Renters Insurance with Roommates

Should you share a renters policy with your roommate?

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Renata Balasco

Senior Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Renata joined The Zebra in 2020 as a Customer Experience Agent. Since 2021, she has worked as licensed insurance professional and content strategist.…

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Nathan Foster

Agency Trainer

  • Licensed Insurance Agent - Property and Casualty

Nathan is an insurance professional with a focus on creating positive customer experiences with more than 10 years of industry experience.

Nathan tra…

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Ava Lynch

Insurance Analyst

  • 7+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior insurance contributor, providing insights and data a…

Can I share renters insurance with my roommate?

In short, it is possible but not always worth it. While splitting renters insurance can seem like a cost-saving measure, there are many considerations to evaluate before deciding to split a relatively low-cost insurance product with another person. Let's explore the realities of sharing a renters policy with a roommate. 

Key takeaways: 

  • Any claims filed will go on the policyholder's insurance record and affect future premiums.
  • Understanding coverages and limits is paramount to successfully splitting a policy. 
  • Sharing renters insurance is a cost-saving measure that carries more risk than it's worth, so we don't often recommend this path. 

Risks of sharing renters insurance with roommates

Renters insurance is one of the most affordable forms of insurance, with a typical policy costing less than $20 per month. Sharing one policy amongst two or more non-related people can result in more complications than the savings are worth.

Claims can impact you for well beyond your shared policy

Firstly, lets consider the risk if you have to file a claim under a shared renters policy. If your roommate files a claim, even if it didn't impact you, you could be faced with increased renters premiums for years following— even if you stop living together and get your own policy. Further, if your roommate has filed renters claims in the past, your insurance premium will be higher if you start a policy together. 

Mixing finances can become tricky

Even in the best roommate relationships, problems can arise when you mix finances. If you find you must file a claim and one person's belongings are valued at a much higher price tag than the other, how do you split up the claim payout? This situation can cause unnecessary conflict when you were only trying to save a few dollars on the premium in the first place. 

Coverage limitations may complicate things

Depending on the policy and insurance company, the primary policyholder must understand the limitations of coverage. This, most importany, includes whether the policy protects your roommates belongings completely. If it doesn't, a shared policy is likely unnecessary. 

Licensed insurance agent and senior agency trainer Nathan Foster offers his knowledge on the subject: "Sure, having a roommate listed on your policy can save you money, but when there's a claim, it can drag out the process because the insurance companies have to determine each item of personal property and whether you (the policyholder) own it or if it's your roommates property. You also have to trust your roommate will not try to claim that some of your property is owned by them." Nathan, and The Zebra, recommend that each roommate obtain their own insurance policy. 

Zebra tip: Our agents can help you find the right policy

Zebra agents are licensed to sell renters insurance policies from a multitude of companies. Whether you're looking for a shared policy or a solo one, they can assist you with your application and provide valuable insight into your options. Call 1-888-255-4364 to speak to an agent about renters insurance.

Understanding renters insurance

Renters insurance is a cost-effective way to protect yourself against loss to your belongings. Renters insurance protects personal belongings, liability, offers resources for additional living expenses and medical payments to others. Like any insurance policy, renters insurance comes with coverage limits. These limites can be adjusted to suit your needs and budget, but keep in mind that involving another person on your policy means agreeing upon these terms. 

To dive deeper into renters insurance coverage, limits, and more, check out The Zebra's guide to reading your renters insurance policy

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Top renters insurance companies by cost

If you do decide to share a renters insurance policy with your roommate, consider which renters insurance company is best for you and your unique circumstances. First, speak to your insurance agent about the company's policies on adding a non-related household member to your insurance. You may wish to bundle a renters policy in with your auto insurance, earning you a multi-policy discount. In any case, it's a good idea to compare your options with multiple companies to ensure you're getting the best deal. 

