Renters Insurance for Living Off Campus

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Oct 29, 2020

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Many college students opt to live on campus in the dormitories, but some choose to live off-campus. This means they rent an apartment, room, or house and this can often have a lot of responsibilities that come with it. While living on your own can be a lot of fun, there is also a lot to consider when living off campus. If you decide to rent an apartment on your own, renter’s insurance is definitely something to consider that will save you potential loss if something were to happen to your apartment and the belongings inside it. Most landlords do not cover the items inside of an apartment, at least not the personal belongings of their tenants. Your parents may be able to cover some things for you under their plans, but overall, the renter is responsible for his or her possessions, so renter’s insurance is a must.

When you move into your apartment off campus, you’re most likely bringing a lot of valuables with you. Your furniture, bedding, bathroom and kitchen supplies, computer, stereo equipment, cameras, and television set are just a few examples of the things you’ll probably have when you move in. Of course, do not forget all of the school supplies and text books you will have as well. These items can become more and more expensive each day, so it is essential to protect them against theft, fire, or other forms of loss. Some of these things are essential to your education, so protecting your books and other supplies is very important. If you were to lose them due to a number of factors, they could be next to impossible to replace financially as a college student.

The average cost of getting renter’s insurance is fairly inexpensive, around $100-$150 per year, or about $15 per month. Even if you only have a part time job, this policy is very affordable, and many companies will allow you to “bundle” the price with your other insurance, such as car insurance. Having peace of mind and protection against the loss of your valuables can help you to better focus on your studies. There are two basic forms of renters insurance: personal property, and liability. Personal property insurance means that the policy will protect your property inside the apartment, such as your television, jewelry, or text books. It covers the cost of replacing these items. Liability insurance is different. This means that if someone in your apartment were to get hurt, or your property gets damaged to your own negligence, the cost would be covered under the insurance. If you have something that is exceptionally valuable such as antiques or gold jewelry, you may need to pay a slightly higher premium to cover the cost if they get lost, stolen, or damaged.

When shopping around for renter’s insurance, you should understand the difference between the terms actual cash value and replacement cost. The term actual cash value refers to a standard set amount of money the insurance company deems appropriate for various items. For example, if your big screen television set is stolen, the insurance company will reimburse you according to what they feel the current actual cash value is. Another term for this is “fair market value.” This may be more or less than you actually paid for the item, so be aware of this before signing up for renter’s insurance. The term replacement cost means you will be reimbursed for the cost of the item or items with something comparable that is meant for the same use. Each insurance company defines these two terms differently, so it’s important to talk to an agent. The real difference will be in the deductible you pay if you happen to incur any loss of property. Otherwise, both terms refer to the cost it would be today to replace those items.

A large percentage of college students living off campus today do not have renters insurance. In fact, over half of college students do not typically purchase it. This can leave them vulnerable to losing their belongings due to flooding, theft, fire, or other circumstances. If that happens without renters insurance, they’ll be left to start all over again and purchase the things they lost with their own money. The potential to lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars in lost items is very real without the protection of renters insurance. It is a great idea to protect yourself and your roommates from having this happen. With just a small monthly payment, you will gain peace of mind as well as protection for the things you’ve worked so hard to have and enjoy.

For more information on how to stay safe off campus, please refer to the following websites:

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