How to Decide if You Should Share Renters Insurance with a Roommate

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A renters insurance policy can help protect you from damage to or loss of your personal belongings if you rent a house or apartment. Some insurance companies allow roommates to share policies with each other. The big question is: Should you, and what do you need to know before sharing a policy with your roommate? This article has the answers.

How Renters Insurance Works

Normally, home insurance covers your personal belongings if you own your property, but what options do you have if you rent? If you rent a house or apartment, you should consider getting renters insurance.
Renters insurance pays to replace your personal belongings if they get damaged in an accident such as a fire, are stolen, or are lost as a result of a natural disaster. In addition, renters insurance provides some liability protection if someone is hurt in your rental unit or if a neighbor’s belongings get damaged in a mishap originating on your property.
To determine if you need renters insurance, think about whether you could afford to replace all of your personal belongings if they are damaged or stolen. If the answer is no, then you need renters insurance.
Whether you are required to have renters insurance or not depends primarily on your landlord. Some landlords require it and some don’t; just make sure to check before signing the lease agreement.
A renters insurance policy usually costs around $10 a month, which is a small price to pay to protect your personal belongings against the unexpected.
How much protection you need depends on how big of a rental house or apartment you have. A smaller apartment or house with little furniture does not require as much coverage as a larger living space filled with more belongings.

Can You Share Renters Insurance with a Roommate, and Should You?

The simple answer to whether you can share renters insurance with a roommate is yes. Many insurance companies offer renters insurance to roommates.
Whether or not you should share renters insurance with your roommate depends on your circumstances. Some of the downsides of sharing a renters insurance policy with your roommate are as follows:
  • A claim goes on your policy, regardless of whether it’s yours or not. This shows up in your personal insurance history.
  • What happens if you or your roommate move? You need to come to an agreement before sharing a renters insurance policy on how to handle things if someone moves.
Some insurance companies recommend that roommates each have their own renters insurance policy. That way, each roommate bears the responsibility for the cost of their own policy and can establish their own separate insurance history.
If you do share renters insurance with a roommate, make sure everyone is clear on the time commitment expected of each person. You also need to decide who pays what amount beforehand, especially if one roommate has personal belongings that are worth far more than the other roommate’s.
To share a policy, sit down and talk with everyone involved and come to a decision on how much insurance to get, the length of policy, and who pays what. You should also do the following:
  • Determine how much you own: Taking an inventory represents the easiest way to determine the worth of your personal belongings. Keep in mind that you need to opt for a coverage amount that pays to replace items that are damaged or lost. So use prices for new items when calculating the worth of your belongings.
  • Talk to an agent: Once you know how much protection everyone needs, talk to an insurance agent. An agent can help you determine if a shared policy is best, or if separate polices might make more sense. An agent can also help you determine how much coverage you need, if you have any questions.
  • Look for discounts: Finally, while shopping for an affordable renters insurance policy, look for discounts to save money. Many insurance companies offer discounts to people who bundle various policies together. Insurance discounts are also offered for homes and apartments with various security or fire protection devices, such as burglar and smoke alarms.
If you believe that your roommate is reliable and you can trust them financially, you might want to consider sharing a renters policy with them. Before doing so, make sure everyone is clear about the length of the policy and who’s paying what amount each month. Then find a plan that offers the coverage amount you need.

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