Can you share your renter’s insurance?
If you’re a renter, you need to protect yourself and your belongings. Keep in mind that your landlord’s homeowner insurance only protects their property, not the property of their tenants, and get your renter’s insurance.
If you’re a renter with a roommate, you’re probably pondering if you can share your policy and if it’s worth the split. Renter’s insurance is designed for single people, married couples, and families who co-own their valuables. If you’re single and co-habitate, your renter’s insurance could cover your roommate’s items, but think twice before signing up for a shared insurance.
Sharing renter’s insurance with a roommate might not be available in all states and on all policies, but if you have it available, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. The insurance company uses as insurable everything you inventory to determine the overall price of your policy, thus the more items, the higher the premium. The premiums take into account the value of the property being insured; your roommate’s expensive laptop could send your premium up. You might be thinking that splitting a higher premium is cheaper than paying your own; if so, picture deciding your portion of the deductible and dividing up the payout… doesn’t it feel more prudent to purchase separate policies and keep your finances separate?
Know that a renter’s insurance policy is also a liability policy. This means that if your roommate ends up being sued due to an irresponsible act, the respective legal suit will affect your insurance rating, so make sure you trust your roommate before you enter into a legal agreement with him/her. Furthermore, when the roommate moves out, you have the responsibility to remove his/her name from the policy and that cannot be done without their written consent. More hassle also applies when a mutual renter’s policy is to be cashed – it requires multiple signatures first.
Even in the case where your roommate is your significant other, it’s wisest that you save a shared policy until after the wedding. Many insurance companies extend the coverage to domestic partners, but here you can run into a new set of issues because the methods by which a domestic partner is defined differ. Some define a roommate as someone who is not related to you either by marriage or family affiliation but with whom you simply share residence. Therefore, your spouse is not considered a roommate and you still need to take out two renter’s policies if you are married.
Either way you choose to go with your renter’s insurance, remember to ask the agent about the discount applied for “protective devices” such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Discounts such as this one are a safer bet for saving money than splitting your policy with your roommate.