Tenant's Insurance

Why do I need insurance?
Renting an apartment or house presents certain risks and responsibilities. Baylor University does not provide insurance coverage for individual students or their personal belongings. Landlords insure their buildings but not the belongings of their tenants. Therefore, students should obtain insurance through agents of their choice. (Do not assume you are automatically covered by your parentsí home ownerís policy.)

What things are covered?
Your personal property is covered, whether it is in your home or elsewhere, even in your car. A standard tenants policy covers furniture, clothing, and most other personal belongings for their actual cash value at the time of loss; but it provides only limited coverage for furs, jewelry, silver, and other specific valuables. Ask when you buy the policy about computers, stereo systems, or other costly items. You may want to add specific coverage for these items in your general policy or purchase a separate policy.

The tenants policy typically insures your household contents and personal belongings against losses from:

  • fire or lightning
  • explosion
  • smoke
  • windstorm or hail
  • vehicles
  • falling objects
  • riot or civil commotion
  • theft
  • aircraft
  • plumbing problems
  • vandalism
  • electrical power surges

    (This policy will also cover the damage to or theft of personal belongings in your car.)

Tenants insurance provides liability coverage for injuries or damages caused by you or even your pet. It includes the legal cost of defending you if you are sued. It does not apply to liability resulting from the use of an automobile.

Your policy may also pay for any increase in living expenses necessary when your apartment cannot be occupied because of the types of damages described above. For example, if your home is badly damaged by fire, you may have to live in a hotel and eat in restaurants while it is being repaired. Your insurance company will reimburse you, up to the limits stated in your policy, for the difference between these expenses and your normal living expenses.

How do I select a policy?
First, estimate the value of your household belongings. Begin by making a list of the contents. Include any furniture you own and major personal belongings, noting the prices and dates of purchase where possible. Keep store receipts and photographs of major items in each room with your list. Itís a good idea to keep a copy of the inventory and photographs in a safe place away from home.

Next, shop around for the best value. Ask friends to recommend insurance agents or companies from which they have had good service. Check the yellow pages. You may wish to contact several companies. Discuss any concern you have about special coverage. Ask questions about anything you donít understand.

The greater the deductible you pay (the amount of loss you pay for before the insurance coverage takes over), the lower your rates. An average deductible is $100. Prices for renterís insurance vary from $50 to $100 annually. The rate depends on the location of your apartment, the type of construction, and how the company rates the university area in terms of crime. It is smart to shop around and compare insurance companies. Also, be aware that some companies refuse to sell insurance to students living in a university area.

Finally, read your policy thoroughly. If you have claims, report them promptly and accurately.

This information taken from Tenants Insurance Basics by the Insurance Information Institute