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Renters insurance for college students

You may not know you need renters insurance, but you do

Did you know that one of the top five places (according to the FBI) to have your laptop or phone stolen is on college campuses? Insuring your belongings can potentially save you (or your parents) a lot of money in replacement costs. Good renters insurance for college students also helps protect your other possessions like household items, clothing, electronics, college books, sports gear, and more.

Get $5/mo rent insurance

While you may not care about replacing your thrift store couch or takeout condiment collection, you may want to seriously consider getting affordable renters insurance to protect the things you do care about.

To save you research time, we answer the most common questions about renters insurance for college students and we have put together a list of the top insurance companies.

What is renters insurance?

Renters insurance helps you replace stolen or damaged belongings due to theft, vandalism, fire, or water damage. Did your laptop mysteriously disappear from the library? Covered. Did your espresso machine walk out of your dorm room on its own? Also covered.

Renters insurance also includes liability (financial protection from lawsuits) and property damage coverage which we will discuss below.

Do I need dorm or renters insurance? 

Off-campus students will need their own renters insurance policy. If you live in a dorm on-campus, you may be covered under your parent’s homeowners’ or renters insurance policy (as long as you’re listed as a dependent).

Make sure to ask your parents to officially add you and your address or request the extra coverage. And don’t forget to document your belongings so if something does happen you have proof of what you owned.

Living on-campusLiving off-campus
• See if you are covered under your parent’s policy OR get dorm insurance• Get your own renters insurance

• On-campus

Dorm insurance policies are helpful when you don’t have coverage under your parents’ policy and you’re living on-campus in official university housing because it is designed primarily for personal property claims and they tend to have WAY smaller deductibles — generally under $100.

An added bonus, in addition to theft, they’ll typically cover the loss if you lose or break something. However, unlike renter’s insurance, dorm insurance doesn’t offer liability or medical payment coverage.

• Off-campus

Renters insurance for college students who live off-campus is identical to renters insurance for non-students. This type of insurance provides personal property, liability, and property damage protection.

You’ll need to set a deductible, which is the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket to cover any loss before the insurance company covers the rest of your claim. 

Remember, the higher your deductible, the lower your monthly rate, but you need to be able to pay the deductible if something happens. So don’t set a deductible higher than you can easily pay.

Get $5/mo rent insurance

What does renters insurance cover?

Primarily renters insurance protects you in three ways. While policies vary, most insurance policies include these coverages:

  1. Personal property loss – This helps you replace stolen or damaged items. The great thing about property protection is that it covers your belongings wherever they are. For example, if your laptop gets stolen out of your car, you’d be covered. In addition, your policy will likely cover you if you damage someone else’s property inside or outside your home.
  2. Liability –  When someone is hurt in your rental, liability coverage helps cover the medical costs and potential legal costs of the injured person. If you don’t have liability coverage, you could be directly responsible for any costs the injured person incurs, or they could even try to sue you!
  3. Property damage – This will cover damage to your apartment or apartment building that you may have caused.

“The important thing about renters insurance is not only insuring your
personal property but providing liability coverage. An example of a
liability claim might be a kitchen stove fire that causes damage not only to
your unit but to other renters. It might be a small fire or one that burns
down the entire structure. At any point, you would be held financially
responsible, and unless you have $100,000+ on hand to pay for damages, a simple
$10-$12 a month renters insurance policy will provide you that liability
protection.” — John Espenschied, Owner, Insurance Brokers Group

What does renters insurance NOT cover?

Most basic renters insurance policies do not cover flooding, or other major natural disasters unless you have an additional rider on your policy.

Additionally, most basic policies do not cover unusually expensive items like your beloved $5,000 guitar or e-bike. They may also have payout limits on electronics or jewelry. If you need extra protection, you can easily add additional coverages to your policy.

How much renters insurance do college students need? 

As a general rule, you’ll probably want about $10,000 of coverage for personal property and $100,000 for personal liability. You can estimate how much coverage you need by making a list of your belongings and what their replacement cost would be.

Think electronics, clothes, jewelry, bicycles, cookware…anything you use in your daily life.

(While you’re at it, take pictures of all of these things and store the images online in case you ever have to file a claim). Save your receipts and user manuals for expensive items you purchase in case you need to prove ownership later.   

Roost Tip! Your roommate won’t be automatically covered with your renters insurance. You’ll need to add them to your policy and pay an increased premium, or your roommate will need to get their own renters insurance policy.

