How to Choose the Best Renters Insurance Policy for You

By Francine Fluetsch on February 18, 2017

When renting your first apartment or house in college, there are a lot of things that you have to think about and deal with, which can get pretty overwhelming.

You go from living with your parents and in the dorms, where you had some responsibility, to all of a sudden living on your own and getting smacked full force with all this responsibility that you didn’t even know was out there. A big question that many students might not even think about when they sign their lease is whether or not they should get renters insurance.

Being honest, I didn’t even know this was a thing until my second year renting a place off campus when our water heater flooded. My roommates and I were caught up in something that we shouldn’t have been at fault for, but we started worrying that it could be turned on us and we didn’t have insurance of any kind at the place, which would have been bad. It ended up working out okay for us but leaving things to chance never fully eases your mind.

This article will give you an overview of renters insurance so you can decide if it is something that you want to invest in while you are renting a place.

Do you really need it?

Honestly, think of it like health insurance: sure, you probably won’t have to go to the hospital for life-saving surgery, but you never know, so you might as well be covered. The same goes for renter’s insurance and making sure that you are covered should anything happen. The sad fact is students do sometimes fall victim to getting robbed while they are away on a holiday, or some freak accident could happen, causing a fire or gas leak in your place.

You want to make sure that your things are covered, even if you don’t have a lot of stuff in your apartment, and you want to make sure that your landlord won’t be able to pull a fast one on you should something go wrong with the place that should be on them but they choose to blame it on you.

Overall consensus: renters insurance is a great thing to have and even if you don’t need to use it, it will give you peace of mind as you are renting.

Is it complicated?

This was one of the questions I had because I know that insurance can get messy and expensive. The house or car insurance that your parents have will more than likely have a package where you can add renter’s insurance for a little bit more a year (around $180 average). It’s not a hassle since they already have your parents in the system, and they will be able to evaluate your place and items and give you coverage recommendations based on that.

It also doesn’t take long and you can get it done in a day or two, depending on your schedule and when you have time to stay on hold and everything. On being an adult, this is one of the less painful endeavors, so I’d say go for it.

Do I need my own?

You and your roommates will need separate renters insurance, even if you are sharing a room. This is an important detail! If they don’t want to opt for it and you decide that you do, and then something goes wrong, you will be covered and they won’t. This is good in the sense that you don’t really have to convince anyone else if you want to get coverage, but it could get awkward if a “shared” item gets stolen and then you have to go through extra paperwork and tension with your roommates, and no one wants to go through that.

Make sure you square away your own renters insurance, and try to convince your roommates to get it as well, but don’t feel like you need to keep reminding them. In the end, you have to look after yourself first.

Are there discounts?

I know, I know, another set of bills to pay isn’t fun, but remember that renters insurance isn’t going to rack up your bills too much more, and you can actually get discounts for having safety precautions in place. Things like fire alarms, burglar alarms, deadbolts, and the like can help you score some discounts on your rate, depending on your insurance provider. If the one your parents currently use doesn’t offer discounts, it might be a good idea to shop around a bit and find the rate that is right for you.

Am I covered against everything?:

While you will be covered against getting robbed, a regular renters insurance package might not cover natural disasters, let’s say, so you want to make sure you talk to the insurance company and find out exactly what gets covered, and what, if anything, you would have to add to your package. What you want covered will depend on your location as well as your insurance company’s recommendations, so make sure you know the ins and outs of that contract so nothing will come as a surprise sometime down the road.

Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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