Best Cheap Renters Insurance In California – Forbes Advisor

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Average renters insurance cost

$154

If you’re looking for cheap renters insurance in California, consider getting quotes from Lemonade, Auto Club and State Farm. In our analysis those companies offered the cheapest renters insurance in the state, among the companies we analyzed. But there are many other companies offering California renters insurance for less than $200 a year for $20,000 in property coverage, so it’s smart to gather multiple quotes.

More: Best renters insurance

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Here are the main types of coverage that come with a standard renters insurance policy.

  • Personal property covers your personal items such as electronics, clothes and furniture.
  • Liability insurance pays for damage or injury to someone else, such as a guest who slips and falls in your apartment.
  • Additional living expenses (ALE) pays when you are unable to live at your apartment because of a covered problem (such as a house fire). ALE pays for things like hotel expenses and restaurant meals.

If you worry about lawsuits and having enough liability insurance, you may want to consider an umbrella policy. Umbrella insurance kicks in when your renters liability insurance is exhausted. For example, if an injured guest’s medical bills exceed your renters liability policy limits, your umbrella insurance would cover the additional amount (up to your umbrella insurance policy limits).

Related: What can be taken from you in a lawsuit

When Can You Be Evicted in California?

If you fail to pay rent by the rent’s due date, the landlord can serve you with a three-day notice to pay. If the rent is not paid in three days, an eviction notice can be filed by the landlord. Other reasons a landlord could serve you a three-day notice include:

  • You violated the lease
  • You damaged rental property
  • You “substantially” interfered with other tenants (committed a nuisance)
  • You committed unlawful acts, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, drug dealing, dog fighting, illegal conduct involving weapons or stalked another tenant or subtentant

A landlord can terminate a month-to-month rental agreement with a 30-day or 60-day advance written notice.

Rules on Security Deposits in California

A security deposit may also be referred to as last month’s rent, pet deposit, key fee or cleaning fee. No matter what these payments or fees are called, they are all considered to be part of the security deposit under California law.

Here are a few important rules about security deposits in California:

  • The maximum amount of a security deposit in California is two months rent for an unfurnished apartment. If you own a waterbed, the security deposit can be up to two-and-one-half times the monthly rent.
  • The maximum amount of a security deposit in California is three months rent for a furnished apartment.
  • If you have a waterbed, the security deposit can be up to three-and-one-half times the monthly rent.
  • The landlord’s time limit for returning a security deposit is 21 days.
  • The landlord’s penalty if the security deposit is not returned on time is twice the amount of the security deposit.
  • A landlord may make deductions to a security deposit for things like unpaid rent, cleaning costs, damages beyond normal wear and tear, and the cost of restoring or replacing furniture, furnishings or other personal property items (other than wear and tear, if the rental agreement allows for it).

Rules on Rent Increases in California

The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482) limits annual rent increases to either 10% or 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living, whichever amount is less.

But there are some exceptions. For example, the act does not apply to rental properties built in the past 15 years, single-family homes, townhouses and condos (except when owned by corporations or real estate investment trusts), and duplexes when one unit is occupied by the owner.

When Can a Landlord Enter Your Apartment?

A landlord must give you reasonable advance notice in writing before entering your rental unit and can only enter during normal business hours on weekdays (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The notice must state the purpose of entry, the approximate date and time.

California law considers 24 hours advance written notice to be reasonable for most situations. Your landlord must deliver the notice in one of the following ways:

  • Personally deliver the notice to you
  • Leave the notice at the apartment with a person of suitable age and discretion, such as a roommate or a teenage member of the household
  • Leave the notice on, near or under your unit’s usual entry
  • Mail the notice to you (at least six days before the intended entry)

You can consent to shorter notice or entry during non-business or weekend hours.

A landlord can enter your rental unit for the following reasons:

  • To respond to an emergency
  • If you have moved out or abandoned your rental unit
  • To complete necessary or agreed upon repairs, decorations or other improvements
  • To show your rental unit to prospective renters, purchasers or lenders
  • To provide entry to contractors or workers who are performing work on your rental unit
  • To do an initial inspection before the end of your tenancy
  • If a court order permits your landlord to enter
  • If you have a waterbed, to inspect the installation and periodically after to assure that the installation meets the state’s requirements

In certain circumstances, advance written notice to enter your rental unit is not required:

  • To respond to an emergency
  • If you moved out or abandoned your rental unit
  • To complete agreed upon repairs or supply services

There are special circumstances if your landlord wants to show your rental unit to a purchaser. Your landlord must notify you in writing that the unit is for sale and may be shown by the landlord or agent. After you have been notified in writing, oral notice (either in-person or by phone) is sufficient. California law considers 24 hours notice to be reasonable in most situations. Written notice must be given to you within 120 days of the oral notice.

Entry by your landlord or agent to show your rental unit to a purchase may only be during normal business hours, unless you consent to a different time. When the landlord or agent enters your rental unit, they must leave written evidence of entry, such as a business card.

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