Why College Students May Need Renter’s Insurance

College students who are already shopping for laptops, books and other school supplies may want to add something to their list: renter’s insurance.

Insurance can help cover property that is stolen or damaged in an accident such as a kitchen fire. It provides coverage to help cover medical and legal expenses if someone is injured or someone else’s property is damaged. And some policies pay for hotel and meals, if disaster leaves the home untenable.

Students may not think they have a lot of equipment, but a change of clothes, furniture and electronics add up. A stolen backpack containing a laptop, tablet and textbooks can easily be worth $3,000, said John Fees, co-founder and CEO of GradGuard, which sells student loan policies.

Students who live in dorms can get little help from their parents’ landlord policies, said Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group. This “non-local” Study, however, is often less than the limits of the owner’s policy – say, 10 percent. If the policy covered property up to $100,000, dorm room coverage would be $10,000.

“You’re not going to have a strong experience anywhere else,” said Karen Collins, assistant vice president at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, an industry group.

Some rules for homeowners not just as student housing, so it is better to confirm Learning, Mr. Fees said. Homeowner’s policies often have higher deductibles — amounts deducted from premiums — than a lender’s policy, he said.

Some colonies may require students to have insurance as part of their housing agreement. And many landlords who rent apartments on campus require students to buy blankets, said Alexandra Alvarado, director of marketing and education for the American Apartment Owners Association, which provides services to apartment owners.

“The owner of the house has insurance on the property itself,” he said, “but that does not include the owner’s property.”

If you have a renter’s policy, your belongings are usually covered even if they are stolen away from home. Ms. Alvarado recalled that while in college, her laptop was stolen from her car and lenders paid to replace it.

The renter’s policy does not cover anything. This policy will protect you if someone trips and is injured in your home, but not if a stranger intentionally punches a wall, Ms. Alvarado said: “That’s what keeps it safe.”

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

Safety information may vary by state and by insurer. Make sure that the policy’s maximum benefit is sufficient to cover your assets. Always check to see if the policy covers the replacement cost of the damaged property instead of the actual amount, which may be less, and if it lists any residuals. Policy language can be confusing, so ask if you don’t understand something.

Students who have items that exceed their tuition fees, such as special computer equipment or musical instruments, can add them at an additional cost, said Ms. Worts.

The renter’s policy covers water damage from an accidentally turned on sprinkler system or rain that seeps through a damaged roof – but not from floor to floor flooding. For that, you need a flood insurance process.

How often does water get damaged? sprinkler system difficulties? “I wouldn’t say it’s common, but when it happens, it’s important,” said Josh Gana, director of facilities and environment with the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International.

Students can accidentally trigger a sprinkler by knocking a ball around the room or hanging something on the system’s system, he said. Water can quickly wet a room, and connected sprinklers can also damage other students’ belongings.

After a deadly dorm fire in 2000 at Seton Hall University, many colleges installed fire prevention systems, Fees said. There were about 1,200 fires in school buildings in 2020, according to federal data.

Here are some questions and answers about college insurance:

No. Some insurers may add a cohabitant to your policy to pay less, Ms. Worts. If not, your partner may need a different plan to get support.

It is not possible. Renter’s policies often cover laptop theft and damage or loss by fire or other “perils”. But dropping the device on the desk and breaking the screen is not worth it. Special laptop plans offered by others of insurance and equipment manufacturers, or an extended warranty or service agreement, may provide support. Consumer Reports he made a small profit on additional computers, however, because the cost is equal to the cost of maintenance.

Car prices are often higher for young people. But if your student is away and not driving your car, you may be eligible for a lower rate, so check with your insurer, said Robert Passmore, vice president of auto and insurance policy with the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.