Table of Contents
- How much does renters insurance cost in San Francisco?
- Average price of renters insurance in San Francisco
- The cheapest renters insurance in San Francisco: Lemonade
- The best renters insurance in San Francisco: Liberty Mutual
- Other San Francisco renters insurance providers to consider
- What else do you need to know about renters insurance in San Francisco?
- How we gathered our data on San Francisco renters insurance prices
How much does renters insurance cost in San Francisco?
In San Francisco, the average cost of renters insurance is $16.69 per month, which is a little above the California state average ($16.44) but below the national average ($20). We received the cheapest quote from Liberty Mutual, which offers policies in San Francisco for $13.33 per month, and the most expensive quote from Nationwide, which charges $23.11 per month.
Factors that influence the price of renters insurance in SF
San Francisco is famous for its hilly terrain, which in combination with the Pacific Ocean and Bay Area creates unusual variations in temperature and weather across the city. These differences aren’t massive, but insurers still take them into account when calculating your premium.
Like much of California, San Francisco has a high risk of earthquakes due to its proximity to various faults, particularly the San Andreas and Hayward faults. Even though renters insurance doesn’t usually cover earthquakes, insurers increase their rates for people living in high-risk neighborhoods.
Because renters insurance covers theft and vandalism, insurers consider your city’s crime rate when calculating the cost of your policy. San Francisco has a relatively high property crime rate, which may explain why you’ll pay a bit more if you live in San Francisco than if you lived in another city in California. For example, in 2018, 49,214 property crimes were reported, making the property crime rate in San Francisco roughly 5.7%, which is over double the statewide property crime rate of around 2.1%.
Your coverage and deductibles
Your premium will be higher if you purchase more coverage or add endorsements or riders to your renters insurance policy. You’ll also pay more if you choose a lower deductible for your renters insurance because it means that your insurer covers more of your damages if you file a claim.
In most states, your credit score also affects how much you pay. However, in California, it is illegal for insurers to use your credit information to calculate your premium.
Average price of renters insurance in San Francisco
The following table shows the monthly and yearly prices of renters insurance from major providers in San Francisco and how they compare to the citywide average.
|Insurer||Price (monthly)||Price (yearly)||Difference from average|
We’ll go over how we got these quotes at the end of this article.
The cheapest renters insurance in San Francisco: Lemonade
Lemonade offers the cheapest renters insurance in SF, with policies costing only $12.00 per month on average. This is significantly lower than the prices of most of their competitors and the statewide average ($16.44).
Benefits of Lemonade’s renters insurance in San Francisco
- Convenient digital services: If you find phone calls to be a hassle, then you’ll like Lemonade’s website and app, which you can use to sign up for your policy and file claims.
- Earthquake coverage: In California, you can add earthquake coverage to your renters insurance by purchasing Lemonade’s earthquake rider.
- Zero deductible: In California and other select states, Lemonade offers a zero-deductible option for their renters insurance policies, meaning that they’ll cover all the costs when you file a claim. This is something most of Lemonade’s competitors don’t offer.
Disadvantages of Lemonade’s renters insurance in San Francisco
- Poor customer service: AI is the first point of contact for Lemonade’s customers. This isn’t a problem, except when you have a question about your policy or need to file a complicated claim. We’ve found that their human representatives aren’t great at following up with customers who need more than what their automated services can offer.
- Limited bundling discounts: Most companies offer a bundling discount for buying multiple policies. This most commonly benefits people who have or need auto insurance, which Lemonade doesn’t currently provide.
Overall, Lemonade isn’t a bad choice. If you’re someone who chooses to use San Francisco’s extensive public transportation system instead of driving, then you won’t mind their (current) lack of auto insurance, and if you’re renting your first apartment, then you’ll probably be satisfied with the basic coverage that they provide.
However, if you’re looking for an insurer with better customer service that you can stick with in the long term, we recommend looking at your other options.
The best renters insurance in San Francisco: Liberty Mutual
Offering policies almost as cheap as Lemonade’s, Liberty Mutual gave us an affordable quote of $13.33 per month. That’s around 20% below the San Francisco average ($16.69), and it’s a great deal for the coverage they offer.
Benefits of Liberty Mutual’s renters insurance in San Francisco
- Identity theft protection: Liberty Mutual offers identity theft coverage as an optional add-on to your policy. This is particularly valuable considering the high rate of identity theft in California.
- Earthquake coverage: Liberty Mutual’s earthquake rider covers damage caused by aftershocks up to 360 hours (15 days) after an earthquake hits. They can also set you up with a separate earthquake insurance policy with the California Earthquake Authority.
- Low cost: Liberty Mutual has the second-lowest prices on average of all the insurers we contacted. They also offer several renters insurance discounts that other companies don’t typically provide, including discounts for buying your policy online, enrolling in automatic payments, and signing up before your current policy expires.
Disadvantages of Liberty Mutual’s renters insurance in San Francisco
- Poor customer service: In J.D. Power’s most recent consumer report on homeowners and renters insurance, Liberty Mutual didn’t fare well against its competitors, ranking in the bottom five for customer satisfaction.
- Limited personal property coverage: Liberty Mutual offers a maximum of $25,000 in personal property coverage. If your possessions are worth more than that, you won’t be able to fully cover them.
