Renters Insurance

The Best Cheap Renters Insurance in California

COVID-19 Update: If you're thinking about renters insurance in California in the context of coronavirus, see below for information.

Picking the best renters insurance provider involves choosing a company with affordable rates, practical policy features and high-quality customer service. We gathered more than 100 quotes from across California to help you find the cheapest and best renters insurance in the state.

Compare cheap renters insurance options in California

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On average, the cheapest price we found for renters insurance in California is $13 per month — that's about $151 per year. We've listed the renters insurance company with the best rates in the state, as well as our analysis of California's other top providers.

Best renters insurance for most people: Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual offers some of the cheapest renters insurance in the state while providing a mix of strong coverage and good customer service.
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The good:

  • Cheap prices
  • Good customer service

The bad:

  • Not the cheapest option in California

Liberty Mutual is the best renters insurance in California for most tenants. Coverage is highly affordable, costing just $13 per month — about $160 per year. This is 23% cheaper than California's statewide average. Liberty Mutual is only 80 cents more per month than State Farm, the cheapest renters insurance in California.

However, despite its slightly higher price, Liberty Mutual tends to be cheaper in the state's largest cities. We found that Liberty Mutual's policies are the most affordable in Fresno, Oakland and Los Angeles, where it's about $50 cheaper per year than State Farm.

Liberty Mutual also has a variety of discounts and coverage options that could help you reduce your price even further. Many of the discounts available through Liberty Mutual are easily attainable, like signing up early for coverage, electing to pay in full or buying a policy online — among others.

The customer service offered by Liberty Mutual is attractive, too. Liberty Mutual receives among the fewest complaints relative to its size compared to most of the renters insurance companies we surveyed in California. This is especially impressive considering the size of the company's market share.

Most affordable renters insurance: State Farm

State Farm's renters insurance is the cheapest in the state.
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The good:

  • Cheapest price in California
  • Practical add-ons for extra coverage

The bad:

  • Not many discount opportunities

State Farm is the cheapest renters insurance in California, averaging a cost of about $13 per month, or $151 per year. This is 23% cheaper than the typical cost of coverage in California, but it's less than $1 per month more affordable than Liberty Mutual.

Like other companies in California, State Farm allows policyholders to reduce their premiums by bundling their renters insurance with another form of coverage. In addition to this discount, you could save money on your policy by upgrading your home's safety and security features. These are the only two discounts offered by State Farm.

The endorsements available through State Farm are largely practical. For Californians looking for earthquake coverage, State Farm has an endorsement for this peril. You can also add identity theft coverage and extended property coverage to your renters insurance.

Although State Farm usually has excellent customer service, in California the company suffers from a high number of complaints. Data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shows that State Farm receives more complaints than normal for its market share.

Best renters insurance for customer service: Allstate

Allstate offers the most discount opportunities, and it's price isn't a deal breaker.
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The good:

  • Good customer service
  • Wide array of discounts

The bad:

  • Quality service comes with higher premiums

Allstate renters insurance has the best customer service of the companies we surveyed. Allstate receives about 20% fewer complaints than one would expect from the size of its market share. Additionally, its rank on J.D. Power's evaluation of renters insurance providers is high: It scored sixth of 14 national providers.

Compared to other providers, Allstate renters insurance isn't the cheapest option in California. On average, coverage costs $18 per month, about $213 per year. This rate is 9% more expensive than California's statewide average. Allstate is commonly the second most affordable insurer in a city, but in Sacramento we found its rates to be the lowest among the providers we surveyed.

There are a number of opportunities to reduce the price of your premium with Allstate renters insurance. As with other providers, you could save by bundling your coverage with Allstate's auto insurance. You could also lower your policy's cost if you have a good insurance history, a home outfitted with security and safety devices and if you're at least 55 years old and retired.

The highlight of Allstate's endorsements is its identity theft coverage. For about $10 per month, you could add a variety of monitoring services, as well as $50,000 of expenses for fraud and up to $50,000 reimbursed to you if your money is stolen. You could also add Allstate's extended liability coverage to your policy.

How we chose the best renters insurance in California

To find the best renters insurance in California, we compared three characteristics of all providers:

  • Affordability: What renters can expect to pay for coverage in California
  • Coverage options: The quality of a company's standard coverage, as well as its available add-ons
  • Customer service: A company's reputation for providing consistent, quick and fair claims service

Affordability: What renters can expect to pay for coverage in California

We found that the average cost of renters insurance in California is $16 per month, or $195 per year. The cost of coverage in California is slightly more expensive than in all of the United States, where we calculated that renters insurance usually costs about $187 per year.

The cheapest renters insurance in California is State Farm, which sells policies for an average of $13 per month, while Nationwide's $19 policies are the most expensive in the state.

A bar graph showing the average costs of renters insurance in California
A bar graph showing the average costs of renters insurance in California
InsurersAverage cost (per month)Average cost (per year)% difference from CA average
State Farm$13$151-23%
Liberty Mutual$13$160-18%
Average cost in CA$16$1950%
Allstate$18$2139%
Farmers$18$22013%
Nationwide$19$22817%

Several factors influence the price you could pay for renters insurance, including your personal history of making claims, the amount of coverage you want to receive and your location. We sourced quotes for the following coverage limits:

  • Personal property protection:$30,000
  • Liability coverage: $100,000
  • Guest medical protection: $1,000
  • Deductible: $500

Some personal details may influence the cost of renters insurance for you. For instance, your rates could be affected by your age. Our sample profile was a 30-year-old unmarried male living alone with no pets. Our profile had no history of making claims.

