By Kate Hester
Renter’s insurance is another fee to be added to the growing list of expenses for college students in Athens, Georgia, as property managers increasingly require such a policy, according to a local insurance agent.
Athens, home of the University of Georgia, is full of brand new and renovated apartments such as The Mark, Georgia Heights and Farmers Exchange. Apartments like these and the leasing offices that oversee them are requiring their lessees to get renter’s insurance.
“We have a bunch of property management companies that require it now,” said Aleia Daniel, an Athens based insurance agent working for State Farm. “They are protecting their assets.”
Renter’s insurance is not always cheap. Daniel said State Farm’s base policy for renters’ insurances begins with $10,000 in contents coverage and $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage. This level of coverage costs about $150 to $200 per year, a fee that can be more of a burden than a blessing for college students.
“I understand the purpose for renter’s insurance, it is just like any insurance, but in the same token it does feel weird to have it as a requirement,” said Katerina Stagl.
Stagl, a senior at UGA, has had renter’s insurance for the past three years. Not by choice, but because it is required by the leasing offices for The Reserve and Farmers Exchange, her former and current residence.
She said that the requirement feels unnecessary due to the safety of her apartment. “No one has ever broken into any of my apartments…there are security cameras at this apartment, and you cannot even get into the building without a key fob or code,” said Stagl.
However, renter’s insurance protects against more than just theft. It protects against fire, flooding and many other perils. It also protects the policy holder against liability, said Daniel.
Say that the beer pong game got a little too messy the night before, so you spent the next morning mopping the floor and then forgot to let anyone know. If someone came in, slipped on the floor, broke an arm and sued you then you would be protected by your insurance policy.
“If you are negligent and damage somehow (the owner’s) property that is where they want liability, they want to make sure their investment is covered. So, a lot of those types of companies, big companies, are requiring students, or their lessors to have this,” said Daniel.
If a curling iron starts a fire in one apartment, the landlord will hold those renters responsible for the damage to other afflicted units as well. Insurance would help to cover this type of accident.
Stagl currently uses Lemonade, an online home and rental insurer. The starting price for Lemonade is $5 a month, or $60 a year. She said it is the cheapest option she has found.
Daniel recommended that all college students consider a policy because it starts their own timeframe with an insurance company. Something that can be very beneficial when they are no longer considered dependents of their parents.
Despite the added cost, Stagl plans on continuing with renter’s insurance after leaving her current apartment.
“I feel like it is one of those adult things that you are just supposed to have,” she said.
Kate Hester is a journalism student at the University of Georgia.