Overall, Liberty Mutual’s range of coverage and discounts make it the best choice for most renters in San Francisco, although renters who own a lot of personal property still might want to look elsewhere.
Other San Francisco renters insurance providers to consider
It’s possible that another company provides coverage that’s more suited to your circumstances. To simplify your search, we’ll tell you what companies offer the best renters insurance for the following groups of people:
- Dog owners
- Boat and watercraft owners
Best renters insurance for dog owners: State Farm or Lemonade
In California, insurance companies can refuse to provide coverage for certain types of dogs (known as breed blacklisting). If you have a dog that’s considered to be a “dangerous” breed, such as a pit bull, then your insurer may charge you a higher premium, exclude pet liability coverage from your policy, or even refuse to provide you with renters insurance if your dog has a history of biting.
State Farm is the only insurance company that vows to never ask what breed your dog is when writing your policy, meaning that your premium and coverage won’t be affected.
If you have a dog that’s not a commonly blacklisted breed (and you also want coverage for veterinary bills), then Lemonade is a more economical option because of their discount for bundling renters and pet insurance.
Best renters insurance for drivers: Your current insurer
As we’ve already mentioned, most companies that offer both renters insurance and auto insurance will give you a discount for having both. How much you’ll save will depend on your location and your policy.
If (like many San Francisco residents) you have GEICO’s auto insurance, it’s worth noting that they might only offer you a discount on your renters insurance and not on your auto insurance. This is a big drawback because auto insurance is much more expensive than renters insurance, meaning that you won’t save as much money with GEICO as you would with an insurer that applies the discount to your auto insurance.
If you have any other insurer, then it’s worth finding out how much you could save by sticking with them before you decide to sign up for renters insurance with a different company.
Best renters insurance for boat owners: Progressive
If you enjoy getting out on the water and taking advantage of the Bay Area’s beautiful views, then we recommend choosing Progressive. They offer a discount when you bundle your renters and boat insurance. Whether you own a yacht or a water ski, Progressive offers some of the most comprehensive watercraft coverage on the market, and their discounts for bundling renters insurance with multiple other policies, like auto and motorcycle insurance, make their insurance even more attractive.
Learn more about insurance providers in San Francisco
Still unsure about which company to choose? Read our reviews of the strengths and weaknesses of the major renters insurance providers in San Francisco:
What else do you need to know about renters insurance in San Francisco?
Although there aren’t usually major differences in renters insurance across cities or states, renters insurance in California does have some peculiarities that are worth noting if you live in San Francisco. In particular, you should be aware of what your policy covers and doesn’t cover and what your rights are as a tenant before you begin the process of buying renters insurance.
How can I get earthquake coverage?
Though earthquake insurance isn’t required in California, it’s something that we highly recommend getting. It’s particularly important if you live in San Francisco, where there’s a 72% risk that at least one magnitude 6.7 or higher earthquake will occur in the next 20 years.
Earthquake insurance policies and renters insurance riders
Luckily, several insurers offer earthquake riders that you can add to your renters insurance, and many more offer earthquake insurance through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).
CEA policies start as low as $2.92 per month, and they cover up to $200,000 in property coverage and $100,000 in additional living expenses if an earthquake makes your home unlivable. (This is known as loss-of-use coverage, which you also get with renters insurance, although not for earthquakes.) You can also purchase extra coverage just for your glassware and other breakables.
The CEA offers a free premium calculator to help you calculate how much their insurance will cost you, and you can check out a sample policy on their website — but you can only purchase their policies through your renters insurance provider. Most major insurers in California offer CEA policies, but you can look up your insurer on their official list of partners to be sure.
Can I get earthquake insurance after an earthquake hits?
Most insurers temporarily stop selling earthquake coverage after an earthquake has occurred, so it might not be possible for you to get insurance immediately afterwards.
They do this so that they can reevaluate their rates, and their prices may be higher when they start selling again. It’s best to buy earthquake insurance as soon as you can because there’s no telling when an earthquake will hit.
Does renters insurance in San Francisco require a credit check?
No, a credit check isn’t required for renters insurance if you live in San Francisco. In fact, California state law prevents insurance providers from checking your credit or using your insurance credit score to adjust your premium, making it one of the few places where you can get renters insurance with no credit check.
Can landlords require renters insurance in San Francisco?
Yes, landlords can require renters insurance in San Francisco. You aren’t legally required to have renters insurance, which means you’re not breaking any laws if you decline to get a policy, but your landlord is within their rights to evict you for violating your lease.
How we gathered our data on San Francisco renters insurance prices
Our renters insurance quotes for San Francisco assume the following:
- Insured party: 30-year old male, employed, unmarried, with no pets
- Personal property coverage: $30,000
- Personal liability coverage: $100,000
- Guest medical coverage: $1,000
- Loss-of-use coverage: Insurer’s default (usually based on the quantity of personal property coverage)
- Deductible: $500
Because renters insurance prices are influenced by demographic factors and how much coverage you’re looking for, you may receive quotes that differ from ours. Use our data as a starting point for your own research.
Also note that some insurers charge down payments or installation fees, which aren’t included in our quotes. However, there are a few ways you can avoid these costs, which we go over in our guide to getting renters insurance with no down payment.