Do international students need renter's insurance?
Renting off-campus? You should think about getting renter's insurance. Source: Shutterstock

For the majority of international students, heading abroad to study is likely to be the first time they’ve ever rented a room or home.

With everything they have to do to adjust to a new life in new surroundings, things like insurance and home security often take a backseat on their list of priorities.

A survey by Nationwide found that out of 59 percent of adults ages 23 to 29 in the US who did not have renter’s insurance, 46 percent didn’t think they needed it, a third thought it was too expensive, while a quarter said they “just hadn’t gotten around to purchasing it.”

However, according to Forbes, “72% of all renter’s surveyed say their greatest fear, as a renter, is either a fire or a break in, and roughly 8 in 10 of those surveyed said they’d stand to lose $5,000 or more in the event of a fire or break-in.”

The survey also found that a lack of awareness is a common factor, as forty percent of renter’s surveyed didn’t know that renter’s insurance can cover stolen property.

While most universities make it compulsory for students to have health insurance (for good reason!), many students are not aware of other insurance policies they can opt for, such as travel, life, or renter’s insurance.

What exactly is renter’s insurance?

Renter’s insurance will cover your personal belongings in the event that something unfortunate happens in your rented home. In the UK, it’s called ‘tenants insurance’.

If you live in a rented off-campus property (condo, house, apartment), the homeowner’s insurance your landlord has taken won’t cover your personal belongings, as it only covers the actual building structure.

So if there’s a fire, robbery, burst pipe or other damage done in your home, it’s your responsibility to replace your belongings out of your own pocket as the homeowner’s insurance policy taken out by your landlord won’t cover them.

This includes your laptop, television, gadgets, electronics, clothes, textbooks, jewellery, furniture – anything you own.

The survey also found that approximately one in three renter’s don’t believe that party mishaps can actually be covered by renter’s insurance.

In actual fact, renter’s insurance may cover claims from accidents such as a broken door, an injured party guest, or a damaged laptop, according to Nationwide.

It’s a common misconception that college students are often broke and don’t have anything valuable to insure. But most college students need necessary supplies like computers and smartphones that are indeed valuable, not to mention expensive textbooks!

College students have plenty of valuable electronics and belongings that could be worth insuring. Source: Shutterstock

If your belongings by theft or otherwise can potentially cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on what you own.

International students might be keeping their passports or foreign currencies at home, which are extremely valuable and can cause great hassle if they’re damaged or stolen.

Renter’s insurance also offers liability which protects you against a claim or lawsuit in the event that a visitor gets injured on your property.

Plus, depending on the policy, you can also claim for additional living expenses, such as temporary accommodation and food if you’re unable to live in your rented property while it’s being repaired, usually called a ‘loss of use’ claim.

While it’s really a personal decision, getting renter’s insurance could give you peace of mind, especially if you live in an unsafe area.

If you’re worried about break-ins and robberies, having this insurance can help make things easier in the unfortunate event that your valuables get stolen.

How much does it cost?

Renter’s insurance premiums are actually quite affordable. Source: Shutterstock

If you’re worried about cost, renter’s insurance is actually quite affordable. Nationwide estimates that the average cost of renter’s insurance is US$20 per month – about the same amount you’d spend on a takeaway each month.

It depends on the company and policy, of course, but in general, data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners found that “the average policy cost just $184 per year, a figure that works out to a little more than $15 per month for coverage that ranges from $30,000 to $50,000 (depending on where the renter lives) with a $500 to $1,000 deductible.”

The lower the value of your personal property the more affordable your coverage will be.

To get started on getting a renter’s insurance policy, get a free quote from different insurance providers in the country you’re studying in.

Then, compare different policies to see what’s best for you. Don’t forget to read the fine print to find out exactly what kind of coverage you’re getting!

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