@@ written by Sami Edge @@

Renter’s insurance is a no-brainer investment for students living in rental homes or apartments. For an average cost of less than one dollar per day, renter’s insurance protects the personal property of a renter, as well as offering liability coverage in case of injury lawsuit. For a financially destitute college student, this can mean the difference between having money for next week’s happy hour and breaking the bank by paying out-of-pocket for accidental, unavoidable calamities.

Most students living in the residence halls have insurance coverage as an extension of their parents’ homeowner’s policies. However, moving off-campus disqualifies students from hitching a free ride on their parents’ insurance plans and makes finding a renter’s insurance policy imperative for financial security and peace of mind.

According to local Farmers Insurance Agent Christine Dambach,@@http://www.farmersagent.com/cdambach@@ basic renter’s insurance consists of two parts: liability coverage and personal property protection. Liability insurance protects tenants from legal fees emanating from lawsuits regarding accidental injury at the policyholder’s property and can extend to cover accidental damages that a policyholder causes in someone else’s home as well. Personal property protection covers the cost of replacing items stolen from the property, destroyed in a property accident (such as fire or natural disaster), stolen from a vehicle and even stolen luggage while on vacation.

While shopping for an insurance policy, it is important to note the difference between cash value coverage and replacement cost coverage. Cash value coverage pays out the current value of an object, factoring depreciating value with age. On the other hand, replacement cost coverage will reimburse the owner’s cost of replacing a stolen or damaged good, no matter how old, with a brand new one.

Depending on policy and insurance company, renter’s insurance can extend from covering basic domestic losses to providing payment for losses outside of the home. For example, Nationwide’s renter’s insurance will help cover medical costs for anyone injured on the tenant’s property, and Esurance offers coverage for personal goods stolen outside of the home and reimbursement for hotel costs in case of property destruction. Dambach claims that renter’s insurance can even extend to covering property damage caused by a policyholder’s children or pets. @@company names [email protected]@

Lea Polito, executive assistant at Property Management Concepts, a student housing resource in Eugene, recommends renter’s insurance to all of her clients. She believes that the properties of college students are particularly vulnerable to theft due to the estimated value of school supplies (laptop, textbooks, bike, etc.) and the predictability of student absence during school breaks.

Renter’s insurance rates vary from agency to agency and according to policy, but the general price usually falls somewhere in the vicinity of $150-200 a year. Considering the average values of laptops, textbooks and personal goods, both experts agree that is a small price to pay for security.

“It’s the price of a pizza per month, so it’s a really good deal,” Polito said. “Especially if you have a group of five people and you can split that cost between the five tenants.”

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