As a landlord, you want to protect your rental property investment. However, you may not know that your landlord's insurance won't cover the tenant's personal belongings. Instead, they require renters insurance.

The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner has an article available about Washington renters insurance. You might find it helpful to read through and even direct tenants to it.

Overall, they'll learn why they should carry renters insurance and the benefits it offers. However, we're focused on you as the landlord today. Why must you require it, how does it work, and what companies are the best? You'll discover those answers today!

What Is Washington Renters Insurance?

Before you can do much more, you need to know what renters insurance is. It's a type of insurance that covers many unexpected events.

Overall, renters insurance in Washington offers personal property, additional living expenses, and liability coverage. It's broad enough to handle many situations.

Still, tenants need to know about the renters insurance coverages available. It wouldn't hurt you to learn about them, as well. This will help you explain things to renters and help them understand.

Average Cost of Renters Insurance in Washington Per Year

The average renters insurance cost a tenant will pay is about $159 per year, which comes to $13 per month. However, the price can vary based on how much personal property they have, the coverage amounts they need, and where they live. It's wise for them to get multiple quotes before selecting a company.

How Much Does Washington Renters Insurance Cost (Based on Popular Cities)?

According to ValuePenguin, renters insurance in Washington can be more expensive based on the city in which the tenant lives. For example, Auburn is higher than in Lacey. Let's dive in and check the numbers for popular cities:

  • Vancouver - $154/year
  • Tacoma - $160/year
  • Spokane - $158/year
  • Seattle - $162/year
  • Olympia - $156/year
  • Lacey - $144/year
  • Bellevue - $154/year
  • Auburn - $178/year

Is Renters Insurance Required in Washington?

No state or federal laws require renters insurance for the tenants. However, you can and should mandate it in the lease agreement.

If you require tenants to have renters insurance, you will protect yourself and them. Usually, it's easy to sign up for a policy, and they will be thankful they did so if their stuff is damaged or stolen.

You should also require proof of the policy. Most companies allow tenants to add you as an interested party. This means you know about policy changes or cancelations.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover in Washington?

The Evergreen State is a great place to live because it's beautiful, quiet, and peaceful. However, it's prone to wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, and more.

Typically, renters insurance providers will not cover significant wind damage, earthquake damage, and flooding. Therefore, tenants might have to get separate policies to deal with those potential problems.

Here are the things most renters insurance policies cover:

Loss of Use Coverage

If something happens, and the tenant can't live in the unit after a covered loss, they will get reimbursed for additional living expenses, such as temporary housing, food, and more. Often, this is a very low amount, so they should shop around to get the best deal.

Personal Property Coverage

Personal property coverage protects the tenant's belongings from perils, such as vandalism, theft, fire, and some water damage. Usually, it kicks in even if the tenant isn't at home when the problem happens.

Medical Payments Coverage

Typically, the insurer will cover medical expenses if a guest is injured in the tenant's home. Likewise, it covers the tenant accidentally hurting others outside the house. However, the policy will not cover the policyholder's medical payments; it only extends to non-residents.

Liability Coverage

The insurance company will likely offer liability coverage, which covers legal fees and any property damage caused by the tenant to another person's things. Likewise, if someone is hurt in the apartment, this protection kicks in.

What Does Renters Insurance in Washington NOT Cover?

In many situations, renters insurance policies will not cover these things:

  • Damages Over the Policy Limit - Insurers put coverage limits in place so that they don't have to pay significant amounts of money for one claim. Tenants can customize their policies to meet their needs, though.
  • Non-covered Losses - Some events won't be covered. For example, flood damage might not be included. Companies might offer endorsements. If they don't, the tenant might want to consider flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Loss/Damage for Expensive Items - Valuables probably won't be covered under the basic policy. Tenants might need separate scheduled personal property coverage, which costs more.

How to Choose the Right Renters Insurance Policy

When buying a renters insurance policy, tenants should shop around to get the best deal possible. Here are a few tips you can give them:

  • Customer Satisfaction - When tenants have to file renters insurance claims, they're frustrated and upset. The process should be simple. Likewise, tenants might need to talk to an agent, so the insurer should have a knowledgeable service department.
  • Coverage Options - Most companies offer basic policies. However, tenants might need additional coverage. Therefore, insurers should have many add-on options, policy limits, and deductibles to choose from.
  • Technology - Most tenants want mobile services because they're more convenient. Therefore, they should check for companies that have online resources and customer portals.

