Off-campus life needs a little renter’s insurance

Emily Nordquist

Any student living off campus who has had a party can tell you things happen to personal belongings. But many do not realize how valuable their possessions are until they need to replace them.

“My friends have house parties all the time, and they have had so many things stolen and broken,” Zoe Surratt-Duncanson, senior art history major, said. “It has been everything from small stuff, like stolen dishes and shower gel, to about seven or eight broken windows.”

Renter’s insurance is a good idea for students moving into an apartment or house off-campus and are worried about their belongings. It offers coverage for personal belongings and protection from liability if there is an accident in the residence.

Bonnie Adamson, a licensed insurance agent for State Farm Insurance, said renters do not realize they can be held accountable if something happens to their residents.

“If you have a kitchen fire or something and someone gets hurt, you could be held responsible,” she said. “It can end up costing a lot and following you until you pay in full.”

Adamson also said a major misconception of students who are renting is they are covered by their landlord’s insurance. In most cases, the owner of the house or apartment offers minimal or no coverage to the renter. It depends on the landlord and the insurance. Some students are still covered under their parents’ policy.

Surratt-Duncanson, who is apartment hunting for next school year, said she was thinking about getting insurance.

“We live in a college town and things happen; I don’t want to lose all of my stuff or be held financially responsible if something happens to someone,” Surratt-Duncanson said. “It is one thing to say I want renter’s insurance; it is another to say I will have the money to pay for it.”

Most college students are discouraged by the financial commitment of monthly payments. It is important to determine how much belongings are worth when considering insurance. Insure.com, an informational directory of insurance providers, suggests taking an inventory of belongings to decide the risks of going without insurance.

Someone interested in a policy should consider how much he or she is willing to pay out of the pocket after something like a theft or fire as opposed to how much he or she is willing to pay each month in premiums.

Contact student life reporter Emily Nordquist at [email protected]