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College students living in dorms or off-campus housing can find rental insurance by knowing how much coverage they need, determining a budget and comparing providers.
Renters insurance provides coverage for damage to belongings and protection from liability. If you are a college student who does not have similar coverage from your parents' homeowners or renters policy, buying your own policy can be a smart move.
Here's how to get a renters insurance policy as a college student.
1. Determine How Much Coverage You Need
Before shopping for a new renters insurance policy, figure out how much coverage you need. Estimating the value of all the items that need coverage will help you get the most accurate quotes.
College students need adequate coverage from renters insurance for:
- Damage to personal belongings: Your renters insurance can help cover damage to your belongings at your property. It can also cover items stored or lost elsewhere. Insured items might include your phone, laptop, jewelry, clothing and the like.
- Liability coverage: Renters insurance provides coverage for injuries or accidents on the property.
- "Loss of use" temporary housing costs: If a pipe bursts at your apartment, you'll need a place to stay. Renters insurance typically covers temporary housing. While your landlord cleans up, your insurer can pay to put you up in a hotel.
Students can pick a policy with replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage. Replacement value gives you enough money to buy a new version of a lost, stolen or damaged item, and plans tend to be more expensive. Actual cash value coverage would give you the depreciated value of an item at the time it was lost, stolen or damaged.
2. Decide on a Budget
Before getting quotes, decide how much coverage you can afford. As a college student, stretching your budget for a replacement value renters insurance policy may be too expensive. But a policy that offers actual cash value can still help mitigate losses.
Calculate how much coverage you need and how much you can afford to pay in monthly premiums. Balancing these two amounts will help you pick the best coverage for the most affordable price.
3. Get Quotes From Several Companies
To get started finding renters insurance as a college student, you can request quotes from multiple insurance companies. By getting several quotes, you can compare potential policies for the best price and coverage.
You can work with insurance agents or brokers to get quotes. Insurance agents are professionals who work for a single insurance company and help clients find the policy at their company. Insurance brokers can help you find policies at multiple companies. You can also submit requests for quotes yourself online.
When submitting applications for quotes, you will likely need to provide the following information:
- Name, address and phone number
- Social Security number
- Birth date
- Marital status
- Address of the rental property
- Start date for insurance
- Details on pets and occupants at the property
- Value of personal property to be covered
Be sure to compare coverage features across all policies, not just price. This will help make certain you don't get a more affordable policy that doesn't offer adequate coverage.
4. Review Your Renters Insurance Agreement Carefully
Before signing any documents or paying your first premiums, make sure to review your renters insurance agreement carefully. Verify your final cost, expected payment dates, coverage specifics and limits to make sure everything in the agreement is as expected.
Be clear about what is not covered by your renters insurance policy. For instance, renters insurance may not cover flooding. So if you live in a flood-prone area and are on a low floor, consider adding a supplemental policy along with your renters insurance to protect your belongings.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost for College Students?
Renters insurance premiums typically cost between $15 and $30 a month. Costs can vary depending on some features specific to the coverage you want and your own financial profile, such as:
- Your credit score: Some states permit insurers to use a credit-based insurance score that influences the price you pay for insurance. A better credit score could mean a lower insurance bill.
- Your deductible: The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in when an incident occurs. The lower your deductible, the higher your monthly payments—or premiums—are. If you can afford a higher deductible, you'll pay a lower monthly premium for your renters insurance.
- Your coverage needs: If you need your policy to cover several expensive items, it may cost more. Estimate your coverage needs as accurately as possible to only pay for what you need.
- Your location: Neighborhoods with more crime can result in higher costs for renters insurance. Opting for safety measures at your apartment like alarms and deadbolt locks may get you a discount.
College students on a tight budget may be able to reduce their renters insurance costs even more by negotiating the deductible or raising their credit score. To make sure that your credit score is in good shape before buying renters insurance, you can enroll in free credit monitoring from Experian.
College Renters Insurance Can Protect Your Belongings
Your life as a college student is busy enough. Don't spend valuable study time searching for renters insurance. Let Gabi®—a part of Experian—search for you.
Gabi can provide you with apples-to-apples policy comparisons so you can find the best coverage for the best price. Compare renters quotes with Gabi to find a renters insurance policy for college today.