Why would I need renter’s insurance in college?

Why would I need renter’s insurance in college?

Most of us college students live on a budget. We plan for our known expenses such as groceries, utilities, rent, textbooks, entertainment, and more. While it is easy for us to plan for those known expenses, we often tend to forget about unexpected expenses. Unexpected expenses are any potential cost a student could encounter outside of their known expenses. Circumstances such as fire, flooding, and theft are a few examples of how someone could lose their personal property. We don’t expect these situations to occur, but they are more common than most people think. 

As you read this post, ask yourself this question: “Can I afford to replace everything I own in my apartment?” Odds are, you likely cannot. It is very easy for personal property to add up to thousands of dollars in value. One of the most often overlooked expenses for college students is insuring their personal property while at school. 

A common misconception that many students believe is that their landlord is held responsible to reimburse their tenants for damaged personal property. This is incorrect, as landlords only insure their building and its permanent fixtures. In the event of one of the situations described above, your landlord would be unable to compensate you for any losses to your belongings. Do not worry, there is a way to protect against this concern. 

The best action a college student can take is to purchase a renter’s insurance policy with a reputable insurance provider. Many renter’s insurance policies cost as little as $10-20 per month, and will insure at least $15,000 in personal property, or more should you desire increased coverage. With a renter’s insurance policy, college students can live with peace of mind knowing that their precious personal items would be reimbursed should anything happen. 

It is important to note that a student living in university dorms, housing, or on-campus apartments may not need to purchase a renter’s insurance policy. If you are in this situation, check with your parent’s insurance provider to see if their homeowner’s or renter’s policy covers your dorm or apartment. If you are living in off-campus housing, you are more likely to need renter’s coverage. In either scenario, make sure to check with your insurance provider before making a final decision. 

So, when you are moving into your next apartment, you have the option to pay $10-20 per month for peace of mind, or you can risk the possibility of losing your personal belongings. The choice is entirely up to each individual and their needs, but if you have your essential living expenses covered, at least consider purchasing your own renter’s policy. 

Written by Mark Herman, Financial Wellness for College Students Peer Educator, University of Illinois Extension, Spring 2021. Reviewed by Kathy Sweedler, University of Illinois Extension.

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