College Students and Renters Insurance

College students who are living off campus may not consider purchasing any type of “property” insurance while renting an apartment or home. This is not unusual as many people, not just college students, often think that insurance is for homeowners, not for renters. The renter may believe that if there is a disaster such as a hurricane, the loss of personal items will fall under the landlord’s insurance. Renters might also believe that if there is an injury that happens in the apartment or home, then the landlord’s insurance is sufficient coverage should the injured party decide to sue.

Unfortunately, this is not quite true. If there is an event such as a hurricane that causes damage to the building, the landlord’s insurance generally covers the damage to the building, not the contents inside the building. That means that any loss or damage to personal items is the tenant’s responsibility, not the landlord’s.

As to personal liability, a landlord may be held liable in the case of an injury caused outside of the renter’s unit but still on the property, but if the person is injured within the renter’s unit (or from the renter’s personal property), the renter can be held liable for the injured and sued by the injured party.

If a potential renter is concerned about what could happen without any type of insurance protection in light of the above possibiilties, the concern can be allayed by purchasing renter’s insurance.

Renter’s insurance is exactly what it implies: It is an insurance policy for a renter.

A standard renter’s insurance policy can cover for loss or damage to the renter’s personal items due to theft, fire, windstorm, snowstorm, ice, smoke, hail, lightning, volcanic eruptions, ground or air vehicles, vandalism, civil disturbance, water or electrical surges.

Renter’s insurance can also provide personal liability coverage so that in the event that a person visiting the unit is injured, the renter’s insurance can cover the injured party’s medical expenses. Should the injured party decide to take legal action, the renter’s insurance can also cover legal costs for the renter.

For the college student on a tight budget, renter’s insurance, which can run between $150 and $300 per year depending on coverage, may seem like a low-priority cost compared to other expenses. However, the benefits of renter’s insurance and how it can provide a proactive layer of protection for a college student in the event of someone being injured in the student’s apartment or if the student’s apartment is robbed and items need to be replaced should also be considered against the cost.

The student (or the student’s parents) should shop around for quotes on renter’s insurance. Quotes for coverage will vary depending on the personal items inventoried and the value of those items. Free online quotes are available from many of the major insurance providers or the student (or parents) can call his or her local insurance agent to discuss the details of renter’s insurance and the available types of coverage.

With laptops, cellphones, iPods, textbooks and a friend of a friend who may take an unexpected tumble coming out of the bathroom after a late night study binge, a college student renting an off-campus apartment or home may want to look into purchasing renter’s insurance to protect his or her personal possessions and provide personal liability protection should anyone be injured in the rental unit.

Renter’s insurance, like homeowner’s or car insurance, helps to assure that renters such as college students have access to compensation and/or protection for specific types of loss and personal liability. Although no one hopes to have to use an insurance policy for compensation of a loss; should something happen that requires compensation, it is good to have an insurance policy in place to help mitigate any loss.