Is Renters Insurance for College Students Required?

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Renters insurance can protect millions of college students’ valuable possessions. While not required by law, it is recommended for students who are living away from home while going to college. For a relatively low monthly fee, renters insurance can help replace lost, stolen or damaged textbooks, clothes, electronics and other possessions. Your landlord’s insurance protects the building and structure, but in the event of a disaster or burst pipes, you are responsible for your belongings within the rental unit. Renters insurance, also known as HO-4, protects renters' items from damage or theft.

When Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?

Students living off campus should purchase renters insurance. Even if the landlord does not require it, renters insurance helps protect personal belongings from theft, fire and water damage. It also protects students from personal liability if someone is injured in their rental.

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance for Dorm Rooms?

Students living in a dorm may be covered under their parent's homeowners insurance policy but it’s important to ask your agent about adding the student to the policy. Some insurers offer a "student living away at school" rider, which allows parents to add their child’s dorm room to the policy. There may be an age limit, however. Typically, full-time students under the age of 24 are covered.

The amount of coverage college a student has with their parent’s home insurance is limited. For example: if the parents' home insurance policy includes $100,000 in personal property coverage, but it only covers 10% of damages outside of the home, the coverage limit would be $10,000.

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance for Off-campus Housing?

A parent’s homeowners insurance will not extend to housing that is not a college dorm. If a student lives off-campus, the landlord may ask them to purchase renters insurance. Even when not required, it’s good protection in case a laptop is stolen or if there is a burst pipe that destroys books and clothes. If the student’s roommate has renters insurance, it won’t extend to their possessions. Each roommate should have their own policies.

Students living off campus should purchase renters insurance to protect their belongings.

How Much Renters Insurance Do College Students Need?

The amount of renters insurance you need depends on the quality and quantity of possessions. One way to determine the value of your stuff is to walk through the apartment and take pictures of everything. Include high-value items like electronics, jewelry and clothes. It’s easy to look up how much each item costs online in order to tally the estimates. Your best bet is to round up to the nearest $10k. If all together your phone, laptop, camera, musical instruments, furniture, bike and clothing add up to around $15,000, your best bet is to buy $20K in personal property coverage. Most students probably won’t need more than $30,000 in coverage.

How Much Is Renters Insurance for College Students?

While the average cost of renters insurance is around $17.80 per month, the price varies according to factors that include the location of your apartment, the deductible, the amount of coverage you need and the insurer you choose. Plus, you may get lower rates if you live close to a fire station or far from a flood zone. Keep in mind that the higher you set your deductible, the lower your premium will be each month.

monthly renters insurance costs for college students by company versus national average in bar graph

College Students Renters Insurance

Tips To Get Renters Insurance for College Students

Understand How Much Renters Insurance You Need

Buy enough coverage to cover the value of your possessions. You don’t want too little coverage, but the more you increase your coverage, the more money you will pay monthly. The key is to properly assess the value of what you own and buy the appropriate amount of insurance. You should compare different renters insurance quotes to find the cheapest rate. Additionally, many insurance carriers will allow you to bundle renters insurance with car insurance for additional savings.

Understand What Your Renters Insurance Covers

Consider what items you will be bringing with you to your apartment. Renters insurance covers standard items like clothing, furniture and electronics. However, if you have high-end items and expensive jewelry or equipment, you may need a rider to ensure adequate coverage. You may even want to consider leaving super valuable items at home.

Students living in a dorm may be covered under their parent's homeowners insurance if named on the policy.

Understand Your Deductible

Your deductible is how much you can expect to pay when you file a claim. For example, if a fire damages $2,000 worth of your possessions, and you have a $500 deductible, your insurer will pay $1,500. You will have to pay the remaining $500 out of pocket. The higher your deductible, the less you have to pay monthly.


Is renters insurance offered by colleges or universities?

Colleges or universities don’t generally offer renters insurance. Your best bet is to shop around for a policy that fits your budget and needs.

Do grad students need renters insurance?

Because of their age, graduate students are not typically covered under their parents’ homeowners insurance so they will have to buy renters insurance to protect their possessions.

Does renters insurance cover students responsible for injuries or damages?

If someone was injured in your rental unit or their property was damaged and you are responsible, personal liability coverage may pay for injuries and damages, up to your renters policy’s limits.

Key Takeaways

  • Renters insurance protects your items in case of a fire, theft or other disaster.
  • Renters insurance doesn't cover your roommate. If you have roommates, each roommate should get their own policy.
  • On-campus students may be covered under their parents’ homeowners insurance.

Protect Your Assets With Renters Insurance

With a renters insurance policy, students living off-campus can protect themselves from a financial setback if their items are damaged or destroyed. SmartFinancial can help you shop around for a renters insurance policy that fits your coverage needs. All you have to do is enter your zip code below and answer a few questions to see who will offer you the best rate in your area.

Get a Free Renters Insurance Quote.