Renters insurance provides essential financial protection that your landlord's insurance policy typically doesn't provide. It helps pay for repairing or replacing your personal items (clothing, furniture, electronics, sports equipment, and more) that are stolen or damaged by fire, flooding or other incidents. It also provides coverage if you’re held responsible for another person’s injury or property damage.
In a time of high inflation and rental costs in New Jersey, budgeting for an additional insurance policy may seem like a tough pill to swallow. But renters insurance often comes at a modest price — the average monthly cost of renters insurance in New Jersey from several companies we reviewed was just $9.
|Average annual cost||AM Best rating||Best for|
|United Services Automobile Association (USAA)|
Average annual cost$87
AM Best ratingA++
Best forMilitary families
Average annual cost$107
AM Best ratingA-
Average annual cost$111
AM Best ratingA+
Best forOlder renters
Average annual cost$125
AM Best ratingA++
Best forCoverage options
Best cheap renters insurance in New Jersey
Average premium: $87 per year
Best for: US military and their families
USAA’s insurance products (and other services) are available exclusively to active and honorably retired US military members and their families. Its renters insurance includes personal property and liability coverages. It also features standard flood and earthquake coverages, which are generally not part of a standard renters policy. The company even provides overseas coverage for members who are deployed abroad.
Members should call USAA's toll-free number to get a quote or visit the company's website. Claims can be reported on the USAA website or app. USAA has an A++ rating from AM Best, the analyst's highest rating for financial stability.
Average premium: $107 per year
Best for: Discounts
Cumberland Mutual is headquartered in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Its modest average premium of $107 for renters insurance is complemented by available discounts for having multiple policies with the company, having a loss-free claims record, and having smoke and burglar alarms. Available coverages include personal property, liability, and additional living expenses, plus options such as sump pump and sewer backup and identity theft.
Cumberland Mutual policies appear to be available only through independent agents — there’s no online option. This makes buying slightly less convenient than some of the other companies in our survey (though buying from an independent agent does have advantages). Claims can be reported at the Cumberland Mutual website or by calling a toll-free number.
Average premium: $111 per year
Best for: Older renters
Allstate is one of the country's best-known insurance brands. Its renters coverage includes standard personal property, additional living expenses and personal liability coverages. Discounts are available for having multiple Allstate policies and enrolling in its easy-pay plan (automatic withdrawal of your payment). Allstate also offers a “55 and retired” discount which results in extra savings for renters over the age of 55 who’ve retired.
Quotes are available at the Allstate website, by calling a toll-free number, or by contacting agents in more than 150 cities and towns across New Jersey. Allstate is the only company in our review with ratings from both AM Best (A) and Demotech (A''). These high ratings mean customers can be confident in the company’s financial strength and ability to pay claims.
Average premium: $125 per year
Best for: Coverage options
Another well-known national brand, State Farm was the most expensive renters insurance provider of the companies we reviewed. The company’s renters policy includes standard personal property, liability and additional living expense (loss of use) coverages. Customers can add options such as identity theft coverage, earthquake coverage, identity restoration coverage, personal umbrella and pet medical insurance. Beyond that, State Farm offers a wide array of personal insurance, banking and investment products.
While on the pricier side, State Farm does offer several discounts. These include bundling (having multiple State Farm policies) and having home protection features such as smoke detectors. State Farm quotes are available on the company website, app, or through an agent. The company’s A++ rating is AM Best’s highest, meaning customers can be confident in State Farm’s financial stability.
Why buy renters insurance?
Renters insurance is not required by law, but your landlord may require you to have it as a condition of your lease.
Even if your landlord doesn’t require renters insurance, having the coverage is a good idea. Renters insurance helps cover the cost to replace your personal items (which could be substantial) and lessens your financial risk if you're sued (a lawsuit settlement could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars). And if you can’t live in your home temporarily due to repairs, it helps pay for the expense of a hotel and meals out.
What to look for when buying renters insurance in New Jersey
Like most types of insurance, a renters policy consists of various coverages. Each coverage provides reimbursement to the policyholder or other parties in specific situations.
A standard renters insurance policy typically has three primary coverages:
- Personal property coverage: Sometimes called contents coverage, this helps reimburse you if your belongings are stolen or destroyed in a fire, storm or other similar incident. The reimbursement amount is typically based on your property's depreciated value, referred to as its “actual cash value.” Some companies offer enhanced coverage that reimburses based on the cost of a brand-new item. This is referred to as “replacement value.”
