You trust your roommate, but should you both be on the same renters policy?
The answer in most cases is, “no,” even though some insurance companies do allow it.
Renters insurance covers your belongings, along with providing protection for loss of use, liability, etc. Roommates are not included by default on a policy, even if you’re both on the lease. Also, there’s no “insurable interest” between roommates, which means they typically don’t have any financial interest in your stuff, and you don’t have any in theirs.
To put it another way: if you didn’t renew your lease, you’d take your things, and they would take theirs. It’s not like a divorce, with a lot of shared property.
Here is why you should not share a renters policy with a roommate:
- If they get sued, you could get hurt. Say your roommate’s dog bites somebody. If it’s even covered (some policies will exclude certain dog breeds), a shared policy means you could be a part of the lawsuit. That would be a hassle, and it might mean higher premiums for you down the road.
- Your stuff isn’t all the same. If your roommate has a lot of valuables and you don’t, or vice-versa, you could end up paying more than your fair share for coverage.
- It’s more complicated than sharing the power bill. Sharing a policy means you need to make sure your roommate pays their part of the bill. But things can get complicated if you have to file a claim. The check will be made out to both of you, even if it’s just you stuff that was damaged or stolen. If they don’t sign it, you can’t cash it. Another important note: if your roommate steals your stuff, that’s not covered by renters insurance.
While you already share a place with your roommate, you probably don’t need to share your insurance. Having your own policy will provide the protection you need, usually at a very affordable price.