Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?

Quick Answer

College students may need renters insurance if they do not have access to alternative coverage options such as their parents’ homeowners or renters policy or a dorm insurance policy. Where college students live, their age and their coverage amount needs may affect their decision to purchase renters insurance.

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You may need renters insurance as a college student if you do not have coverage through your parents' homeowners or renters insurance policy. Renters insurance covers things like theft or environmental damage to personal belongings, which may be helpful for students living in dorms or off-campus apartments.

Do I Need Renters Insurance as a College Student?

Whether having a renters insurance policy in college is a good idea depends on what kind of coverage you have access to elsewhere, where you live and how old you are.

You may need renters insurance if:

  • You don't have coverage from your parents' homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy
  • You are over the age covered by your parents' policy (more likely if you are a graduate student)
  • You are living in an off-campus apartment or house
  • You want more coverage than your parents' policy provides, as college students may only receive up to a certain percentage of their parents' policy, such as 10%

You may not need renters insurance if:

  • You are adequately covered by your parents' homeowners or renters insurance policy
  • You live in a dorm or apartment on campus
  • You have access to alternative coverage, like dorm insurance
  • You opt to cover expensive items with "floater policies" under your parents' homeowners or renters policy

What Is Dorm Insurance?

For some college students, dorm insurance may offer the coverage you need to protect your belongings while living on campus. This is an option specifically designed for people living in dorms.

Dorm insurance may be offered when you are enrolling at school. Dorm insurance tends to have a lower deductible when compared with your parents' home insurance policy.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover for College Students?

A variety of risks to personal belongings and your living space can be present when you're away at college. Living in a shared space with roommates may mean you don't always have control over someone else leaving a door unlocked or forgetting about a lit candle, for example.

Renters insurance covers many of these risks, including:

  • Damage to or theft of your personal possessions
  • Costs associated with someone getting hurt at your apartment
  • Temporary housing costs if you face "loss of use" of your residence due to property damage such as a burst pipe

Depending on the policy, students can opt for replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage. Replacement cost coverage provides enough money to buy a new version of a lost, stolen or damaged item, but it tends to cost more in premiums. Actual cash value coverage gives a payout equal to the depreciated value of an item at the time it was lost, stolen or damaged.

How Can I Get Renters Insurance in College?

College students may purchase renters insurance plans from an insurer or through a broker. Purchasing from an insurer often happens online. When you work with a broker, they can review policies from several insurers to help you find a policy for your needs and budget.

You can request a quote from several insurance companies to compare coverage costs and options. To request a quote, have the following information ready:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Information about the property, such as the address, who will live there and items that need coverage

Your insurance premium is the amount you'll pay for the policy. Renters insurance premiums often cost around $15 to $30 a month. Paying for a policy over four years of school could easily cost less than replacing one stolen iPhone the policy would have covered.

Quotes from different companies may show a range of prices. Renters insurance premiums may be affected by several factors specific to you, including:

  • Your coverage requirements
  • Your deductible amounts
  • The safety of your neighborhood
  • Your credit score

You may be able to get a better price by increasing your deductible. This means you'll pay more if an incident occurs, but less on monthly premiums. Taking steps to improve your credit score may also lower your renters insurance rates if you live somewhere that permits credit-based insurance scores.

The Bottom Line

Whether you get a renters policy on your own or are still covered by your parents' policy while you're away at school, insuring your belongings while at college could be a smart move. You may be bringing expensive tech equipment and other costly items to a shared living space, so covering the value of these items can save you in the event of damage.

As a college student, you may not have a credit score yet. This could affect your quoted rates for renters insurance. To create a credit report today, sign up with Experian GoTM. You may become scoreable sooner and see better options for rates and terms on credit, insurance, loans and more.