Protect yourself, your stuff with renters insurance

Anthony Zacharyasz, Reporter

Renters insurance is one way for college students to protect their personal property and belongings while living in an apartment throughout their college years.

Renters insurance is a policy that anyone who is renting a home, condo or apartment can have to protect their possessions under circumstances including fire, flood or theft. Landlords do not offer renters insurance to their renters, which puts the responsibility of insuring one’s own items into the hands of the tenant.

Chris Sestak, a managing attorney for Kent State University’s Student Legal Services, said renters insurance not only covers one’s belongings, but also can provide protection of personal liability. Personal liability refers to the cause of someone else’s injury or damage on the rented property by the renter. There can be coverage to whatever extent the renters insurance plan may cover.

“A lot of the times, if the student doesn’t have insurance, the apartment’s insurance may pay for damages but that insurance company will go after whoever caused the damage,” Sestak said. “[The apartment’s insurance company] want to make sure there’s some source of liability that actually has money and drag in another insurance policy.”

Spencer Appell, a sophomore computer engineering major, lives in the Kent area at a nearby, off-campus apartment complex where he insured his personal belongings with renters insurance.

Appell said he called his insurance company after consulting with trusted adults on the best insurance company and policy to go with.

Insurance companies like Progressive, American Family and Nationwide all provide renters insurance. On Student Legal Services’ “Tips for Tenants” web page, it said college students should first check with their parents’ insurance provider.

A parents’ insurance provider may provide coverage for children who are temporarily living away from home. For Appell, that was the case for him, where he was able to fall under his parents’ policy to be covered for his belongings in his apartment. 

“The more policies you have with one company, the cheaper your rates are,” Sestak said. “A good policy is through an existing policy that you have with someone you trust.”

Once Appell was given approval for his renters’ insurance policy, he filed proper documentation with the apartment complex to prove he had insurance.

“I wanted to be covered for any damages on the property that I am living at,” Appell said.

When students are looking to live at an off-campus apartment complex, like University Edge or Paloma, formerly known as Latitude, their websites provide information on obtaining renters insurance. Their websites also state a renter should obtain renters insurance in the case of a flood or water damage, fire or theft, because if not, their personal possessions will not be insured.

Renters should look in advance to see what will be included within a lease agreement and if the place one is renting from will or will not include insurance within their agreements, Sestak said.

“Coverage for your personal belongings is not included as part of your lease agreement,” University Edge’s website stated. “Renters insurance is not required but highly recommended.”

On Paloma’s website, there is a brochure for residents interested in purchasing renters insurance through PeakMade Real Estate where it provides a feature to file a claim now, along with giving general monetary and coverage information.

Student Legal Services website stated that more expensive policies will pay to replace the renter’s belongings, while other policies may give a renter the cash value of an item at the time it was destroyed.

Student Legal Services is not permitted to pick out or provide a plan for students, Sestak said.

“We can tell them what it is, why it’s important and the ramifications for having it in your lease,” he said.

NerdWallet is a personal finance company that stated the average national monthly cost of renters insurance in 2022 is $15, according to their website The monthly average cost for the state of Ohio in 2022 is $17, the website stated.

The more valuable one’s possessions are, the more expensive of a plan one may get, Sestak said.

Avoid “shady” coverage options for renters insurance and find a plan from a company that is “legit,” he said.

“Renters insurance is generally reasonable in price and can provide coverage to renters items and valuables,” Sestak said.

Anthony Zacharyasz is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]