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Renters insurance can protect any belongings in your apartment from a number of perils. But how to choose a policy if you have roommates depends on which insurer you choose and where you live.
It depends on where you live. Some states don’t allow unrelated people to share a renters insurance policy, and some insurers don’t allow it even in the states that do.
If you live in a state that allows joint renters insurance for roommates, you’ll need to talk with your insurer about adding a roommate before purchasing a policy. Don’t assume that your roommate’s belongings are covered just because yours are — you’ll both need to be listed on the policy to be covered.
Yes, you can get coverage for shared belongings, like living room furniture and kitchen equipment you bought together. The best way to do this is to make sure that both you and your roommate are covered, so that everything in your apartment is covered.
Keep in mind that if only one of you has renters insurance and the apartment is destroyed, the insured person can only file a claim on items they own. So if you have renters insurance and you bought a couch, it’s covered. But if only you have renters insurance and your roommate bought the couch, it may not be covered — even if you use it.
While the exact coverage provided will differ between insurers, a comprehensive renter’s insurance policy will usually include coverage for:
You’ll need to document any item you want to cover, so remember to keep your receipts, take photos of items and keep track of anything else that could home in handy if you need to prove your ownership of an item or its value.
Renter’s insurance can cover any personal belongings you — or anyone listed on the policy — own, that are usually kept in the home. Here are some examples of covered items:
The risks covered by renter’s contents insurance differ depending on the policy you select, so check the fine print for details of the coverage available. However, here are some events that may be covered by renters insurance include:
Renters insurance policies usually impose limits on individual items, as well as sublimits on groups. For example, while you may have $20,000 worth of coverage, your insurer may only cover up to $1,500 for any one item or up to $2,500 total for all of your jewelry. These limits will be listed in your policy.
If you have expensive items, like jewelry or camera equipment, you may want to consider adding scheduled insurance. This means that you’re adding on extra coverage for a specific item so that it’s insured for its full value.
When scheduling an item, it needs to be insured under the name of its owner. So if you have a diamond ring, it’ll need to be insured under your name — it can’t be added on to a roommate’s policy.
Exclusions will vary from between insurers and will be listed in your policy documents. But you generally won’t be covered:
The right level of renter’s insurance coverage will depend on your belongings, your financial circumstances and your risk tolerance.
To decide how much coverage you need, take some time to itemize all the important items you own. How much would it cost to replace all those items if, for example, your apartment caught fire?
Ideally, you’ll want to choose a policy that can replace everything in your home. But if it’s out of your budget, choose a policy that comes as close as possible to that number within your budget.
The average cost of renters insurance in 2016 was $185 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. State averages ranged from $113 in North Dakota to $275 in Mississippi.
But how much you pay for renters insurance will depend on how much coverage you get, where you live and your insurance history. Living in a high-crime neighborhood or having a history of filing insurance claims can drive up prices.
to find the right renter’s insurance policy for your needs:
Renters insurance only covers the property of the person listed on the policy, so you’ll need to either get a joint policy or each take out an individual policy. Compare renters insurance options to learn more and get quotes.
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