Should you share a renters policy with your roommate?
Renters insurance is a cost-effective way to protect your personal belongings and your liability. But if you’re sharing an apartment or rental house with someone, it might not always make sense to share a renters insurance policy. Let’s explore the dos and don’ts of renters insurance with roommates.
It depends. If your landlord requires you to carry renters coverage, sharing a policy makes sense as a cost-saving measure. On average, a renters insurance policy costs between $7 and $12 a month. It’s considerably more affordable than car insurance, which can more than one-hundred dollars per month. The cons of sharing renters insurance are policy-specific. We've analyzed these negatives in further detail below.
The lowest available personal property coverage level on a renters policy is usually $10,000. If your apartment were to burn down, you and your roommate would split that $10,000 of coverage. After a claim, there is nothing you can do to increase your coverage. A workaround is to increase your personal property and liability coverage levels.
This is a two-parter. If your roommate has filed claims on a previous renters insurance policy, your new rate could be impacted. In the eyes of your insurance company, you’re a riskier customer because of this previous claim. Second, if your roommate files a claim on your current policy, your rate — and your future rates — will be higher. Even if the claim had nothing to do with you, you can be financially punished for their claim.
You can save on your auto insurance policy by bundling it with your renters policy. If your roommate has an existing car insurance policy with GEICO but you have Progressive, getting a GEICO renters policy would give your roommate the discount, not you.
Whether or not you should share a renters insurance policy with your roommate is ultimately your choice to make. Consider the likelihood of you or your roommate filing a claim, how much coverage you both need, and any potential discounts you might lose. If these things don’t bother you, share your renters policy to save some money.
If your roommate is a listed resident on your renter’s insurance policy, your coverage will extend to her or him. However, if they’re not specifically listed on your policy, they won't have coverage in the event of a covered claim.
The easiest way to add your roommate to your policy is simply to contact your renters provider or an insurance agent. The insurance company will need your roommate's date of birth and relevant claims information, at least. Adding another resident to your policy may increase your premium — especially if they come with a history of claims. Splitting the cost may help mitigate this additional expense.
If you’re renting an apartment with multiple roommates, such as an off-campus college apartment or a house with a few residents, the situation is a little different. In this case, we recommend getting your own renters insurance policy. Unless your coverage limits are particularly high, splitting coverage between multiple people dilutes your personal coverage allotment.
While roommates — with no family relation to you — need to either have their own renters policy or be added to your own, this isn't always the case when it comes to living with family. If you're sharing a rental with your spouse, relatives, parents, children, and the family dog, your renters insurance covers them as long as they're part of your household. Requirements vary slightly from insurer to insurer, and some might explicitly want each family member named on your policy while others don't require it.
Renters insurance is an affordable way to protect your liability and your personal possessions. Living with a roommate should not impact your costs or ability to get coverage.