By Amy Scott, University of Georgia
Insurance was the last thing on Katie Wallace’s mind when she was planning what she needed to do before going to an out of state school. She hadn’t even changed her residency from Colorado to Georgia as she entered her freshman year at the University of Georgia.
But a few months into classes, Wallace, who is now a senior graphic design major, said she realized she was going to need a car, especially if she was going to rent an off-campus apartment to live in the following year.
“I was like ‘Yeah no I’ll be fine, I don’t need a car,’ and my family was like ‘Ok, whatever you say,’ and then I got here and realized that I definitely needed a car,” Wallace said.
In order to get a parking pass, she needed to have her car registered in Georgia. This meant that Wallace had to change her residency to Athens, and wouldn’t be able to use her parent’s car insurance anymore.
“I needed to register it in the state of Georgia because I live here,” Wallace said. “In order to register for insurance here, I needed to be a resident. So I had to change that and do all this paperwork to get everything worked out.”
Wallace has a bundle plan for her car and renters insurance. She pays $165 a month for her car, and $115 annually for renters insurance. She said that she got both plans because she wanted to make sure she would be able to replace her things if they were stolen.
“It covers things that are damaged that aren’t directly my fault,” Wallace said. “Like my laptop, which is pretty important; that would be covered if there was a fire. . .”
Kristy Archuleta, an associate professor for financial planning at UGA, said getting renters insurance can be a smart idea for students living in off campus rentals, even though the extra cost might be a barrier.
“The last thing students often think they need is renters insurance but it can be a huge help. The landlord’s insurance will not cover personal property,” Archuleta said. “Renters insurance covers a student’s personal property.”
Especially in the case of a fire or robbery, Archuleta said these insurance plans can be extremely beneficial for students.
“If your apartment is burglarized or a fire happens, renters insurance will cover the loss of your personal property. The landlord’s insurance will not,” Archuleta said.
One tip she has for college students who may be moving around every year is to set up a consistent place for bills to be sent.
Wallace said she set up a post office box which means she doesn’t have to frequently change her address. “So all of my bills go there, and I haven’t had to worry about that part of it,” she said.
Although paying for these insurance programs has added a financial burden to her life, Wallace said she has learned a lot about budgeting and financial responsibility from it.
Wallace said she hadn’t fully considered renters insurance, but once she learned about the bundle deal, it seemed silly not to get it.
“When I found out that the renters insurance was only going to be $115 annually, I thought it would definitely be worth it,” Wallace said. “Because honestly, that’s pretty cheap.”
Amy Scott is a journalism major in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.