Oh no! The apartment above you left an unattended candle burning, and now your apartment is semi-burnt and riddled with smoke damage.

Sure, you don’t want to think about an emergency when you are first moving into a student housing off-campus apartments, but accidents do happen! Here are four helpful tips to help you make sense of what Renter’s Insurance can assist you with in case you face an emergency in your off campus housing.

Tip 1) Know What Type of Emergency it Covers

HO-4  insurance, otherwise known as Renter’s Insurance, is designed for renters and covers damage from 16 types of perils. These 16 types of perils include:

  • Fire or Lightning
  • Windstorm/Hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot or Civil Commotion
  • Aircraft Damage
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke Damage
  • Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
  • Theft
  • Volcanic Eruption
  • Falling Objects
  • Weight of Ice, Snow, or Sleet
  • Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Water or Steam
  • Sudden & Accidental Tearing Apart, Cracking, Burning or Building
  • Freezing
  • Sudden & Accidental Damage from Artificially Generated Electrical Current

Meanwhile, some of the noncovered perils for renter’s insurance include:

  • War
  • Flood
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Neglect, meaning your failure to save your property at the time of loss or after
  • Intentional damage, meaning you intentionally destruct your property
  • Governmental seizure of your property

Tip 2) What’s the Cost and Deductible

The average cost of Renter’s Insurance is $15 a month. For that cost, you get covered for all the types of emergencies listed above. Sure as a college student, this price might seem like just an additional fee taking from your already limited income. However, Renter’s Insurance compared to other types of insurance is cheap, and actually, it’s more expensive NOT to have it.

Many renters are under the misconception that the landlord’s insurance will cover renter’s personal items. While a landlord’s insurance covers their property, their insurance will not cover damage your personal items may face in the apartment or the damage you may cause to their property. Compared to the potential cost an emergency might entail, $15 a month is minuscule.

Tip 3)  What the Insurance Covers

It’s important to know what type of replacement policy you are getting with your Renter’s Insurance. There are two main ways Renters Insurance can replace your property. The first replacement policy is Actual Cash Value where depreciation will increase as your property gets older. So a sound system you bought a couple of years ago if someone stole it, the insurance company would reimburse you the amount the sound system is currently worth, not the price you bought it for.

On the flip side, the other policy replacement cost doesn’t factor in depreciation over the years. You would get the amount that you paid for your sound system in whole.

Tip 4) List Your Items

If you plan on bringing many valuable items into your off-campus housing, we recommend taking inventory of your expensive items. Some ways to do this is to take video or photos of the items in your possession and gather item’s serial numbers whenever possible. We also recommend using free inventory software. Taking inventory of your items will help ensure that if you were to have your valuable items damaged you could prove not only you owned them but their worth.

Ultimately, the decision to purchase Renter’s Insurance for your off campus housing is a decision you must make for yourself. While we hope a disaster never happens in your apartment complex, we want you to be safe rather than sorry if disaster strikes.