Roommates and Renters Insurance: One for Each or One for All

When you’re living in a rental with a roommate sharing is a key part of the arrangement. Sharing chores, sharing space, space utility costs. But what about renters insurance? Should you share a policy or each have your own?

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When Just One Roommate is Covered

Let’s assume that you have a renters insurance policy, but your new roommate doesn’t have any coverage. Or the situation could be reversed. In this scenario only the roommate with the policy has liability coverage. If an accident were to happen the uninsured roommate could be sued for damages. In addition, only the insured roommate’s possessions will be covered in the event of a natural disaster, fire or burglary.

It’s safe to say that both roommates need coverage. Having just one policy under one name for the living space doesn’t cover everything that happens within the property.

Sharing Renters Insurance

It is possible for more than one roommate to be on one renters insurance policy, especially if the roommates are related. However, this has to be expressly specified. The agent needs to know to add the other roommate on as “additional named insured”.

Each roommate needs to complete their own inventory of the items they want covered. That way if something isn’t covered it’s on the owner not the policyholder. If an item is shared list it under the person who actually purchased the item.

You’ll have to decide how the policy will be paid for since there will be a single payment. Other considerations include deciding what will happen with the policy if one roommate moves out and who will cover the deductible if it needs to be paid.

Getting Separate Renters Insurance Policies

For the most complete coverage that’s the most straightforward, you may want to each get your own insurance policy. The fact of the matter is, each tenant has their own belongings. Filing a claim could get complicated if both tenants are on the same policy.

For example, say roommate #1 is the policyholder and roommate #2 is an additional insured. There’s a break in and roommate #2 has their $1,000 flat screen TV stolen while roommate #1 has a few less expensive electronics stolen. When it comes time to pay the deductible who should cover it? What if roommate #1 didn’t realize the TV was worth $1,000 and it’s only covered for $800?

It may cost a little more, but having separate policies for each roommate will ensure that no one has to count on the other when it comes to coverage. It will also make things easier if the living situation changes.

Regardless of whether you get one renters insurance policy together or each get your own, the important thing is to make sure you’re both covered.

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