Renter’s Insurance

UCSF Risk Management & Insurance Services offers Housing Services tenants access to renter’s insurance.

Renters insurance is a policy that the renter purchases for a monthly or annual fee, depending on the length that you desire. At the core, renters insurance is basic homeowners insurance for tenants, which includes additional protection that you will need as a renter. While the structural elements of the rental property are covered by the owner or landlord, many of the things you value most are at risk if an incident occurs. Renters insurance includes personal property protection, which covers everything you own in your rental property. You also get liability coverage, meaning you are legally protected if a guest injures themselves in your apartment or house. Renters insurance also provides you with additional living expenses if some sort of disaster happens so that you can keep living without going into your pocket. Many property management companies now require renters insurance to move in, and as a resident of on-campus housing, it comes highly recommended.

Protect Yourself and Your Belongings

Housing Services does not provide renters insurance coverage for you. If you cause a fire, you are liable for damages (e.g., carpet replacement, repainting, or smoke damage, etc.). If an earthquake hits, you are responsible for replacing your damaged personal property. Although we currently have no business relationship with a provider, Housing Services recommends that you obtain renters insurance.

How Renters Insurance Works

There is a misconception that a landlord’s insurance policy automatically covers the tenant as well, but that is not the case. Everything you own that is inside of your rental property is at risk without renters insurance. You are also at risk and responsible for the people who come into your rental home. Renters insurance will typically range from $10-$20 per month, making it a pretty logical investment to protect yourself from medical and legal expenses as well as cover the cost of your possessions.

Personal Property Coverage

When you sign up for renters insurance, you are required to enter the value of the personal possessions that you own. The more expensive your possessions are, the more money your policy will cost, but you want to make sure everything is covered. When you estimate the cost of these items, you should think about the replacement cost versus the value you originally paid or what you believe the item is worth. A new computer today may cost much more than the computer you bought four years ago. Personal property covers your items if they are stolen, damaged by fire or water, or vandalized. Additionally, some policies will cover your personal items even if they are outside of your home. For example, if you take your laptop back home and it gets stolen or damaged, your renters insurance policy could cover that item. Additional insurance riders may need to be purchased to cover sewer and water damage as well as earthquakes. You’ll want to check with your renters insurance provider on this coverage.

Liability Coverage

The benefits of renters insurance extend beyond your personal property, and you will be protected if something goes wrong in your house and a guest is injured. If your guest decides to take legal action against you, and you are found responsible, your liability coverage in a renters insurance policy can help pay for legal, medical, and other additional expenses. Liability coverage may also cover damages that you accidentally cause.

Living Expenses

If a disaster impacts your rental home, renters insurance will cover your temporary living expenses if the home is deemed as unlivable. You can imagine the cost and hassle of having to find another apartment, sign a new lease, and pay additional rent out-of-pocket. Temporary living expenses can cover hotel stays, food, and other expenses. Many policies will include a dollar limit that is available to you so you will want to check your rental agreement to see how long you have agreed to wait until your place is livable again in the case of a fire. The range on a lease can be anywhere from 30 to 120 days, but most leases give the landlord 30 days to make the rental home habitable again.

Finding the Right Renters Insurance

Selecting a renters insurance policy is generally   going to come down to picking the company that offers the best coverage for the lowest price. Getting an online quote is a fairly quick process and purchasing renters insurance is as simple as signing up and paying. 

The University of California has partnered with GradGuard to provide students, staff and faculty with access to competitive renter’s insurance. Visit for more information and to obtain a quote.


California Department of Insurance,

Allen Leng,,

UCSF Risk Management and Insurance Services,