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Commerce Department encourages college students to consider renters insurance

5/20/2016 3:07:00 PM

For Immediate Release:

As the end of the school year approaches and college students finish up final exams, many are also getting ready to move off-campus for the summer with valuable personal property like computers, TVs, bicycles and furniture.

To protect their personal belongings in the event they are damaged, destroyed or stolen, the Minnesota Department of Commerce urges students and their parents to review their insurance coverage to determine if they need renters insurance.

Renters insurance is often an affordable option that allows students to replace personal property in case of a fire, theft or other unexpected circumstance.

“Parents of college students should check if their homeowners insurance policy will cover a student’s belongings while living off campus,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Students typically have electronic devices and other valuable possessions that can be expensive to replace.”

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has the information college students need to know about renters insurance:

The basics of renters insurance

If you live in a rented apartment or house, your landlord’s insurance will protect the building, but not your personal belongings.  

Most renters insurance policies provide two basic types of coverage: personal property and liability. 

Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace personal belongings if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. This is the most commonly purchased renters policy.

Liability insurance provides coverage against a medical claim or lawsuit resulting from an incident on your property. This protection kicks in, for example, if someone slips and gets hurt while at a party at your place.

The premiums for renters insurance average between $15 and $30 per month depending on the location and size of your rental unit and the value of your possessions.

Shop for the right coverage

Another important factor to look for when shopping for renters insurance is “actual cash value” vs. “replacement cost” coverage.

Actual cash-value coverage pays you for the replacement cost minus depreciation (the decrease in value due to age and wear-and-tear). For example, if someone steals your five-year-old stereo system, your insurance payout will be based on the current value of the old stereo, not the cost to buy a new one.

By contrast, replacement cost coverage pays for a new stereo system. While the up-front cost for this coverage is greater, you are more likely to receive full compensation for your property loss.

In either case, pay attention to the deductible. That is the amount you have to pay for a loss before insurance begins to pay.

Know what you own

It is also important to have a current home inventory list in case you do have to file a claim.

This can be as simple as taking photos or video, or making a list of possessions. It helps to include each item’s manufacturer, model or serial number, date of purchase and price. Make sure you keep the inventory list in a safe place. 

For more information on purchasing renters insurance, /commerce/consumers/your-home/protect/other/renters-insurance/index.jspvisit the “Your Home” section of the Commerce website.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help. 

If you have a question or concern about insurance, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

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