Should Students Get Renters Insurance for Their College Dorm?

Ancillary Coverages, Risk Management, Student Affairs

This is a great question and one more and more students and parents are asking.

Moving out of the house and onto your college campus is an exciting transition that comes with plenty of new considerations:

  • Where and how to get food
  • How to select classes
  • What extracurriculars to join
  • How to balance priorities
  • And plenty of other social activities of course!

Two other considerations are “what happens if my stuff gets stolen or damaged in the dorm?”, and “what if someone else gets hurt in my dorm room?”.

With all of the responsibilities and opportunities that come with the college transition, constantly worrying about these factors is an unwelcome addition!

For some, the answer to “should I get renters insurance for my dorm?” may be a quick and simple yes if your college mandates this for students living on campus.

In this case, you may have two scenarios:

  1. Your school has preselected insurance options for you and you will choose from those during the student onboarding process, or
  2. You have full autonomy to select the renters insurance of your choice (typically provided it meets certain minimum requirements) and then you will need to provide your residential life or housing office with proof of purchase

But What if Your School Doesn’t Require Renters Insurance, Should You Still Purchase It?

Ultimately this decision is up to you and your personal level of risk tolerance, but considering the minimal cost (roughly $60-$70 per semester), many students and parents decide it is well worth it to remove the stress of:

  • Stolen property
  • Damaged devices and other property
  • Costs from bodily injury incurred by guests

Below we’ve outlined some additional information to help you with this decision, including whether or not you should use your homeowners insurance to cover this need.

So What Exactly Does Dorm Renters Insurance Cover?

This will vary depending on your renters insurance provider, but in general, it will cover:

  • Bodily injury/medical bills for others when you are at fault or liable
  • Medical payments to others, regardless of who is at fault. Typically a far smaller amount than bodily injury coverage given its flexibility
  • Personal property damage or theft with a coverage amount set per occurrence. Around $8,000 – $10,000 on average with a $250 – $500 deductible
  • Additional living expenses if property damage causes the dorm to be unlivable (i.e. covering hotel costs while repairs are made)

What About My Parent’s Homeowners Insurance? Can I Use That?

While this can be an available option, it does come with several downsides that should be considered when weighing homeowners insurance vs. renters insurance, including:

  • Homeowners insurance may require paying for additional ‘umbrella’ coverages for personal property and liability in order for the student to be covered
  • Homeowners personal property coverages typically carry a $500 to $1,000+ per-incident deductible whereas renters insurance deductibles may be as low as half that
  • Off-premise (not at parent’s home) property is typically limited to 10% of the homeowners insurance contents/personal property coverage, which on average equates to $1,000 to $5,000 in coverage. This is around half of what a renters insurance policy would cover
  • Special limits typically apply to certain property such as:
    • Jewelry = $1,500
    • Watches = $1,500
    • Precious Stones = $1,500
    • Money/Gold/Coins/Silver = $200
  • And if a student’s claim is filed under their parent’s homeowners insurance policy, this opens up the potential for an insurance rate increase or in drastic cases, policy cancellation.

The Bottom Line Regarding Renters Insurance for College Students

Unfortunately, there are countless examples of things that can and do go wrong while students are off living on campus. Considering the cost of renters insurance for the dorm may be just $120-$150 for a whole school year, a single average covered incident and ultimately the peace of mind it provides should justify the investment.

Safeware works with schools and organizations across the country to provide students with quality, cost-effective renters insurance solutions. 

If you are a parent or student looking for an individual student renters insurance solution, we’ve got you covered.

If you are a college or university looking to offer a renters insurance solution to students and families, we’d be happy to discuss your opportunities and how we partner with schools like yours today.

Safeware is a subsidiary of One80 Intermediaries, a sister company AcademicHealthPlans.