Companies who offer renters insurance for college students

There are a lot of companies that offer renters insurance, so you won’t have a hard time finding a policy. It takes less than five minutes to apply for a quote online.  Lemonade and Allstate offer some of the best renter insurance rates for college students. We also discovered that Assurant, which is partnered with Geico, covers roommates!

Roost Tip! To save, look for a provider that will give you a discount if you bundle with your parent’s coverage or your auto insurance. If you will be living in a dorm, check to see if your school offers a discounted option.

For more information about insurance companies, see our reviews for Best renters insurance companies.

How much does renters insurance cost?

You can expect to pay roughly $10-$20 per month for renters insurance. The average renters insurance cost in the U.S. is $168 per year or about $14 per month. With less coverage and a high deductible, you can get that number down.

Or if you bundle with your car insurance you might get a discount as well.

If you need additional coverage for expensive items or flood protection, your rate may go up. For more information about discounts, see 10 ways to lower your monthly premium.

Average renters insurance rates by state

Congrats UND and SDSU, you may have the lowest rates in the nation! Go fighting Hawks and Jackrabbits! Sorry, Ole Miss, Mississippi has some of the highest rates in the nation.

StateMonthly premiumAnnual premium
Alabama renters insurance$20$235
Alaska renters insurance$14$166
Arizona renters insurance$15$178
California renters insurance$18$212
Colorado renters insurance$15$182
Connecticut renters insurance$13$159
Delaware renters insurance$16$192
DC renters insurance$13$159
Florida renters insurance$13$158
Georgia renters insurance$16$188
Hawaii renters insurance$15$185
Idaho renters insurance$13$153
Illinois renters insurance$14$167
Indiana renters insurance$15$174
Iowa renters insurance$12$144
Kansas renters insurance$14$172
Kentucky renters insurance$14$168
Louisiana renters insurance$20$235
Maine renters insurance$12$149
Maryland renters insurance$13$161
Massachusetts renters insurance$16$194
Michigan renters insurance$15$182
Minnesota renters insurance$12$140
Mississippi renters insurance$22$258
Missouri renters insurance$14$173
Montana renters insurance$12$146
Nebraska renters insurance$12$143
Nevada renters insurance$15$178
New Hampshire renters insurance$12$149
New Jersey renters insurance$14$165
New Mexico renters insurance$16$187
New York renters insurance$16$194
North Carolina renters insurance$13$157
North Dakota renters insurance$10$120
Ohio renters insurance$15$175
Oklahoma renters insurance$20$236
Oregon renters insurance$14$163
Pennsylvania renters insurance$13$158
Rhode Island renters insurance$15$182
South Carolina renters insurance$16$188
South Dakota renters insurance$10$123
Tennessee renters insurance$17$199
Texas renters insurance$19$232
Utah renters insurance$13$151
Vermont renters insurance$13$155
Virginia renters insurance$13$152
Washington renters insurance$14$163
West Virginia renters insurance$16$188
Wisconsin renters insurance$11$134
Wyoming renters insurance$12$147
National average renters insurance$14$173

Source: Insurance information institute

How do I apply for renters insurance?

It is easy to get a renters insurance quote online with most companies.

To request a quote you’ll need your full name, rental address, email address, birthday, the estimated value of your personal belongings, the security features of the building (such as alarms and security gates), and a list of possible add-ons you might need.

When you accept the quote and continue to purchase the insurance they will ask for your SSN and run your credit. Your quoted rate may be adjusted based on your credit.

How to file a renters insurance claim

Hopefully, you never need to file a claim. But if you do, act quickly. To get more info on the process and tips on how to get your claim approved without hassle, check out how to file a renters insurance claim.  

Roost Tip! Call your renters insurance company within 48 hours of the event. Have your policy number, detailed notes, receipts (if applicable), and photos ready to send. You may also be asked for a police report.

Moving forward with renters insurance

Renters insurance may not be on the front of your mind when you are in college, but taking a few minutes to create a personal inventory and making sure you have basic coverage will help you push one college stressor aside.

Get $5/mo rent insurance

A quick note! Our goal is to gather and share info that’s up-to-date and helps you make great decisions as a renter. That said, the information you get directly from a provider could be a little different. Make sure to review their terms and conditions directly; and, if you see anything here that needs to be updated, please let us know! Advertising disclosure
Last Updated: April 18th, 2023