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Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills today encouraged New York college students residing off-campus to consider purchasing renters’ insurance to protect their personal property.

"Renters’ insurance offers important coverage in the event valuable items such as a computer, television, stereo, bicycle or furniture are damaged, destroyed or stolen. Moreover, a typical renters’ insurance policy also provides liability protection should a student be sued as the result of an occurrence on the rental premises," Superintendent Mills stated.

Renters’ insurance policies generally distinguish between ‘actual cash value’ and ‘replacement cost’ coverage. If a stereo system is stolen from an off-campus apartment five years after the system was purchased, for example, the policyholder with actual cash value coverage would be reimbursed at a rate equal to what a five-year-old stereo system is valued at in today’s market. Meanwhile, replacement cost coverage, while requiring a policyholder to pay higher premiums, would under the scenario outlined above reimburse a policyholder for the full cost of purchasing a new stereo system.

In addition, renter’s insurance policies are relatively inexpensive but premium rates can vary significantly based upon the insurer, coverage limits, deductibles and the property’s location. Most renter’s policies limit to a specific dollar amount coverage for stolen or damaged computers and their related equipment so prospective policyholders should verify what the policy limits are and purchase higher limits, if needed. To insure more expensive items that are going to be housed at an off-campus residence, such as fine jewelry or an art collection, policyholders will often need either a rider or a floater added to the renters’ policy.

College students residing on-campus and still considered a dependent are generally covered for these types of losses under their parent’s homeowners’ insurance policy. Parents should, however, review their current homeowner’s policy to confirm that coverage exists for students while living in a college dormitory. Depending upon the location of the parents’ home, coverage may be limited and/or off-premises theft exclusions may need to be added back onto a parent’s homeowners’ policy.

More on this issue can be found at the New York State Insurance Department’s website,, with a click onto ‘Consumers,’ and then the ‘Homeowners’ icon to find out details pertaining to renters’ policies. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) educational website,, also has comprehensive information on the topic housed under its ‘Young Singles’ section

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