What you need to know about renters insurance for students
Renters insurance (also called tenant insurance) is home insurance for renters. It provides the money to replace stolen or destroyed belongings.
Tenant insurance is a form of home insurance, but unlike home insurance, it doesn’t cover the structure; your landlord will have their own home insurance for that. Home insurance for landlords generally doesn’t cover tenant possessions because your stuff isn’t your landlord’s responsibility.
Like home insurance, student tenant insurance carries liability coverage if you damage someone else’s property or cause accidental injury. And in a place like college or university with everything going on at all hours of the day and night, the chances of accidentally causing damage or injury to someone else is quite high.
Consider one of the following scenarios and how easy each would be to happen:
- A pair of buddies from the Classical Music program enter themselves into a Battle of the Bands contest and make it to the finals. To make a big splash at the big show, they incorporate pyrotechnics into their act. As it turns out, getting the fireworks to shoot in the right direction isn’t as easy as it looked on the online tutorial.
- A PhD candidate in the chemistry department had a Eureka moment she had to pursue on her back deck before bringing the idea to her program director. While her hypothesis wound up being true, the resulting reaction blew a six-foot-wide hole in the deck.
- After coming home as the sun was rising after an all-nighter, a tired students gets herself a small glass of water before retiring for some much-needed rest. In anticipation of the lovely morning to come, she forgets to turn the kitchen tap off and sleeps the day away while flooding the apartment downstairs.
If something similar happens to you, your student tenant insurance will kick in and give you the money for a lawyer to defend you if you’re sued for your role in the incident, and for covering the financial cost of any damages you cause.
If you don’t have student tenant insurance — and depending on what you accidentally broke or who you accidentally hurt — you could be looking at very light pockets for a very long time.
The cost of tenant insurance for college students
Tenant insurance costs an average of $210/year. Divided by eight months of the school year, that comes to $26.25/month. It’s not a ton of money in the grand scheme of things, but it may seem like a lot to a college or university student with student loans and two part-time jobs. Also, students are just a few months removed from pandemic life where many of them couldn’t work because their jobs were in hospitality, food and beverage, or retail. So, yes, some hesitation is completely understandable, especially when one thinks about what else a college student could do with an extra $26.25 every month.
But here’s the reality: Would you rather have two fewer deluxe specialty coffees every 30 days, or would you rather have to come up with the money to replace your possessions, find a new place to live or defend yourself in court — which could wind up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars?
When you think about it that way, the $26.25 a month doesn’t seem like such a burden. And even if nothing happens and you never have to access that money, knowing that you’re covered if your property is damaged or if you damage someone else’s property is the kind of freeing peace of mind that gives students the lightness to live out their undergrad dreams.
What’s the best renters insurance for students?
The average college or university kid (or their parents) might say it’s the one that offers the most coverage with the lowest premiums. That should certainly carry weight in the decision, but these other factors should also be considered:
- The renters insurance provider’s pedigree: Are they an established company in Ontario? Do they have a solid underwriter with a history of fairly and accurately assessing risk? Are you confident that the money will be there if you need it?
- The renters insurance provider’s communication style: Are they up front about what would and would not be included in their coverage? And do they use simple language to share that information with you? If not, are they trying to sneak something past you in the jargon?
- The renters insurance provider’s customer service: Will they insure you quickly and with relatively little hassle? Or will they give you the runaround and take precious time away from your return to campus and all the fun that comes with that?
- The renters insurance provider’s customer sensibility: Do they seem to get where you are in your life and where your mind’s at? Do they appreciate that your needs might be different from, say, a renter in their 40s with two young kids? And do they seem like they understand where you’re going to be in the future so you don’t have to go looking for a new insurance provider in the future?
A student tenant insurance product that ticks all these boxes and also offers value with their coverage is the one you want to be considering. And don’t worry if it takes a minute. Insurance can be complicated for insurance professionals, much less students who’ve never had experience with insurance or insurance products.