If you’re going to college, you likely have a long list of things you need to buy and things you need to do. While it might not be on the list of essential items you need for your first apartment or dorm room away from home, renters insurance is an important thing to add to what you need.
Insurance for college students is cheaper than you think and could save you money.
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Renters insurance for college students: dorms vs apartments
If you live in a dorm, your renters insurance needs will be different than it would be in an apartment.
Renters insurance in a dorm
If you live in a dorm, you might not have to worry about renters insurance. Your parents’ homeowners or renters insurance probably covers you. Before you move into the dorms, your parents should call their insurance agent and check.
However, most homeowners insurance policies cap off-premises coverage and reimbursements if something happens. Your loss could be below your parents’ deductible. For example, your parents’ deductible might be $3,000. If only a few things were stolen or damaged, you might still have to pay to replace your stolen stereo if you use your parents’ insurance.
If you do want renters insurance for your dorm, you’ll have limited options. You’ll need to find a company that offers dorm insurance specifically so you aren’t paying for more than you need or will even be covered.
While you can protect yourself from loss or damage, like spilling a cup of coffee on your laptop while pulling an all-nighter, buying liability insurance might not be an option.
Liability insurance protects you from a lawsuit if someone gets hurt in your apartment or dorm room. Many insurance companies don’t sell liability insurance to college students who live in dorms. If someone injures themselves in the dorm, the college’s liability insurance would protect you and pay for medical bills.
It would also be the college’s responsibility to rehome you if your dorm flooded or otherwise became uninhabitable. If you live on-campus, your renters insurance policy won’t need liability or alternative accommodation coverage.
Because your insurance policy would be more limited in a dorm, you’ll likely be able to find cheap renters insurance.
Renters insurance off-campus
If you live off-campus, it’s unlikely that your parent’s insurance covers you. If you want to protect your property, you’ll need to buy your own policy. Don’t assume that your landlord’s coverage extends to you; it only covers the building’s exterior and common areas. Everything that happens within your apartment is your responsibility.
Renters insurance protects you from loss or damage to your property, liability and medical costs if someone is hurt in your apartment. It also pays for you to live somewhere else if your apartment is inhabitable. Before thinking, “I found my couch by the side of the road; I don’t have any valuable property!” inventory your possessions.
How easy would it be to write your papers without a laptop? What about your stereo, your cell phone and other electronics? Even if you just had to replace all of your clothes and textbooks, you might be surprised at how much it would cost you. With renters insurance, if those items are lost, damaged or stolen, you can have them quickly replaced.
You can use an app to take pictures of your belongings and record any important information like serial numbers and original prices. If you don’t think you have enough to merit using an app, keep a list on your phone or on a cloud document with information about at least the most expensive things. It can also help to take pictures of your room and belongings to both help prove that you have them and to remind you of anything you might miss when you make a list of the things you own.
Renters insurance can cover more than your belongings if they are lost, damaged or stolen. What if a pipe bursts and you can’t stay at your apartment? Sure, you can crash on a friend’s couch, but that’ll get old fast. Renters insurance for off-campus students includes provisions for alternate accommodation. If you can’t stay at your apartment, the insurance company will pay for a hotel or another rental.
Average cost of renters insurance
The average cost of renters insurance for college students is only $17 a month. That works out to about 4.25 a week. You might also be able to bundle your renters insurance with your car insurance to help you pay a little less for both of these insurance types.
Cheap renters insurance could be the difference between getting a new laptop in time to meet a deadline or asking your professor for an extension. While it’s not required, renters insurance will help out if anything ever happens to your belongings or if someone gets injured. Having it can give you some extra peace of mind so you can focus on your studies and not worry if anything goes wrong with your apartment.