The Student Guide to Renters Insurance


Finally, you are off to college and out of your parents’ house! This is an exciting time and one you have been waiting for forever, but, with freedom, comes responsibilities. What do you need to prepare yourself for your new living arrangements? How can you protect yourself if the worst of the worst does occur? Well, don’t worry! Here we are going to break down everything you need to know about renters insurance so not only will you be acting like an adult, you’ll truly be one as well.

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What is Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance is a policy taken out on your rental apartment or dorm to protect you from sudden, unexpected events such as theft, fire, flooding, damages, vandalism, as well as natural disasters such as hurricanes, windstorms, and snowstorms. A policy also protects you from third-party liability, so if someone were to hurt themselves in your home, whether it be a friend, a worker, or a visiting neighbor, you are covered.

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Are You Already Covered?

When taking over a dorm or rental it is common to pay the landlord or dorm association for an insurance policy. This policy, however, is normally a form of property insurance meaning that the policy is in place to protect the unit itself and the surrounding units if something were to occur.

The difference between property insurance and renters insurance is the property insurance covers the brick and mortar of the unit itself whereas renters insurance covers your belongings within the unit and protects you if someone were to get hurt. Make sure to clarify with the landlord or dorm association to understand what policies are already in place.

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If you are under the age of 26 and your parents have their own insurance coverage, confer with them if their coverage extends to you. When living on campus, your parents’ coverage may indeed cover you as well. It may be in your interest to take out a renters insurance plan under the same insurance company as your parents. Multiple policies under the same company allow for more coverage at discounted prices.

In many cases, your new space will have other occupants such as a roommate or significant other. It is important to note that if the person you live with has renters insurance, this policy does not extend to you, and it is your job to ensure that you take out your own plan to guarantee coverage.

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Why Should You Have Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance protects you when the unfathomable occurs. It takes care of everything from personal property, to personal liability, provides housing if your home becomes inhabitable, and covers medical bills – all of which can put a massive dent in your plans if not taken care of. If someone were to fall in your apartment and you were not covered, you can be held liable for all of their medical bills – something the average student cannot afford.

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When it comes to living on campus, the most common issue to arise is theft of your phone, laptop, and desktop computer. These are things that do occur on campus or in off-campus housing and can be detrimental to your studies. By taking out an insurance policy, you can guarantee that you will be compensated if something of the sort does indeed occur and have recourse.

How Does Renters Insurance Work?

When taking out a policy for renters insurance you are quoted an annual amount and charged monthly. This annual amount is generated based on a variety of factors that include the location of your new home, the age of the unit, if you have pets, the amount of personal property coverage you desire, the amount of personal liability you would like, and your deductible amount. As you start looking into policies or speaking with a particular company these are the questions you will be expected to answer. Please note that if you are not honest in answering these questions, you can end up voiding your own policy.

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Your deductible amount is the amount you are required to pay before the insurance company jumps in. By increasing your deductible amount you can make your monthly payments cost less. One thing to take into consideration is that if something does occur and you do not have the funds required to pay your deductible, you will not be able to take advantage of the policy itself. The policy only kicks-in once the deductible has been paid.

How Do You Get Renters Insurance?

Acquiring renters insurance is fairly straightforward. You can go online and take out a policy with the click of your mouse and be done with it. It is also possible to speak with an agent or broker to help you find the right insurance policy for you. A broker is someone who does not work for any company, they work for the customer and can help you shop around and advise you on the best plan for your needs. However, a broker cannot take out a policy on your behalf.

The Student Guide to Renters Insurance

An agent works for a specific insurance company or a few insurance companies. They have more knowledge of particular stipulations in policies and can help you navigate through them. One thing to keep in mind is that an agent may be biased towards a specific company due to that company offering higher compensation or having a more desirable commission structure. An agent, however, can help you complete the entire deal and when done you will be insured.

Key Take-Aways

Renters insurance is your contingency plan. It guarantees you are covered if the unexpected occurs. It offers peace of mind that even if the worst happens, as long as you can pay your deductible, the rest will be taken care of. The average renters’ insurance policy costs $12-$18 a month – at the cost of a dinner… the real question is, why don’t you have renters insurance yet?