A Renter and Roommate Resource  | The WilliamPaid Blog

Advice for Off-Campus Roomies: Your Landlord Doesn’t Insure Your Contents

Your college semester is in full swing, and you and your college roommates have discovered each other’s annoying habits, shared stories from home and discovered all the great spots for studying, shopping and socializing. We hate to sound like your parents, but have you gotten all your ducks in a row, like setting up a local bank account, updating your driver’s license, safely storing your health insurance cards and purchasing renters insurance?

Renters Insurance

You and your college roommates are responsible for damage to carpets, walls and floors from cigarette burns, spilled drinks, flooded sinks, backed-up toilets and more. You’re also liable for the contents of your apartment if they are stolen or become damaged by water, lightning or fire. Your landlord does not insure your property, even if his lousy wiring caused the surge that fried your hard drive.

College students living in off-campus housing are ideal candidates for renters insurance. They often bring valuable personal items costing thousands of dollars, like digital televisions, mobile phones, pricey laptops, school textbooks, clothes, furniture and more. Protecting themselves with renters insurance can provide a measure of confidence if anything happens.

You can find helpful information at Kemper.com among other insurance providers that will explain the costs and coverage of renters insurance. In most cases, renters insurance is a small monthly cost for most general types of personal property coverage. Here are some tips to remember when considering renters insurance.

Personal Property Coverage

For college students living in a rented apartment, house or condominium, they should know that landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover the students’ personal property if stolen or damaged from fire, water or other unpredictable factors. That’s why it makes sense to have at least personal property insurance for their valuable items.

Group of Students

If there are two or more college students living together in an off-campus housing or apartment system, ask your insurance agent about getting a combined renters insurance policy. Some policies automatically extend coverage to a roommate in the apartment or condo who fits the definition of a domestic partner. That extends mainly to live-in boyfriends or girlfriends. Otherwise, each roommate should get their own separate coverage for their personal property.

Actual Cash Value Coverage

Students should know the difference between “actual cash value” (ACV) and “replacement cost” coverage when shopping for renters insurance. Actual cash-value coverage only reimburses a student for the cost of the personal property at the time of the claim, minus the deductible. For instance, if a student’s 2-year-old iPhone 3 gets stolen, he would only be reimbursed for the phone’s current value (around $140 online), rather than the original $400 or so.

Replacement cost coverage, conversely, would reimburse the iPhone 3 full value, but only AFTER the student buys a new one and submits a receipt. For some personal possessions, this type of replacement costs coverage makes more sense.

Living off campus with roommates is considered a rite of passage for most college students. Making sure to do it right with renters insurance is a rite of emerging adulthood.

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