How much renters insurance do I need?

Jetty’s customizable renters insurance plans put you in control—you can choose the types of coverage you need, without paying for things you don’t.

It’s a great system, but we can imagine it might spark a question or two. Specifically: How much renters insurance do I need?

Luckily, we’re here to help you figure it out.

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How much renters insurance do I need?

To start, you should know that renters insurance isn’t just one catch-all coverage. There are four basic types of coverage in every renters insurance plan, each with an associated coverage amount. They are:

Contents coverage

What is contents coverage?

This is protection for your belongings—the “contents” of your home. Though you may not think you own much, the cost of all your things can really add up.

The best way to figure out how much contents coverage you need is to create a home inventory list. Essentially, this involves cataloguing your belongings, paying special attention to the value of pricier items like electronics, furniture, and small appliances. From there, you can estimate values where it makes sense.

For example, it’s fine to approximate the amount of money it would take to replace your underwear and socks, rather than counting up the exact purchase price per pair. Creating a home inventory list is one of the top things to do after buying renters insurance.

Note, contents coverage is specifically for “normal household belongings,” like an average couch or coffee maker, and it carries certain per-item maximums. If you own anything particularly expensive, like an engagement ring or a musical instrument, you’ll want to purchase extra coverage for that item (more on how to purchase that extra protection later in this post).

Recommended coverage amount

It depends on the total value of your belongings, but you should get enough to cover yourself in the event of a complete and total loss. Usually, that’s $15,000 to $20,000 in coverage, at minimum.

If you’re hoping to save money by purchasing less, it’s important to know that a $1,000 to $5,000 difference in coverage won’t significantly impact your premium, so underestimating here will only hurt you in the event of a loss.

On the flip side, there’s no reason to cover yourself for more than the total value of your belongings. If you ever do need to file a claim, you’ll have to submit some proof of what you owned to your insurance company, and they’ll only be able to pay for the cost of what you lost, even if you insured yourself for a higher amount.

Liability coverage

What is liability coverage?

This is financial protection in case you’re on the hook for damage to someone else’s property. So, if you accidentally start a fire that damages your home (your landlord’s property), or your neighbor’s things (your neighbor’s property), your liability coverage will cover the cost of the damage and any associated legal bills.

Recommended coverage amount

Damages like these can get pricey, so many landlords will set a minimum required coverage amount as a stipulation of your lease. If your landlord doesn’t specify an amount, we recommend you purchase at least $100,000 in liability coverage. You may want even more than that if your net worth is higher than $100,000. If a personal liability incident results in a lawsuit, the person filing the suit could go after everything, so it’s good to make sure you’re covered for the total value of all your assets (bank accounts, 401(k), etc).

Loss of use coverage

What is loss of use coverage?

Loss of use coverage is protection in the event a covered incident—like a fire or burst pipe—renders your place uninhabitable. Your insurance company will pay for temporary accommodations, and even some reasonable additional living expenses, until repairs are complete and you’re able to move back in.

Recommended coverage amount

Choose an amount that’s equivalent to three to six months’ rent, plus a little extra to account for temporary increases in cost of living, like the takeout bills you’ll be racking up while you’re without a kitchen.

Medical payments coverage

What is medical payments coverage?

Medical payments coverage protects you against personal injury if a guest is accidentally injured at your place. Your insurance company will help pay any resulting medical bills, and will even help you if the other person decides to take you to court.

Recommended coverage amount

We recommend a minimum of $3,000 in coverage, though you may want to go for the maximum coverage of $5,000.

Extra Coverage with Jetty’s Power-Ups

Most insurance companies offer additional coverages, called “endorsements,” that you can add on to your base plan for extra protection. At Jetty, we call those bonus coverages Power-Ups. You may want to consider adding one of the following:

Valuables Protection Power-Up

Why add it?

If you own any big-ticket items, you’ll want to protect them with a Personal Valuables Power-Up. Though this particular Power-Up is most often used to insure an engagement ring, you’ll also want it if you have a pricey watch, expensive sporting equipment, professional camera gear, musical instruments, art, or collectibles.

In general, if you have an item (or collection of items) worth more than $1,000, you should consider protecting it with a Valuables Protection Power-Up. This will ensure that you’re covered for the full dollar amount of your item.

Recommended coverage amount

The actual appraised value of the item(s) protected by the Power-Up.

Portable Electronics Power-Up

Why add it?

If you’d like to protect your phone, tablet, laptop, or other similar electronic devices from shattered screens, loss, and water damage, the Jetty Portable Electronics Power-Up is for you.

Recommended coverage amount

The total amount of money you’d need to replace all of your devices with ones of a similar make and model (not with the brand new version).

Still asking yourself, “Should I get renters insurance?”

Imagine getting all the protections above, for one affordable price. We think it’s pretty clear that the answer is yes.