Does My Roommate Need Renters Insurance Too? Insurance Tips for Apartment Sharing

Does My Roommate Need Renters Insurance Too? Insurance Tips for Apartment Sharing

Despite the unseasonably gloomy weather we’ve had in the Glens Falls and Queensbury area lately, summer is right around the corner. Graduation and wedding season are close to kicking off and college students will be heading home for summer break. All of that combined with the advantages of moving in nice weather tends to make this a time of year when many of us find ourselves changing up our living arrangements.

Finding an affordable apartment in your preferred location can take a bit of legwork, as can finding a roommate who’s a good match with your personality and living habits. But finding the perfect place to rent and the right person to share it with is often just the beginning of the story.

Many landlords require tenants to purchase and show proof of a renters insurance policy as a condition of their lease. This may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it’s a practice that protects both the landlord and the tenant if a tenant’s belongings are damaged or stolen, or if someone is injured within the apartment.

A landlord’s insurance policy will cover damage to the building in the event of a disaster. It won’t cover anything inside the apartments within in the building. Renters insurance will help with replacement or reimbursement costs associated with theft, accidents, and environmental damage, such as results from flooding or a fire.

Renters insurance also protects the tenant in instances where they’re responsible for property damage or loss. Even if it’s not a requirement, having a renters insurance policy is always a smart choice.

But how does renters insurance work when two or more people decide to share an apartment? Does everyone need their own policy, or can coverage be shared just like your living space and utility bills?

If one roommate has renters insurance, their coverage doesn’t automatically extend to the other roommate. Roommates can technically share a renters insurance policy as long as each person sharing the coverage is listed on the policy. However, this route isn’t typically recommended for a few reasons.

Most insurance carriers only allow two unrelated adults on one policy, so any additional roommates would need to purchase their own coverage anyway. If it comes time to file a claim, having more than one person under a policy can complicate the process. It’s difficult to know who needs to handle what aspects of making the claim and how to fairly distribute funds resulting from an approved claim. And any claims filed by one roommate would be reflected on the other roommate’s insurance record.

Plus, most renters insurance policies cap coverage amounts for different categories of expenses. Say that you and a roommate share a policy with a $1,500 limit on electronic claims. Your basement apartment floods one spring and both of your laptops, your cell phone, and your roommate’s iPad are destroyed. The total replacement cost of those items exceeds the $1,500 cap, and it will be up to the two of you to split the funds and determine who takes a loss.

The main reason people choose to share a renters insurance policy instead of purchasing separate coverage is cost savings. But, since renters insurance policies are often inexpensive-sometimes running as low as $10 a month- the financial benefit of policy sharing usually doesn’t outweigh the potential losses that could come from inadequate coverage from a split policy.

In comparison, if each roommate carries their own renters insurance policy, both are covered up to the full amounts of their individual policies in the event of a claim. So, you can both replace your laptops and other respective electronic devices without concern about their combined value topping out above an electronics claim limit. Each roommate handles their own claim, and claims made by one that don’t involve the other won’t follow the unaffected roommate into the future.

No matter how informed you are of your options, figuring out the best approach to getting sufficient renters insurance coverage be overwhelming. Don’t forget that the seasoned agents at O’Brien Insurance Agency are available to walk you through the process, start to finish. Contact us today and get ready to move into your new place with the confidence that you’re covered just in case the unexpected comes along!