By Bobby Andrews
Based on her firsthand experience, University of Georgia student Priya Patel said college students don’t understand the value of renters insurance.
“I work at a leasing office and some people fight on getting renters insurance,” she said. “The whole point is to protect both the property and yourself in case of an emergency.”
Renters insurance is an insurance policy that provides funds to replace damaged personal items of the renter in the event of a fire, flood, theft or other unexpected circumstances, according to Caity Johnson, the leasing and marketing manager at Ikon at Athens located in Athens, Georgia.
Patel, like many college students, said she came to college with the responsibility of paying for her own rent and living expenses. Such responsibility also includes protecting her belongings, which is why she purchased a renters policy through State Farm.
Patel said her policy provides fire and theft protection. “So, if someone breaks in and they take my items, that’s covered,” she said, adding that her belongings would be covered if they were burned in a fire.
Jason Metz of Forbes Advisor, wrote that “when you buy a renters insurance policy, you’ll have the option to choose the policy limit for your personal property coverage, which is the maximum amount the insurer will pay if your stuff is stolen.”
With different policies available, renters can look at their needs and decide which plan is best for them. However, different policies come at different prices, and can also vary by state.
Data compiled by NerdWallet showed the average monthly cost for renters insurance in Georgia is $20 a month while the national average is $14 a month.
Patel said she pays around $20 a month, in line with Georgia’s monthly average. She chose her policy through State Farm because it covers her computer and other essentials and valuables.
According to Stephen Michael White of RentPrep, “renters insurance policies cover the tenant and their guests and fill the gaps where the landlord’s property insurance does not cover.”
A landlord or management company has insurance to cover their valuables, such as appliances or furnishings, but the tenant is vulnerable if they do not have a policy to cover their own valuables.
Johnson said, “because we offer furnished apartments, so if it’s our furniture that gets damaged walls, ceiling, carpet, appliances, anything that’s provided by us, then we do repair it.” But she said her complex would not repair or compensate residents for personal items that are damaged.
Not all landlords or leasing agreements require renters insurance, however it is required by the housing complex Johnson manages. Requiring renters insurance could catch a student renter off guard, but Johnson said Ikon at Athens has a plan in place for that.
“There is a company that we work with, Fortegra, that if students aren’t prepared to get their own renters insurance through a different company,” Johnson said. “We do have kind of a readymade policy that they can technically purchase through us.”
Bobby Andrews is a journalism student at the University of Georgia.