Poor Students Should STILL Consider Dorm Room Renters Insurance
The dorm lifestyle is an essential part of the on-campus college experience. Sharing your living space with others, communal bathrooms, and the sounds of someone plummeting from their bunk bed at 3AM all help you appreciate having your own space when you’re older.
But when you’re living in the dorms, you’ve got people going in and out of your room all the time. You might be having friends over, hosting parties, studying with classmates, even giving your family a tour of the shoe box you share with 1 or more fellow students.
It doesn’t take much for one of your guests to “walk out” with your laptop, a rowdy classmate to accidentally break your TV, or an even rowdier party-goer hurt themselves in your dorm room.
As a student, you aren’t exactly rich. Replacing that stolen laptop or damaged TV won’t be in the budget for you, let alone covering medical and legal costs for someone who hurt themselves.
But just like you can insure your car against accidents and insure your health against injury and disease, you can insure your possessions with renter’s insurance.
What Does Dorm Room Renter’s Insurance Cover?
Renter’s insurance is made up of 3 types of coverage:
- Personal property – Protects the value of your belongings against nearly every type of damage, even anywhere in the world, including most natural disasters.
- Liability – Protects you against financial damages if a guest does something with your belongings or if you injure a guest by accident or if they injure themselves in your rental.
- Additional living expenses – Covers temporary meals/housing if you can’t live in your rental for awhile due to damage.
A common misconception is that your landlord (or education institution if you live in the dorms) is responsible for damages to your property. In reality, they’re only responsible for damage to your apartment that wasn’t caused by you. For example, if your toilet floods through no fault of your own, that landlord is responsible.
But they aren’t responsible for the damage to your beautiful, soft bathroom rug because that’s your property.
This is mainly what renter’s insurance covers. In fact, some landlords require renters to get renter’s insurance.
Benefits and Costs of Renter’s Insurance
Renter’s insurance’s most obvious benefit is the protection of your property. Depending on your policy, potentially all your property could be covered if something happens to it.
And like we said earlier, having a policy grants you access to more potential apartments/houses to rent.
Other benefits include:
- Medical expenses for guests – Most renter’s insurance policies cover medical bills, usually up to $5,000, that a guest may incur if injured at your apartment.
- Legal costs – If the above guest sues you, the liability insurance can cover your legal costs.
- Liability insurance – Did your kid break your neighbor’s fancy antique? Renter’s insurance might cover that.
- Rented and borrowed property – Your policy can also cover property you borrow or rent from someone else.
The best part? Renter’s insurance is insanely cheap. As of 2019, the average renter’s insurance monthly premium is about $16 per month. Dorm renter’s insurance might be a couple bucks more, but prices are generally comparable.
If you can’t afford renter’s insurance, cutting just one of your subscription services or even going out to eat once less per month will yield you plenty money to afford it. Learn to budget properly and you can easily fit this in.
The small premium will be worth it if your dorm ever floods (or something else)!
First, Check If You’re Covered Through Your Parents or Car Insurance Company
Before purchasing a renter’s insurance policy, check to see if you have any rental insurance coverage under one of your parents’ insurance policies or even under your car insurance policy.
College students who live at home are generally covered completely under their parent’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance plan.
Students who live in the dorms usually qualify for some (but not full) form of renter’s insurance coverage, although nowhere near as comprehensive as a full-blown renter’s insurance policy.
One Small Problem
Insurance companies already consider college students risky, but living in the dorms makes them even more fearful for the reasons we illustrated earlier.
Thus, getting dorm room renter’s insurance is a bit more complex than if you lived in your own apartment. Not every company carries dorm-specific renter’s insurance.
That being said, here are some of the best dorm room renter’s insurance companies. Shop policies from these providers to find the best coverage at the lowest rate.
Top 3 Best Dorm Room Renters Insurance Companies
Navigating the insurance market for the first time is scary. There’re too much legalese to understand, forms to fill out, and simply filing a claim can be a headache and a half.
Lemonade aims to fix that with it’s ultra-simple approach to getting insurance. Like Prosper for personal loans, it operates on a P2P insurance model. This means that money is pooled together like normal, but there’s no incentive for a “provider” to keep the premiums that aren’t paid out as claims.
This eliminates the incentive to make it hard to file a claim and receive a payout; all they do is take 20% of your premiums to cover the costs of running Lemonade. However, if you do have unclaimed money on your plan, you can opt to have it donated to a charity of your choice.
Lemonade has plenty of other great features:
- Apply for insurance and make claims in their app
- Personalized insurance plans crafted by Lemonade’s AI
- Very fast response times
- Policies starting as low as $5
Lemonade might be the best choice for most college students who need a no-frills, budget-friendly insurance plan.
Allstate is an extremely popular insurance provider. They have dorm-specific renter’s insurance plans for college students.
Where Allstate shines is bundling renter’s insurance with auto insurance. If you’re bringing a car to the dorms, Allstate might be your company.
Rates start as low as $4 per month, and applying is easy: you can either fill out their intuitive online application or contact an Allstate agent by phone to set up your plan if you need help.
Are you or your parents current of former members of the armed forces? USAA has some amazing dorm room renter’s insurance rates for you.
But great rates for military members and veterans is only scratching the surface. USAA’s policies offer tons of benefits (including events not covered by other companies), such as
- Flood protection (usually costs extra)
- Bring your insurance wherever you move
- Could get your insurance for “free” if bundles with car insurance
Important Things to Note About Dorm Room Renter’s Insurance
No matter what insurance company you go with, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for dorm room renter’s insurance.
- Get multiple quotes – A key when shopping for any financial product. Shop around so you can get the best rate for the coverage you need.
- Record keeping – You need to keep records of your valuables (perhaps an Excel spreadsheet), as well as proof of ownership. Receipts, photos, deeds, etc. all work for proof. Following these tips will make the claims process easier for you.
- Roommate – Your policy is YOUR policy, not your roommate’s. Therefore, their stuff is not covered at all. This makes keeping proof of ownership and records even more important so there are no mix-ups. In addition, you can potentially bank some cash by referring your roommate to your insurance provider if they have a referral program.
- Pests – Renter’s insurance doesn’t cover pests. Have your university take care of any pest problems as soon as possible.
- Accidental damage – Accidental damage (such as dropping your laptop on the floor) isn’t covered by renter’s insurance. Don’t get careless with your stuff.
- Be careful! – Again, don’t be careless. You have renter’s insurance in case something breaks or someone gets hurt, but that doesn’t mean to abuse the policy. Take measure to keep property and guests safe, relying on your insurance only as a last resort.
All in all, dorm room renter’s insurance is more of an investment than an expense.
Think about it: you might get sick of paying for car insurance, but those premiums pay off when you smash into a guard rail.
Likewise, your renter’s insurance premiums might seem like a nuisance until someone steals or breaks your stuff.
So if you care about your stuff yet don’t have the budget to replace it, get yourself some dorm room renter’s insurance. At $20 per month or less, it’s one of the highest-return “investments” you can make.