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How to Protect Yourself & Your Stuff at School: Tenant Insurance

You buy laptops, smartphones, and tablets for school, knowing that you’ll use them all the time. Tenant insurance – the kind that covers you and all your personal “stuff” – on the other hand, is a product you buy and hope you’ll never use. Tenant insurance gives you peace of mind knowing that your possessions are protected, so you can focus on your studies.

The Importance of Tenant Insurance

First, a few examples to explain the value of tenant’s insurance.

On your drive to school, you pull off the road for lunch. You return to a smashed-in window and a stolen laptop. Tenant’s insurance will help replace your computer, while your student car insurance will help with the smashed window.

You run home from class during heavy rainfall to find your basement apartment 3ft deep in water. If you need to live elsewhere for a few months while the landlord pays for repairs – tenant insurance can help.

A friendly get together turns into a roaring party, and an uninvited guest injures themselves and pursues you for compensation. Incredulous, but possible. Your renter’s insurance will cover any related liability expenses, even potential legal fees.

Insurance is there to cover the high costs of sudden and unexpected events. It can make difficult financial situations much easier to handle.

How Tenant Insurance Works

Before buying insurance yourself, ask your parents, or call their insurance provider and ask if their policy covers students both on and off-campus.

Many insurance companies extend a typical home insurance policy to cover student belongings while they’re away from home and living on campus. However, once the student gets into their own shared home with friends or an off-campus apartment further away from school, the insurance provider may not offer the same coverage.

To save money, see if you can put your tenant’s insurance on your parents’ plan with their home and auto insurance. Typically, there are multi-product discounts. If that’s not an option, head to your student union or administrative office on campus and ask if they are affiliated with any providers. There might be a low priced group insurance opportunity you could be eligible for. Lastly, don’t be afraid to search for a tenant insurance quote online and compare prices across multiple providers in minutes. We’d recommend looking into all of these options before making a decision.

For a small monthly fee (cheaper if you pay annually), you can protect yourself and your stuff from any added drama and expenses from a risk becoming a reality. Tenant insurance for students typically costs between $12-$20 per month. The price will vary based on your location, your living situation, and the cost of your valuables.

Making an Insurance Claim

Claims can be tedious and time-consuming. For a smoother process, follow these tips.

When you first purchase insurance, practice due diligence, and take an inventory:

  • Take pictures and keep receipts in a safe place for all the items you’re insuring. There are apps (e.g. Sortly) that help you, digital copies are always easy to retrieve.
  • Document the value of each item and their age (in case you don’t have the receipt).
  • Make note of your insurance policy number and claims phone number for easy reference if you need to make a claim.
  • Note any deductible you have to pay if you make a claim.

To make a claim:

  • Call your insurance company to explain what happened.
  • Inform them what’s lost, damaged, or stolen to your contents and property.
  • Your provider may send out an insurance claims adjuster to review the incident and losses.
  • Ask when you can expect to receive the money, and if you can buy the items now or do you have to wait. If so, how long?

Keep in mind:

  • Actual cash value or replacement cost: Depending on your policy, there may be depreciation factored in. Your 4-year-old, $2,000 laptop may only be worth $1,500 today.
  • Your deductible: Before receiving any money, you’ll likely have to pay a deductible. It’s the portion you pay before the insurance company pays out the rest. You set your deductible when buying an insurance policy. Depending on your insurer, it could be as low as $100 or as high as $2,500, but it’s typically about $500. The higher the deductible, the cheaper your premium will be.

What Does Tenant Insurance Cover?

In formal terms, tenant’s insurance covers three risks.

Contents insurance protects your possessions and valuables. It includes items such as: your couch, TV, clothing, appliances, and gadgets. To determine how much contents insurance you need, make an inventory list of all the items you wish to insure, including the approximate value. Then simply add up the total and that should give you a rough estimate of what you need. It could be $10,000 or even $25,000 – the more you have to insure, the costlier it becomes.

Additional living expenses pay for you to live away from your apartment while it’s being repaired. It pays for a hotel stay and any related expenses such as laundry, internet fees, and transportation.

Liability pays for damage to other people’s property or if someone injures themselves in your space. Suppose a courier falls on your icy steps or you accidentally throw a baseball through a neighbour’s window – liability can pay for the injuries and repairs.

What Tenant Insurance Does Not Cover

Tenant insurance is not a maintenance plan. If your laptop breaks from misuse or due to wear and tear, don’t expect your insurance to replace it. Should theft, fire, flood, or other known risk destroy your laptop, you can use your insurance.

If you plan on subletting your apartment in the summer, your tenant insurance won’t help the subletter. Nor will it protect anything you leave behind. The subletter would need their own insurance and you probably want to check in with your insurer and landlord before you decide to sublet to make sure you’re in good standing with both.

The Bottom Line

For the same price as a subscription to Netflix or Spotify, you can have the protection you need with tenant’s insurance. The cost of being a student is rising, so the last thing you need to worry about is how you’ll replace your stuff if something unfortunate happens. The right insurance coverage will give you peace of mind so you can focus on more important things!