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Renters insurance can be a smart way to protect yourself (and your wallet) while living in a rental property. Not only can it cover the costs of your belongings if they’re stolen, vandalized, or damaged, but it can also help pay medical bills if someone is injured on the property.
In many cases, landlords require renters insurance for college students and younger renters. If your landlord doesn’t ask that you secure insurance, you might still consider coverage, as it can be an affordable way to protect yourself from loss.
On this page:
- Do I need renters insurance if I’m a college student living in a dorm or somewhere else on campus?
- Do I need renters insurance if I’m a college student living off campus?
- 3 best renters insurance options for college students
- What does renters insurance cover for college students?
- How much does student renters insurance typically cost?
- Are roommates covered by renters insurance?
Do I need renters insurance if I’m a college student living in a dorm or somewhere else on campus?
Most colleges don’t require insurance for students living on campus, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need it. On-campus living comes with many risks, including the easy access dozens of other students may have to your belongings. Renters insurance can protect you in the event those belongings are stolen or damaged.
You might also consider dorm insurance, which is a similar type of insurance policy designed for college students. These policies typically cover common in-school valuables like computers, smartphones, bikes, cameras, and more.
Before you purchase a policy, though, check your parents’ renters or homeowners insurance policy. Since you’re still a dependent, their coverage may extend to you—even while you’re away from home. Just make sure you understand:
- Any off-premises caps on coverage
- The deductible for which you’d be responsible
- Whether liability is included
- How much of your personal property is actually covered
In many cases, you may still want to secure your own policy, as the caps on coverage can be quite low when extended off-site from the covered home or building.
Do I need renters insurance if I’m a college student living off campus?
To start, you should ask your landlord if renters insurance is required. Many landlords and property managers ask for at least a minimum amount of coverage to protect them from liability.
If they do require it, check your parents’ policy first. There’s still a chance you’re covered by their home or renters insurance policy—even when living off campus.
If their coverage doesn’t extend to you and you want to ensure you’re protected, you can consider a personal renters insurance policy for yourself. Tally up the general worth of your belongings in the rental unit to find the minimum amount of coverage for which you’ll want to apply. Liability coverage is also important—especially if you plan to host parties or guests regularly.
3 best renters insurance options for college students
Renters insurance policies can vary greatly both in cost and coverage. To make sure you’re getting the best fit for your budget and needs, it’s important you compare at least a few different options. Below are some of the best renters insurance companies, giving you a good place to start.
(All sample insurance quotes used an off-campus property located near Texas A&M University, $20,000 in property coverage, $100,000 in liability, and a deductible of $500.)
Best for cheap coverage & fast signup: Lemonade
$250, $500, $1,000, or $2,500
A.M. Best Rating
Lemonade specializes in renters insurance, and it offers plans as low as $5 per month in some locations. The company also offers add-on coverage for more valuable belongings—things like art, musical instruments, jewelry, etc.
One of the biggest perks of Lemonade is its fast and easy application process. Thanks to its AI integrations, applying for and securing coverage takes only a few minutes.
- Reimbursement type: Actual cash value
- Sample maximum liability coverage: $500,000
- Policy discounts: None available
- Add-on coverages: Instruments, artwork, bicycles, cameras, jewelry, earthquake coverage
Best for comprehensive coverage: Nationwide
$500 – $10,000
A.M. Best Rating
Nationwide offers the most comprehensive coverage when it comes to renters insurance. Policies go up to $1 million in liability coverage, and there are several add-ons from which you can choose, including coverage for earthquakes, water backups, and valuables. The company also offers a number of discounts and is one of the top-rated insurers with LendEDU, as well as rating agencies like Moody’s and AM Best.
- Reimbursement type: Actual value or replacement cost
- Sample maximum liability coverage: $1 million
- Policy discounts: Multi-policy, protective devices, claims-free periods
- Add-on coverages: Earthquake, high-value items, extended theft, water backup
Best for discounts: Allstate
$250, $500, or $1,000
A.M. Best Rating
Allstate claims the most discounts for renters, offering premium reductions for safety devices, bundled policies, seniors, claim-free periods, and more. The company also offers replacement cost coverage at no extra cost—a rarity among insurers. Identity theft coverage is also available.
- Reimbursement type: Replacement cost
- Sample maximum liability coverage: $500,000
- Policy discounts: Safety devices, bundled policies, autopay, claim-free periods, 55+
- Add-on coverages: Identity theft, guest medical coverage
To compare additional options, you can check out our guide to the best renters insurance.
What does renters insurance cover for college students?
Renters insurance typically comes with three main types of coverage: property, liability, and loss-of-use. There are also add-on coverages you can choose depending on the type of belongings you own and your location.
Here’s how those coverages differ:
- Property: Property coverage protects your personal belongings. In the event any of your possessions are stolen, damaged in a fire, or vandalized on-site, this coverage will help you repair or replace the items affected.
- Liability: Liability coverage is there in case someone is hurt on your property while you’re renting it. It protects you from liability and may pay for the injured person’s medical bills.
- Loss-of-use: This one is designed to step in if your rental unit is rendered uninhabitable—due to a flood, fire, or natural disaster, for example. It would pay for your living expenses until your property is ready for use again.
Some insurers let you add optional coverage for higher-value items, identity theft, water backup, earthquakes, equipment breakdowns, and more.
How much does student renters insurance typically cost?
The cost of renters insurance varies greatly based on your location, the coverage you choose, and your deductible. You can expect to pay anywhere from a few dollars up to $20 or $30 per month.
Lemonade, one of the insurers mentioned above, is typically the lowest-cost option you’ll find and may be a good choice if you’re only looking for the bare minimum amount of coverage required by your landlord.
Are roommates covered by renters insurance?
If you have roommates, it’s important that you’re all on the same page about insurance. If one of you has a policy, you all should have one. That could mean each getting a separate policy, either from the same insurer or from different ones.
In some states, you and your roommates could also choose to be on the same renters insurance policy. There are potential drawbacks to this, though.
For one, it could impact your premium. If your roommate has filed more claims than you or has more belongings, then that would likely increase your costs to take out the policy. There may also be issues with payment (splitting bills can be difficult) or if one of you moves out before the policy term ends.
The important thing is that you are all covered. In the event that only one of you is, only the covered resident will be reimbursed if their belongings are damaged or something goes awry at the property.
The bottom line
Renters insurance is a smart way to protect yourself from financial loss—whether it’s required or not. Just be sure you check with your parents’ insurer first, as their home or renters policy may still cover you even while you’re away at school.
Author: Aly Yale