Contents insurance is usually for renters. Sometimes it is called renters insurance. Because renters are not responsible for the structure, they don't need homeowners' insurance, but may still want protection in case something, like a fire or theft occurs, or the contents are lost or stolen.
Insurance coverage can vary widely. Some plans will cover replacement value, while others only cover the current, estimated depreciated value. Some will also cover your possessions while they are in your car or while you travel. Different plans can cover different kinds of loss. Some plans can be combined with others (life, auto, etc.) for a better rate.
- Wikipedia's article on contents insurance
- http://www.rentersinsurance.net/ includes links to multiple commercial providers (U.S.)