Renter’s insurance: ‘the cover-your-butt theory’

Jessica Dreschel

According to insurance agencies, surprisingly few college students invest in renter’s insurance, even though companies say it’s important.

Renter’s insurance protects your personal property. If your stuff is stolen or destroyed, your insurance agency will give you money to replace belongings, Allstate Insurance agent Margaret Chuparkoff said.

Your landlord’s homeowners insurance covers structural damage, but what if your stereo or vintage comic book collection gets stolen?

How much money you get to replace valuables depends on the amount you are insured for. Some insurance agencies have a minimum coverage amount and some let the renter choose as little or as much as they need, said De Vaul Buntain Insurance agent Pam Hylton. Most people’s possessions are worth at least $10,000.

“If you look around at your clothes, your shoes, stereo, plates, everything; it starts to add up,” Hylton said.

There are a few factors that determine the premium, or rate a renter will pay, said Gimbel Insurance agent Michele Moore. They include: apartment location, type, size and number of apartments in the complex.

How the factors affect rate price varies among agencies, Moore said. A person’s credit rating can also affect the policy’s cost, Moore said.

For example, at the Gimbel Agency, good credit can reduce a policy’s rate by up to 10 percent, Moore said. Bad credit can increase it by 10 to 15 percent, he added.

Brick houses are cheaper to insure than frame homes. Brick will not be as damaged as a frame home would be in a fire, Moore said.

Insurance also covers renter’s liability. If someone gets hurt in your apartment, renter’s insurance can cover your court costs, said State Farm Insurance agent Bonnie Adamson.

Also, if you leave the stove on and burn down your apartment, liability coverage can protect you if your landlord tries to sue you for damages, Adamson said.

“Basically it’s the cover-your-butt theory,” said Landi Decker, landlord at Silver Meadows Apartments.

Contact academic technology reporter Jessica Dreschel at [email protected].