Compare cheap renters insurance options in CA

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Coverage options: Range of features offered by each renters insurance company

All of the renters insurance providers we've spotlighted above have a few endorsements that you can add to a standard policy. However, the protection afforded by a standard policy ought to provide enough protection that you're not required to purchase supplemental upgrades to cover basic needs.

InsurerPersonal property coveragePersonal liabilityEarthquakeWater backup coverageIdentity theft protectionReplacement cost coverageValuables plus
State Farm$10,000-+$100,000$100,000-$1,000,000X-X-X
Nationwide$15,000-+$100,000$100,000-$1,000,000-XXXX
Liberty Mutual$5,000-$25,000$100,000-$1,000,000X-XXX
Allstate$15,000-+$100,000$100,000-$500,000--X--
Farmers$4,000-$150,000$100,000-$1,000,000--XX-

What are these coverages?

  • Replacement cost coverage: If your property is damaged, the replacement you receive wouldn't factor in the deprecation of your things
  • Water backup: Coverage that protects against water damage arising from malfunctioning drains or sump pumps
  • Identity theft protection: Receive credit and account monitoring services and reimbursements for stolen assets
  • Valuables plus: Raise the coverage limits for types of property or individual items

Customer service: Evaluating the quality of service provided by insurers

An insurer should have a reputation for responding to claims quickly and fairly. We checked three measurements to see which renters insurance company has the strongest customer service: the complaint index calculated by the NAIC, J.D. Power's U.S. Renters Insurance Study and A.M. Best's Financial Strength Ratings.

InsurerNAIC Complaint IndexJ.D. Power (of 14)A.M. Best
State Farm1.193rdA
Liberty Mutual0.6911thA
Allstate0.806thA+
Farmers0.649thA
Nationwide0.807thA+

NAIC Complaint Index: The NAIC uses the Complaint Index to communicate the complaints a company receives relative to its market size. The typical number of complaints a company receives is represented by 1.0, meaning an insurer with a Complaint Index of 1.20 receives more complaints than its size suggests.

J.D. Power Renters Insurance Study: J.D. Power ranks 14 national renters insurance companies based on qualities like claims service, policy offerings and customer interaction. Each company is awarded an overall satisfaction ranking based on consumer responses to these points.

A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A.M. Best evaluates the ability of renters insurance companies to fulfill their financial obligations to their policyholders by paying claims, especially after a widespread catastrophe or economic downturn. While most companies are well rated by A.M. Best, it's a useful tool to identify risky insurers.

How will renters in California be affected by COVID-19?

Read the full breakdown

Renters insurance companies have augmented policies regarding claims-processing and paying bills. Many have eased late fees and done away with cancellations for missed payments as a result of the coronavirus. Additionally, if you have to make a claim, your provider may ask you to complete the process electronically. As most workers have started working from home, there aren't many adjusters performing in-person assessments — except for dire situations.

California was one of the first states to issue a moratorium on evictions for missed rent payments. Renters can't legally evicted for missing rent because of coronavirus, but they still have to pay rent eventually. We recommend continuing to pay what you can even while the moratorium is in place.

California renters insurance rates: City-by-city breakdowns

The rates we gathered for our survey allowed us to find the city with the cheapest renters insurance in California. Below, we've tabulated the average cost of renters insurance in California's largest cities. We've also shown how each city's typical cost compares with California's statewide price of insurance.

Sunnyvale has the cheapest renters insurance in California, with an average rate of about $13 per month — or $157 per year. Contrastly, renters insurance in Los Angeles is the most expensive in the state at $22 per month — $265 per year.

CityAverage cost (per month)Average cost (per year)% difference from CA average
Los Angeles$22$26536%
San Diego$15$178-9%
San Jose$14$166-15%
San Francisco$16$187-4%
Fresno$19$22716%
Sacramento$16$1950%
Long Beach$17$2013%
Oakland$19$23319%
Bakersfield$17$2034%
Anaheim$16$186-4%
Santa Ana$14$165-15%
Riverside$18$2129%
Stockton$17$2023%
Chula Vista$14$168-14%
Irvine$14$172-12%
Fremont$14$173-11%
San Bernardino$17$2086%
Modesto$17$1992%
Huntington Beach$14$171-12%
Glendale$17$2087%
Santa Rosa$13$161-18%
Sunnyvale$13$157-20%
Pasadena$16$188-4%
Berkeley$18$2128%
Santa Monica$19$22415%

Methodology

In order to find the cheapest renters insurance in California, we obtained 121 quotes from addresses across the state using a sample profile. We used a profile with these characteristics: 30-year-old, unmarried renter with no pets, living on his own.

We sourced quotes that covered $30,000 worth of personal property, $100,000 of personal liability and $1,000 of medical payments to others. Where possible, our sample policies carried a $500 deductible.

Chris Moon

Chris is a Product Manager for ValuePenguin with years of experience in addressing critical questions about mortgages and homeowners insurance. He spends his time evaluating insurance providers and policy features to understand where consumers might find the most cost-effective coverage. Chris has contributed insights to the New York Times and many other publications.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.