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Should Roommates Share a Renters Insurance Policy?

December 4, 2017

More Americans are renting more today than in the last 50 years. According to the Pew Research Center, the current rate of Americans renting exceeds the record-setting rate of 36.2% in 1986. 

As this trend continues, it is imperative to understand the benefits of individual renters policies, especially when living with one or more roommates. If you or someone you know shares their apartment or condo, ask if they have a renters policy. It can go a long way.

What you will learn:

What is Renters Insurance? 

Your landlord or property manager likely carries property insurance for your building. However, this does not cover your personal possessions. 

A renters policy offers coverage for your possessions and other material objects not included within your property. You or someone you know, can probably relate to one of these losses:

  • Belongings ruined because of water damage 
  • Stolen jewelry or electronics
  • You lose property (or everything) in the event of a fire

Renters insurance is made up of two central coverages: Property Coverage and Liability Coverage.

Renters Insurance Property Coverage.

In addition to covering personal possessions, renters property coverage provides loss of use. Should there be a fire in your building and you are required to vacate, this coverage will pay for a hotel or other living accommodations until the damage is repaired. 

Renters Insurance Liability Coverage.

Renters liability coverage protects you and your guests from unintended damages to your property along with accidents that occur within your home.

If you leave the water running and consequently flood your apartment (including the one below you), liability coverage would cover the damages up to the policy’s limit. Furthermore, liability coverage would protect you against lawsuits while financing the case-related expenses. 

Should Roommates Share Renters Insurance?

If you have one or more roommates, it is crucial for each roommate to get an individual policy rather than share one renters policy because:

  • If your roommate(s) gets sued, you could be implicated. If your roommate finds him or herself in a sticky situation, a shared policy means you could be part of a potential lawsuit. This would be highly inconvenient and it might mean higher premiums in the future.
  • You don’t share personal possessions. If your roommate has a lot of valuables and you don’t, you could be looped into paying far more than your fair share of premium.
  • Sharing a policy gets complicated. Sharing a policy means you need to make sure your roommate pays their part of the bill. However, things can really get dicey at the time of a claim. The check will be made out to both of you, even if it’s just your stuff that was damaged or stolen.
A Millennial's Take

As a college student, I know that anyone who has lived with another individual understands that sometimes, worst case scenarios happen. If an accident occurs in a shared living space, having an individual policy for each roommate is the most effective and efficient option for everyone involved. 

* Credit: This post was written by SAHOURI. intern, Parth Subramanian, pictured with Chobani Yogurt CEO at the 2017 World Bank Meetings.



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