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Does My Renters Insurance Cover My Roommates?

If you’re renting and have a roommate, you may be wondering if they’re covered by your renters insurance policy. Typically, a roommate and their belongings aren’t covered by your policy, but there is an option available if you don’t both have your own renters insurance.

While it may not be the best idea for most renters, sharing a policy is an option. Before you sign that dotted line on a shared policy, however, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Watch this short video, then keep reading for a guide that can help you understand the ins and outs of roommates and renters insurance.


  1. [MUSIC PLAYING]

    [Narrator] Moving into an apartment or rental property with your new roomie?

    That's awesome!

    There are lots of benefits to living with a roommate:

    You get to split the cost of rent, utilities, maybe even groceries, but should you split the cost of renter's insurance?

    Let's look at how to add a roommate to your renter's insurance policy and how doing so may impact your coverage.

    Adding a roommate to your policy is pretty simple.

    First, make sure you're both listed on the lease, meaning no subletters or couch surfers.

    Second, do some research around the rules on sharing a policy with someone who isn't related to you.

    The guidelines can vary by state. Your local American Family Insurance agent is a great source for more information.

    Third, have your agent walk you through the process, and send you updated policy documents.

    In many cases, you can add your roommate to your policy with no cost, but you should double-check with your agent.

    While this process is pretty simple, it's important to understand the risks that come with it.

    For example, all insurance policies have coverage limits, which is the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay you in the event your things are damaged, destroyed, or stolen.

    When you add a roommate to your policy, your coverage limit does not increase. Instead, it's split between the two of you, meaning all your things together might not be fully protected.

    To make sure you are both fully covered, create a home inventory list of all your belongings and what they're worth. If that total number is more than your current coverage limits, you may not be fully protected. If that's the case, you may need to increase your coverage limit, which might increase your insurance premium.

    Before adding a roommate to your policy, it's a good idea to ask them about their claims history. If they've filed a large number of claims in the past, it could impact your eligibility to get a renter's policy or increase what you currently pay.

    Speaking of claims, let's take a look at how the claims process changes when you put your roomie on your policy.

    If you share a policy with your roommate, the reimbursement check will be made out to both of you.

    Even if only your belongings need to be repaired or replaced, your roommate would still have to co-sign the check before you can deposit it, and did you know that any claims made on your policy will go on your personal insurance history? That includes claims your roommate makes, even if your belongings weren't part of the claim!

    Your personal insurance history can affect your future premiums, and past claims can mean paying more for insurance in the future.

    So, sharing a renter's policy with your roommate might save you a few bucks, but it comes with some pretty significant consequences.

    On the other hand, most renter's policies are really affordable, about the cost of one delivery pizza per month. If you and your roommate each get your own policy, it might cost a little bit more, but it can bring greater peace of mind.

    Maybe split the cost of that delivery pizza with your roommate instead!

    Still not sure if you want to share your policy or maintain separate policies?

    Visit AmFam.com or contact your American Family Insurance agent for more helpful information about renters insurance, the claims process, and so much more!

    [American Family Insurance jingle]


How Do I Add My Roommate to My Renters Insurance Policy?

To add your roommate to your renters insurance policy, you should:

  • Make sure both of your names are on the lease. This means subletters and friends temporarily crashing at your pad don’t qualify.
  • Understand that the rules on sharing a renters insurance policy with unrelated roommates can vary state by state, depending on insurance laws.
  • Talk to your insurance agent to learn more about adding your roommate to your policy. They’ll have all the details.

Will All Our Possessions Be Covered?

If you and your roommate decide to share a renters policy, there are few things to note regarding property coverage.

Coverage limits

All insurance policies have coverage limits, which is the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay you in the event your stuff gets damaged or stolen. When you add a roommate to your renters policy, your coverage limit will not increase, and instead it gets split between the two — or more — of you.

Take note of your possessions

If you decide to add a roomie, it’s always a good idea to take a look at the combination of your possessions and decide whether your coverage limit is enough to cover both of you. A good idea is to create a home inventory — a list of all your belongings and how much they’re worth. That way you can better determine accurate coverage limits.

Check out these tips for creating a home inventory that can come in handy for both you and your roommate.

Know the costs of renters insurance

Do your research and understand the cost of renters insurance — you might just decide it’s so affordable you may as well each have your own policy!

How Does Personal Liability Work?

Personal liability coverage is a part of your renters policy that helps cover the costs due to accidental bodily injury and property damage of others. It also will help cover the cost of lawsuit expenses should something happen in your apartment.

For example, if you’re found liable for breaking your neighbor’s window when playing catch, your landlord most likely won’t cover the cost to fix it — but your renters liability insurance will. Or if you were to start a fire in your apartment by leaving a pizza too long in the oven, your landlord might have you cover the cost to repair damages to the unit. Your liability coverage on your renters policy will help pay that price.

One thing to note is that theft from a roommate — whether they’re on the policy or not — is not covered by a renters policy. That includes other intentional damage as well — so make sure you choose your apartment buddy wisely! Here are some great tips for finding a roommate.

Filing a Renters Insurance Claim With a Roommate

When you share a renters insurance policy with your roommate, making a claim is where things can get a bit complex. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you file a claim, the reimbursement check will be made out to both of you, which means even if the money is meant to cover damages that only affect your belongings, your roommate would still have to co-sign it.
  • Any claims made on your shared policy — whether you or your roommate make them — will go on your personal insurance history.
  • That claim will be on your record and factored into any insurance quotes you get in the future, and can have an effect on how much you pay.

Can I Add My Roommate to My Renters Insurance?

While it’s not recommended, sharing a renters insurance policy with your roommate is possible. Before you do so, make sure you’re on good terms and have an honest conversation regarding expectations. Once you’re both on the same page, you’ll both have peace of mind knowing you’re protected.

Learn more about renters insurance with roommates by chatting with your American Family Insurance agent today. Plus, check out our Renters and Apartment Resource Hub for more great tips and advice on renters insurance and apartment living.

This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.


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Related Topics: Renters