Splitting the cost of everything is one of the primary reasons to get a roommate. You can share your rent, your utilities—even your groceries, if you’re so inclined. When it comes to renters insurance; however, you may want to think about it a little more before completing any of the paperwork.
What is Renters Insurance?
You have car insurance to protect your vehicle and home owners insurance to insure your house, but when you’re not in a position of ownership, you need a slightly different form of protection. Although you’re renting the property you’re living in, anything that you bring inside is a different story. Therefore, renters insurance is there to cover all of your possessions within the residence in case anything happens. In the event of fire, water damage, or theft, this provides benefits so you’re not paying to replace the items out of your own pocket. This feature is generally built into a home owner’s policy, so the owner isn’t paying for multiple policies, but as a renter, you’re pretty much on your own.
When Should You Get It?
Pretty much any time you’re living in a space you don’t personally own, you should have a renter’s policy. The one notable exception to this is if you’re still living with your parents; they have the option to cover you under their home owners policy, if you’re a direct relative. Please note this does not mean they have to cover you, or prevent you from obtaining a renter’s policy. Furthermore, this exception doesn’t extend to your significant other—meaning if your boyfriend/girlfriend moved in with your parents, they should have their own renter’s insurance. Even if it’s a situation where you don’t have an official lease and/or you’re not paying rent, it’s still a good idea.
Can I Split It?
Much like all of your other expenses, you have the option to split the cost of this insurance with your roommate(s). Whether you should will depend on a couple of different factors, though. How well do you know your roommate? If you’ve been living with this person for a while, or you expect to, then it may not be a big deal. Just remember, if one of you moves, then the policy needs to be changed as quickly as possible, and whoever’s left on it will be stuck with any remaining balance.
Additionally, having a joint policy gives you a joint claims history. Thus, if your roommate files a false report for a stolen laptop to get a new one, that will appear on your insurance history, too. Even if the claim is valid, having too many on record will drive up the cost of your insurance in the future—regardless of whether your roommate is still on the policy.
When it comes to cost, splitting it may not make that much of a difference. On average, a renters insurance policy in the United States comes out to about $188 annually, or $15 per month. So, covering the full amount shouldn’t break the bank for anyone. Bundling this type of coverage with your car insurance can save you even more money, and provide another reason for splitting it, if you and your roommate have different insurance carriers. You can always call in for a free quote before making any final decisions, either way.