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What type of coverage do you need?

Do you have kids ready to head off to college?  With pricey tuition to pay and books to buy, renters insurance isn't exactly something that tops most college kid's list. But in some cases, that could be a big mistake.  Students who live on campus typically don't have to worry about renters insurance: Their parents' homeowner's policy should cover the loss or damage of most items as long as the policy includes so-called 'off-premise coverage, be sure you understand the limits of this coverage and the deductibles that apply.  However, once you move off-campus, some insurance companies may require you to have your own rental policy to cover your belongings, while others will still cover you under the age of 24 if you are still a resident of your parents' household.

In either case, you shouldn't expect the landlord to cover anything you own. Landlords typically cover the building and not the tenant's belongings.  They will also not replace any damaged or stolen items.  Also, if one roommate has a renters insurance policy, don't expect it to cover all of your stuff.  Most rental insurance policies only cover the belongings of the policyholder. 

So what does renters insurance cover?  There are three basic types of protection: personal possessions, liability and additional living expenses.

Personal possession protection covers your belongings if they are lost or damaged due to a fire, vandalism or theft among other things.

Liability protection kicks in if, say, your dog bites the neighbor or someone slips and gets hurt while at a party at your place. It not only helps cover any medical expenses but, in some cases, can pay for your legal fees if you get sued.

Meanwhile, if you are displaced by a storm or a fire, additional living expenses coverage will typically cover the cost of a hotel, or a temporary rental until you can move back home.

The cost of renters insurance is typically pretty affordable but the amount will vary depending on the location and size of the rental unit and how much coverage you need.  Parents/students should give us a call and make sure they get the proper and enough coverage. To determine how much you need, take inventory. Create a spreadsheet, take pictures or create a video inventory of all your belongings -- including clothing, electronics, jewelry and furniture, among other things -- and keep it in a safe place. Even if students only have a few possessions, ensuring they can be replaced if stolen or damaged is one less thing to worry about.  If you can't afford to replace everything, you are taking a chance if you don't have renters insurance.

To learn more about Renters Insurance and how it can help while away at college call The Weimer Group in Harleysville at 215-723-9805 or in Perkasie at 215-257-9171.
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