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Does my parent’s renters insurance cover me if I live with them?
Yes, if your parents have renters insurance, it covers you if you live at home with them. Renters insurance generally covers all relatives living in the same household as the policyholder (including adopted children). This is the case regardless of whether their names are listed on the policy or not.
Furthermore, if your parents own their home instead of renting it, their homeowners insurance policy will also cover you. Renters and homeowners policies are usually written from the same template, and provide similar coverage to relatives.
What is a relative in renters insurance?
However, different insurance companies define “relative” in different ways. For instance, adopted children are usually classified as relatives, but foster children usually aren’t. It’s important to check your policy thoroughly so that you know whether you and your family members are all covered.
Even if someone isn’t your relative by blood or adoption, many renters insurance providers will cover them as long as they’re a “dependent in the care” of the policyholder or another insured party. Some companies use an age limit to determine when a person is no longer considered a dependent (e.g. specifying that dependents must be under 21), while others do not.
What if I normally live with my parents, but now live at college?
Even if you live on campus, you might be covered under your parents’ renters insurance as long as you’re a full-time student and you return to your parents’ household when you’re not at school. Most renters insurance policies include language noting that they cover students.
However, a few caveats apply to this coverage:
- It might only apply if you live in a dorm, sorority, or fraternity housing. If you move into your own apartment, you may need to get your own policy.
- Personal property that you store at school is considered “off-premises” and may be subject to a 10% sub-limit, which means that your provider will only cover it up to 10% of your parents’ normal personal property coverage limit. (However, some insurers waive this off-premises sub-limit for students.)
Insurance companies vary in how they treat dependents living away from home. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to confirm that you have enough coverage.
What if I’m renting my home from my parents?
If you’re renting your home from your parents, you aren’t eligible to receive coverage under their insurance policy. As far as your insurer is concerned, you’re no longer part of their household — they’re your landlords, and you’re their tenant. That means you need to buy your own renters insurance.
What if I’m not a student and don’t live with my parents at all?
If you’re not a student and you don’t live with your parents, you’re not covered by your parents’ renters insurance, regardless of whether you meet the age requirement. Renters insurance only covers people who live in the same household.
Is it a good idea to have my own renters insurance if I live with my parents?
If your parents’ renters insurance covers you, you don’t absolutely need to buy your own policy. However, doing so can still be a good idea for the following reasons:
It guarantees you’ll have enough personal property coverage
Your parent’s renters insurance policy may not provide enough coverage to fully protect both your belongings and theirs. Standard policies usually provide between $15,000 and $30,000 in personal property coverage, and as mentioned, most feature sub-limits which further limit how much your insurer will pay for certain classes of items, such as jewelry.
If you and your parents share your renters insurance, you have to divide your coverage between more people, which means that if a major disaster (like a fire) destroys your things, some of them might not be covered. If you get your own policy, you don’t have to worry about that — you and your parents can both file your renters insurance claims separately.
It gives you control over the policy
When you share your renters insurance with your parents, only they have the right to make changes to the policy. It’s up to them whether or not they want to buy more coverage or add a renters insurance endorsement or rider.
Having your own renters insurance lets you tailor your policy to your needs. For example, suppose you’d like to make sure your provider will pay for your expensive stereo if it’s stolen. You can contact them directly and buy extra coverage for it without going through your parents.
It protects your parents’ insurance history
When you file a claim on your parents’ policy, it will go on their insurance history. Each claim will cause your insurer to raise your parents’ renters insurance premiums (meaning they’ll have to pay more every month) and if you file too many, they might drop your parents from coverage altogether.
To prevent this, it’s safer for everyone to have separate policies and separate insurance histories.
It lets you establish your own insurance history
Similarly, taking out your own policy is a great way to start establishing a positive insurance history of your own — one which demonstrates that you don’t file too many claims. (Insurers expect one claim every five to ten years, so try not to file any more than that.)
Having a mostly claim-free history makes it easier and cheaper to get a policy, and means your insurer is less likely to drop you when you do have to file in the future. Staying with the same insurer for an extended time may also qualify you for loyalty discounts and other perks.
Should I cancel my renters insurance if I move back in with my parents?
If you used to live on your own but need to move back home, you’ll be covered under your parents’ renters or homeowners insurance because you’re a family member.
That means that you can cancel your renter insurance if you want to. However, do your homework first — don’t cancel it until you verify that your parents’ policy provides the personal property and personal liability coverage you need.
You should also check whether your policy has a cancellation fee. If it does, it might make more sense for you to just maintain your policy, especially if there’s a chance that you’ll move again soon.