August 16, 2022

Why College Students May Need Renter’s Insurance

A renter’s policy doesn’t cover everything. The policy may shield you if someone trips and gets hurt in your apartment, but not if a guest intentionally punches a hole in the wall, Ms. Alvarado said: “That’s what the security deposit is for.”

The average annual renter’s premium was $174 in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Some policies cost less. Lemonade, an online insurer, offers basic policies starting at $5 a month.

Coverage details can vary by state and by insurer. Make sure the policy’s maximum benefit is high enough to cover your belongings. Always check to see if the policy pays the replacement cost of damaged property rather than actual cash value, which may be less, and if it lists any exclusions. Policy language can be confusing, so ask if you don’t understand something.

Students with items that exceed their policy’s coverage amount, like special computer equipment or musical instruments, may be able to add them at extra cost, Ms. Worters said.

A renter’s policy typically covers water damage caused by sprinkler systems that are accidentally set off or from rain entering through a damaged roof — but generally not from floodwater flowing in from the ground up. For that, you would need a flood insurance policy.

How frequent is water damage from sprinkler system mishaps? “I wouldn’t describe it as common, but when it does occur, it’s significant,” said Josh Gana, facilities and physical environment director with the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International.

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