Available Renters Insurance Discounts in Washington

Each company offering renters insurance in Washington will provide discounts, but they can vary between brands. Here are some of the common options:

  • Bundling policies discount
  • Home alert protection discounts
  • Higher deductible to save on premiums
  • Senior discounts
  • Autopay discount
  • Paperless billing discount
  • Generational discounts
  • Loyalty discounts
  • Pay-in-full discount

How Does a Renters Insurance Policy Protect the Landlord or Property Manager?

It's important to know how renters insurance in Washington will protect you as the property manager or landlord.

Overall, when tenants have personal property coverage, you don't have to worry that they will hit you with a lawsuit to pay for damages to their items after an accident.

Lawsuits often happen when people are injured. Whether a tenant caused the accident or not, their renters insurance will protect them against legal fees and medical expenses. This means that guests and non-residents won't come after you to cover their medical bills.

Another benefit to you is that renters insurance will keep your costs low. Tenants will make claims on their policies, which means your insurer won't raise your prices or cancel your policy.

Top 5 Best Renters Insurance Companies in Washington

Tenants will often focus on the cheapest renters insurance companies. Knowing what those are can help you offer advice and even ensure that they're using appropriate brands. The top options include:

1. Lemonade Renters Insurance

Lemonade Renters Insurance

In a sense, Lemonade could have the best cheap renters insurance. Tenants will spend about $7 per month, which is 51 percent lower than the state average.

Overall, a Lemonade policy is easy to get. The company uses artificial intelligence to create a user-friendly experience. Whether tenants must file claims or buy renters insurance, it's quick to do. Likewise, it offers standard coverage options. Plus, tenants can get extra protection, such as:

  • Pet insurance
  • Valuable items coverage
  • Water backup coverage
  • Replacement cost coverage
  • Equipment breakdown coverage

2. State Farm Renters Insurance

State Farm Renters Insurance

State Farm is another cheap renters insurance company, though prices are roughly $10 per month. This is a little higher than Lemonade, but it's still a great option. Plus, this brand offers many insurance products, so tenants can get multiple coverages from one place.

Likewise, tenants can save money because State Farm offers discounts when bundling auto and renters insurance. Plus, renters are generally happy with the customer service they receive.

However, extra coverage is limited here. There are replacement cost and extended personal liability coverages. Still, earthquake coverage is available!

3. Amica Renters Insurance

State Farm Renters Insurance

If tenants want a renters insurance company that focuses on great customer service, Amica is the right choice. It has received fewer complaints than similar-sized brands. Likewise, it's affordable at about $11 per month, and there are many discounts included.

Those who need extra coverage might like the valuables coverage, replacement cost coverage, and identity theft protection!

4. Geico Renters Insurance

Geico Renters Insurance

Geico might be one of the cheapest renters insurance companies on the list. It makes it easy to submit claims and change the policy online. Plus, it offers disaster coverage for floods and earthquakes.

Since Western Washington is a flood-prone area, it's wise for tenants to consider flood insurance.

However, Geico doesn't offer many discounts, and the insurance coverage is underwritten by other insurers.

5. American Family Renters Insurance

American Family Renters Insurance

American Family Insurance doesn't have the cheapest renters insurance in Washington, but the online quote process is excellent. However, tenants can also call and speak to an agent if they're more comfortable with that.

Overall, the best thing here is the diminishing deductible feature. If tenants don't file a claim, they will see a lower deductible. However, this resets after filing claims.

Likewise, there are three policies available: Premium, Traditional, and Economy Protection.

What Is DoorLoop?

Understanding renters insurance in Washington is a great first step. However, before you require it of your tenants, you should probably keep your documents organized. Property management software can help you do this, and DoorLoop offers an all-inclusive option.

It's available for landlords of any size, whether they have commercial, residential, or mixed-use portfolios. DoorLoop will help them:

  • Market vacancies online and allow tenants to apply online through a free, custom website.
  • Manage accounting tasks.
  • Offer an online tenant portal.
  • Manage maintenance requests online.
  • Collect rent automatically.
  • Manage all rental portfolios.

Are you interested in learning more about DoorLoop? You can schedule a demo today!

Why Work with DoorLoop

Did you know that DoorLoop can help you require tenants to get a renters insurance policy? They can easily submit companies themselves, but it's also possible for them to apply for renters insurance on the tenant application or through the portal. Lemonade powers it all for this state. Learn more about it today!

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!