- Personal liability: This protects you financially if you’re sued and held responsible for another’s injury or property damage. It typically provides coverage for incidents both inside and outside your home. Say you accidentally damage an expensive item in a store. Your liability would help you avoid paying for the damage out of pocket to the store owner.
- Medical payments to others: This helps pay medical costs for people (other than you) injured in your home. Say a houseguest falls and breaks his ankle. Medical payments coverage would help pay for his medical bills.
- Additional living expense: Sometimes called loss of use coverage, this provides reimbursement for your living expenses if your home is uninhabitable while being repaired or rebuilt after a fire, storm or other incident. The coverage would help pay for items such as a hotel room, restaurant meals and laundry services.
Standard rental insurance policies cover common incidents, but they're not all-encompassing. Depending on your coverage needs, you may want to consider these typical options.
- Scheduled personal property: Enhanced coverage for valuable items such as expensive jewelry, fine art or antiques that may be excluded (not covered) by your policy’s personal property coverage.
- Water backup: Helps repair or replace your property if it’s damaged by water from a backed-up and overflowing drain, sewer or sump. Your policy's personal property coverage may not cover this type of incident.
- Earthquake coverage: Helps repair or replace property damaged or destroyed by an earthquake. Your policy's personal property coverage may not cover this type of incident.
- Flood insurance: Standard renters insurance typically does not cover damage to your property caused by flooding groundwater (such as an overflowing river or ocean storm surge). Optional protection is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance is worth considering, especially if you live in a floodplain or coastal area of the state.
- Identity theft coverage: Helps reimburse you for expenses related to recovering your identity following an identity-theft incident.
Please note that these coverage descriptions are generalized and provided only to help you better understand how a renters insurance policy works. Contact your insurance company or agent for more information about what your policy does and doesn't cover.
New Jersey renters insurance rules and things to know
As you’re apartment hunting, keep a few things in mind regarding renters insurance.
Your landlord’s policy does not cover you or your property
The property owner has their own insurance, called a landlord policy (sometimes called a dwelling policy). This covers what the landlord owns — the building, any garages and other structures, and the grounds. It also covers items inside the building that are owned by the landlord, such as appliances or the furnace.
A landlord policy does not cover tenants and their belongings, however. So if an occupied rental unit catches fire and burns down, the landlord insurance will not pay for any of the tenant's property (clothing, furniture, electronics, etc.) destroyed with the building.
Renters insurance is not required by law in New Jersey
Unlike car insurance, renters insurance is not legally required. There’s no state or federal law requiring you to have it.
Your landlord can require renters insurance in New Jersey
While the law may not require renters insurance, it may be required by your landlord as a lease condition. The landlord can ask to see proof of coverage and can even request to be added to your policy as an "interested party." This means the insurer would contact your landlord if you cancel coverage.
You should notify your landlord if you have a renters insurance claim due to damage, theft, or other incident.
Your landlord should let you know if the home is in a flood zone
Damage caused by groundwater flooding (for example, an overflowing river or ocean surge) is usually not covered under a standard renters insurance policy. For this coverage, you'll need a separate flood insurance policy from the NFIP. According to New Jersey law, the landlord may need to disclose whether the property sits in a flood zone, which can help you decide if you need flood insurance.
Learn more about a landlord’s legal responsibilities in New Jersey.
Our review looked at five leading renters insurance companies in New Jersey. We then visited each company's website to gather information about coverage options, discounts, and service options. We also looked at independent ratings for financial stability and customer satisfaction where applicable.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is renters insurance mandatory in NJ?
There is no law requiring a tenant to have renters insurance. However, a landlord may require it as part of a lease agreement.
What is the most common amount for renters insurance?
Our review of New Jersey rental insurance companies shows that premiums range from $69 to $125 per month.
Why is it bad to not have renters insurance?
Renters insurance is not required by law and may not be required by a landlord. But it's still a good idea to have a renters policy, as it lessens your financial risk if your property is stolen or damaged, you're sued or you're forced to find temporary living arrangements while your home is being repaired.
What is the renter’s rebate in New Jersey?
The New Jersey renter’s rebate, known as the ANCHOR program, is a tax relief program for eligible homeowners and renters in the state.