When school begins this month, make sure renter’s insurance is on the list of school provisions. Students living on-campus in dorms, may be covered under their parent’s homeowners insurance, but students living off-campus need a renters insurance policy.
“One of the best ways to protect your child while off at school is by getting them renters insurance,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance.
Renters insurance is very affordable, typically costing less than $200 a year. The landlord or leasing company has insurance on a renter’s property, but it is required to only cover the cost of the structure, not the renter’s personal belongings.
Many renters think they don’t have enough items for insurance, but if you have a laptop, mobile phone, bicycle, TV or jewelry that is plenty to protect. Once you add up the cost to replace everything you own, you realize it is a lot more than you think.
An actual cash value policy covers the current costs of your stuff, taking into account its depreciated value. Let’s say you bought a laptop for $1200, two years ago. Its current depreciated value would be $500. The renter’s policy takes into account the deprecated value and pays out that amount.
A total replacement policy or reimbursement provision comes with a higher premium because it covers the cost of replacing your belongings currently, despite the price you paid. This type of renter’s insurance is recommended for those who have invested in newer stuff.
Renters insurance doesn’t only replace your stolen belongings. It offers multiple protections. “A policy will protect renters from personal liability as well as cover damage they might accidentally cause to another tenant’s property,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance. In the unfortunate case of a fire or natural disaster, where a student could become displaced, renters insurance can cover the cost of temporary housing.
Renters insurance covers you beyond your rental home. While you are away, if something is stolen from your rental car or hotel room, you may be reimbursed for your loss.
Renters insurance does not cover your roommates. Renters insurance only covers personal property of the policyholder or a resident relative. If your landlord requires renters to get insurance coverage as terms of your lease, all parties need to have an individual policy.
If you are renting a home with a pool, you might want to consider getting a little more than standard coverage. You may also consider more coverage if you own a dog. If your dog bites someone, your renters insurance could help cover the costs.
Once a renters insurance policy is in place, be sure to take and inventory of your stuff. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers an easy to use, free home inventory app for your mobile phone available through the App Store or Google Play.