Do You Need Renters Insurance for a Dorm Room?

It's important to keep your belongings in your dorm room safe. Find out what dorm insurance is and whether you need it.

portrait of Erin Treder
by Erin Treder

Published August 12, 2022

Edited by Cameren Boatner
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Do You Need Renters Insurance for a Dorm Room?
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If your dorm room gets robbed or is vulnerable in a disaster, you'll want a plan to pay for your damaged or stolen furniture, electronics, and clothes. It's best to ensure your dorm belongings are covered under an insurance plan.

If your parents or guardians have a homeowners or renters insurance policy, you might be covered under their plan. If they don't have a policy, you should consider purchasing your own. Renters insurance for college students is one option, but another cheaper alternative is dorm insurance.

What Is Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance is just like homeowners insurance — it protects your belongings when damages occur on your rental property. It can also cover damages or injuries resulting from negligence at your rental residence. Renters insurance is often worth the investment for students living off campus at a rental property. It'll cover the cost of personal property should an unexpected event take place.

The average cost of renters insurance in the United States is nearly $15 per month, or $174 per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This amount varies by location and the amount of coverage you need.

Do You Need Renters Insurance in Your Dorm?

You may not need renters insurance if you live in a college dorm. But it depends on whether your parents or guardians have their own insurance and if your college offers built-in coverage for your dorm upon enrollment.

Does Your Parents' Insurance Policy Cover You?

If your parents or guardians have homeowners or renters insurance, their policy may extend to you if you live in a dorm. Check the details of their policy to see exactly what's covered and the dollar amount of the coverage. If the amount covered in your parents' or guardians' policy is less than you need to replace the possessions in your dorm should something happen, you may want to take out an additional insurance policy.

Note that if you live in off-campus housing, your possessions will not be covered by your parents' or guardians' homeowners or renters insurance plan. You will need to get your own renters insurance policy.

What Does Your College Cover?

Some colleges offer dorm insurance to students or cover damages or theft should they occur. Check with your school to find out exactly what they cover and what kinds of insurance plans they offer students.

What Are the Belongings in Your Dorm Worth?

Take an inventory of all of your personal items in your dorm. This includes clothing, school supplies, college textbooks, electronics, and furniture. Tally up the costs to determine how much the belongings in your room are worth to see if you need insurance coverage. If you have a lot of valuables, it's probably worth it to purchase a policy.

What Is Dorm Insurance?

Dorm insurance is a form of personal property insurance that will cover the cost of your personal items in your dorm should damage or theft occur. Depending on the plan, dorm insurance can also cover accidental and water damage.

Dorm insurance is available to any college student living in a dorm. While pricing varies by plan, you could pay as low as under $10 per month.

Because it's relatively inexpensive and often has a lower deductible than homeowner or renters insurance, it's a good investment for college students seeking to protect their personal property.

Renters Insurance vs. Dorm Insurance

Renters insurance and dorm insurance have similarities and differences. While renters insurance protects personal property, it also provides coverage for liability and additional living expenses.

Dorm insurance strictly provides personal property coverage. Unlike renters insurance, however, it typically provides water damage and accidental coverage, some of the most common damages reported by students. This can be particularly useful for students who use laptops, phones, and other electronics frequently.

Because dorm insurance covers personal items only, it's typically less expensive than renters insurance. It also has lower deductibles than other insurance plans.

How to Get Dorm Insurance

If you decide that you need dorm insurance, there are different ways to get it. First, check with your college's housing office to see what it recommends. It may have a relationship with an insurance provider that offers discounts on coverage.

Another option is to sign up for your own plan online. You can go to a dorm insurance provider's website, read through the plans, and sign up for the one that's best for you. Two dorm insurance providers to consider are National Student Services, Inc. and Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk.

Frequently Asked Questions About Renters Insurance and Dorm Insurance

Does dorm insurance cover theft?

Yes. Dorm insurance is a type of personal property insurance, so it covers items stolen from your dorm room.

What types of insurance do college students need?

The types of insurance you need depend on where you live. If you live in a dorm, your insurance could be covered by your parents' or guardians' homeowners or renters insurance. If they don't have a policy, consider getting one yourself. If you live off campus, it's a good idea to buy your own renters insurance to protect your belongings.

Why should college students have their own renter's insurance policy?

If you aren't covered under your parents' or guardians' insurance policy, you should consider buying your own. It will cover the cost of replacing expensive items like phones and laptops should they get damaged or stolen.

Is renters insurance really worth it?

Yes, it's worth it to buy renters insurance if you live off campus. The cost of the plan is likely very low compared to what it would cost to replace your personal items out of pocket. However, if you live in a dorm, consider getting dorm insurance instead.