vandalism, fire, windstorm, water, theft, explosion, lightning, smoke, and other disasters mentioned in your policy. It also includes liability and medical bill coverage, which protects you in case someone gets injured while on your rental property. This coverage will cover legal fees as well as medical bills.

Can a landlord require a tenant to have renters insurance in California?

A landlord can require a tenant to have renters insurance in California. If your lease has a condition that requires you to have renters insurance, you will be expected to provide your landlord with proof that a policy is in place before you move in.
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