What Is Personal Liability Insurance for Renters?

Personal liability coverage financially protects you against accidental bodily injury or property damage to other people.

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Renters personal liability insurance can help if you accidentally cause damage to someone’s property, or if someone is injured at your rental property (for instance, if they break a leg during a Friday night dance party). Should the other person sue you or file a claim against you for these damages, it offers financial protection up to your personal liability coverage limit.

What does personal liability insurance for renters cover?

Your personal liability insurance will help cover legal or medical fees related to injuries or property damage, depending on what happened.

Here’s what your personal liability insurance would likely cover:

  • Injuries to others at your rental: If you host a book club in your living room, and someone injures themselves on a pile of junk in your hallway—your coverage may kick in.
  • Damage or injury to someone else or their property: This would apply if you went to someone else’s house and accidentally broke something valuable, or inadvertently caused someone to be injured.
  • Legal fees: We like to think our friends would never sue us, but it’s impossible to predict the future. If you face legal exposure in the aftermath of a covered incident, your renters insurance’s personal liability coverage would come in handy.
  • Damage or injury caused by your pet to another person or their property: If your dog chews through a friend’s couch while visiting, your personal liability coverage may apply. And if your dog injures someone—like the Amazon delivery guy, or your Hinge date—it might also apply. (Though there are exceptions here, especially if your dog has a history of biting, so read your policy carefully).
  • Damage to your rental unit caused by fire, smoke, or an explosion: Let’s say you’re toasting a bagel when suddenly your toaster oven sets fire and causes some minor damage to your rental kitchen. Your personal liability insurance could kick in to cover the damages.

What isn’t covered by personal liability insurance for renters?

When you’re a renter, personal liability coverage only applies to certain things.

Your renters insurance would not cover:

  • Intentional or malicious damage: Say you’re visiting your ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend’s place and decide to vandalize or destroy his property? Shockingly, this would not be covered.
  • Damage caused by your car: If you crash your car or your vehicle causes damage of some sort, your renters insurance’s personal liability coverage would not apply. This is what car insurance is for.
  • Business-related damage: If you run a business out of your rental unit, and an accident happens that is related to that business, your personal liability insurance likely would not cover it.
  • Your own injuries: If you or someone else listed on your policy is injured, your personal liability insurance would not cover it. This coverage only applies to other people who may be visiting your home.
  • Certain damages to your rental unit: If your precious rescue, Cosmo, does some real damage to the finish on your apartment’s wood floors, you likely wouldn’t be covered. Personal liability coverage for renters typically doesn’t extend to building damages—unless the damages are due to fire, smoke, or an explosion. However, at Lemonade, you do have the option of purchasing additional coverage for pet damage that could come into play here.  

How much personal liability insurance coverage do I actually need?

Personal liability insurance coverage for renters typically starts at $100,000, which means your renters insurance company will pay up to $100,000 in legal fees, medical expenses, or damages per liability claim.

As a rule of thumb, you need enough personal liability insurance to cover the potential costs of any medical bills or litigation fees.

While you’re able to customize your limits, a higher coverage amount would result in an increased premium.

Still unsure how much personal liability insurance is right for you? Check out our comprehensive guide to determining how much renters insurance to get.

How much does personal liability insurance for renters cost?

Personal liability insurance is usually included as a subcategory of your total renters insurance coverage. And, according to ValuePenguin.com, the average cost of renters insurance across the U.S. is around $18/month in 2024. (FYI, the average cost of Lemonade Renters insurance across the U.S. is $14/month.)

Your specific price will depend on a number of factors, including where you live, as well as the specific policy limits you set for things like personal liability coverage.


Do I need personal liability insurance as a renter if my landlord has insurance?

Yes, renters personal liability insurance and landlord insurance cover different things: one protects your interests, and the other protects your landlord’s.

Your landlord’s policy typically covers the building and their personal property while renters personal liability insurance covers you for costs associated with injuries or damages you might cause to others on or off your rental property.

Can personal liability insurance coverage be extended to include additional protections?

Yes, at Lemonade, you have the power of customizing your policy to include additional liability protections not included in a standard policy.

While your standard policy will only cover damages you accidentally cause to your rental property that are related to fire, smoke, or an explosion, you can also purchase individual endorsements for pet damage and water damage.

Does personal liability for renters include injuries or damages that I cause outside of my rental property?

Yes, personal liability insurance typically covers injuries or damages that you accidentally cause outside of your home. For example, if your dog bites another person at a public park and that person takes legal action, your personal liability insurance could cover the associated legal and medical fees. However, it’s important to review your specific policy details for exceptions, as coverage can vary.

What is the difference between renters insurance and tenant liability insurance?

Tenant liability insurance covers your liability for any damage you might do to your landlord’s property—which, with a few exceptions, isn’t covered by a standard renters insurance policy.

But a tenant liability insurance policy won’t cover any damage to your personal property. For that, you’ll need a renters insurance policy.

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A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.


Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.