By Clay Witt
Cam Bloodworth, a senior at the University of Georgia, is one student who regrets forgoing renters insurance when he and his roommates signed a lease on their rental house.
This past winter in Athens, Georgia, a severe cold front came through and caused temperatures to hit zero degrees. Bloodworth said the result was frozen and burst water pipes all across the city, including at the house he shared with his friends.
“The whole downstairs was flooded, our couch, TV, lots of storage boxes, and sheetrock had fallen from the ceiling,” said Bloodworth. “Everything was ruined.”
He and his roommates rented their house from an individual who lives outside the state, said Bloodworth. Renters insurance was not something that came up in the leasing conversations and Bloodworth said it never really crossed any of their minds before signing the lease. Like many college students, Bloodworth said he and roommates had not considered the need for coverage in case a natural disaster or some other catastrophe happened to ruin their living space.
Wendy Jones, a private insurance agent at Chastain and Associates, said many apartment complexes that lease to students require renters insurance to be provided before the final lease is signed mainly for security and liability purposes.
“Renters insurance is highly recommended and a great deal for the money. It can save you thousands of dollars if a disaster does happen,” said Jones.
Students might not have lots of personal items or furniture and simply don’t want to give up the extra money required to buy renters insurance, but Jones said many of the policies are very affordable and end up covering a high threshold of potential cost in the case of a flood, fire, or other disasters.
Jones said students can generally purchase $20,000 worth of content coverage with a $500 to $1,000 deductible and liability of $300,000 for around $150 to $200 a year.
The flooding was so bad in the house Bloodworth was renting that he and his roommates had to find another short-term house to stay in for the spring semester. Despite their experience, the group again did not buy renters insurance, Bloodworth said.
“We are only here for a few months, and I don’t think any more crazy weather events are going to come through Athens,” he said as for the reason for the decision.
However, when Bloodworth graduates and moves into his own future house or apartment in the, he plans to buy renters insurance.
After spending a few thousand dollars replacing and moving into a new place, “I don’t want to have to deal with, and cover all that on my own in the future,” Bloodworth said.
The value of renters insurance is what Jones tries to get across to young people who are hesitant on spending the extra dollars even when they don’t think they have much to protect.
“I think it is well worth it, if you don’t have it and you lose all your belongings, that’s terrible,” said Jones.
Clay Witt is a journalism student at the University of Georgia