Insurance company Average Yearly Renters Insurance Premium Monthly Rate
Allstate $372 $31
American Family $289 $24
Farmers $246 $20
Liberty Mutual $285 $24
Nationwide $253 $21
Progressive $305 $25
State Farm $179 $15
Travelers $217 $18
USAA $186 $15

The Zebra’s renters insurance data methodology

The renters insurance rates published in this guide are based on The Zebra’s annual analysis of average renters insurance premiums in every U.S. ZIP code. This data comes to us from Quadrant Information Services, which sources the latest approved rate filings across carriers in each state from S&P Global. Quadrant then uses an internal QA process to validate the information and build reports before the data is queried and analyzed by The Zebra.

These rates are based on a sample user profile: a single 30-year-old renter with an HO-4 renters policy living in a 1,000-square-foot apartment and carrying these coverage limits:

  • $50,000 for personal property
  • $100,000 for personal liability
  • $5,000 for loss of use
  • $1,000 for medical payments
  • $500 deductible

To provide insight to renters on how specific personal factors (like age, location and coverage level) can affect your premium, this base profile is then adjusted for different factors commonly used by insurance companies. For more information, see our full data methodology.

Tips for sharing renters insurance with a roommate

Having your own insurance policy is fairly simple— you pay your premium, your belongings are covered, and if you file a claim, you can replace your things easily. You get to choose your coverage limits, add endorsements, and adjust your preferences as needed. 

If you decide to share a policy with your roommate, make sure you have discussed the important details of this contract both with each other and with your insurance agent. It's important to understand exactly whose personal items are covered and how to proceed in the event of a claim payout. Ask the following questions before starting a shared policy:

  • Which roommate will be the primary policyholder (and earn the multi-policy discount)?
  • How will payments be made between all roommates? 
  • Which limits of coverage are appropriate for the situation and budget? 
  • If you file a claim, how will a payout be distributed? 

A home inventory is a great way to safeguard yourself and your roommate from running into problems if a claim does have to be filed. While it's some work up front, it may save you in the long run if you decide to share a policy. Here's what Nathan has to say on personal property coverage in a shared renters policy: 

What about liability?

We've spoken a lot about personal property, but an equally important part of renters insurance is the liability section. This can become even stickier when you have a shared policy. Renters liability insurance provides coverage if you are found legally liable for causing property damage or bodily injury to another person. 

Let's say your roommate's dog bit someone and they're being sued; your roommate would use the liability section of your shared renters insurance policy to protect his or herself. This would be considered a liability claim; just one liability claim can follow you for years— and even prevent you from being granted renters insurance in the future— even in this case, where you were not personally involved. 

The Zebra's recommendation for renters insurance with roommates

You may consider sharing renters insurance with your roommate because it makes sense at first glance: You can save money on premiums and you both want yourselves and your belongings to be protected. However, weighing the pros and cons more closely emphasizes that the risk outweighs the reward. "Having multiple people listed on one policy makes it difficult for insurance companies to determine the what, when, and how things will payout in the event of a claim. Having your own policy clearly defines how much personal property you own and that you are the sole owner of that property," says Nathan. Renters insurance is a fairly cheap way to safeguard yourself and your things from loss— paying the small price tag for a solo policy can save you the headache of a potentially complicated claims process. 

Frequently asked questions — roommates and renters insurance

The Zebra recommends that each roommate get their own renters insurance policy. This way, you are both protected and can avoid unnecessary confusion if a claim must be filed.

Some insurance companies won't allow an additional insured who isn't a spouse or relative, but many do. This will vary by company and it's worth asking your insurance agent if you are considering adding a roommate.

Renters insurance will cover your roommate's belongings as long as they are listed on the policy and your coverage limits are sufficient. Still, this can get complicated and we recommend that unrelated roommates should buy their own insurance policy.

Check out more customer questions regarding renters insurance

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Check out Lemonade for renters insurance quotes

If you're in need of renters insurance, we've partnered with Lemonade, a renters insurance provider that offers competitive rates and easily allows you to customize coverage. 

Lemonade is not a quote comparison site, meaning they only sell Lemonade policies. If you're not set on one renters insurance company or would like more guidance on which coverage is best for you, consider speaking with one of The Zebra's friendly licensed insurance agents. Call us at 888-444-2833 so you can get the best renters insurance policy for you.

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.