What Students Should Know about Renters Insurance

Like car insurance, renters insurance offers a degree of protection in case disaster strikes. Here’s what you need to know about getting renters insurance as a student.

What Is Renters Insurance?

There are many types of insurance coverage. Renters insurance is a type of insurance that protects people’s investment in their individual belongings, even when they do not own the house or apartment. If you rent off-campus housing, the property owner may only purchase coverage for the building and their own personal liability. This means that if there is a fire, flood or other damage, the tenant might not have any protection unless they have renters insurance.

How Much Coverage Do I Need for Off-Campus Student Housing?

Insurance policies typically have set limits for coverage. When you open the policy, you can ask the agent for recommendations. Since replacing all your belongings can cost more than expected, most experts suggest carrying more coverage than you think you need. Start by making a detailed list of your things, especially items that are particularly valuable or expensive. Coverage usually comes in the form of replacement value or actual cash value. The first tends to cost more because it provides you compensation to replace the lost or damaged item. Actual cash value typically costs less because you likely will not get enough reimbursement to buy it new.

Will Insurance Cover All Damage?

As you explore policies, make sure you understand what is covered and what is not. Standard options feature a number of exclusions. Trying to skimp on your coverage might mean that your insurance provides less protection. A basic renters insurance policy will likely reimburse you at least partially for:

  • the replacement of your belongings
  • temporary lodging if your apartment is uninhabitable
  • liability if someone is injured while in your apartment

However, not all damage is treated equally. For example, typical policies often protect you in case of wildfires common to San Diego, but not earthquakes or flooding. Similarly, you might not have coverage for things you routinely take off the property. You may need to add a separate policy for those situations.

Does Everyone in the Apartment Need Renters Insurance?

Insurance is usually very specific to the person or item. If you drove a friend’s car and got into an accident, you would be unwise to assume you had full coverage. Similarly, you need to confirm that your belongings are protected. Do not count on your fellow students in the apartment to have coverage that protects you.

Part of the student living experience is learning to take care of your own needs, including adequate insurance. No one wants to rebuild from nothing because they lacked enough coverage before a catastrophe. With a better understanding of renters insurance, you can make a choice that will work best for you.