Can roommates share renters insurance? Here are the downsides.

can roommates share renters insurance coverage?
It’s smart to buy renters insurance for yourself—not only does it protect you from nightmares like fire and theft, but Jetty has options that can cover you in situations you might not expect, like cracking your phone screen, losing an engagement ring, or even getting bedbugs.

But what about sharing renters insurance with roommates? Here, we help tackle the question, “Does renters insurance cover roommates?” And the answer isn’t so simple.

Who’s covered in a renters insurance plan?

First off, it’s important to know who’s automatically covered in your plan before attempting to add your roommate. Spouses and relatives who live with you are covered on Jetty plans at no extra cost (this is true for most providers—but check with your provider to be sure). If you live with your significant other and are not married, you can also add that person to your plan for an additional $6 per month.

Can roommates share renters insurance?

The short answer is yes—some companies will allow you to add a roommate to your plan (check with your provider to see if they do). However, at Jetty, we don’t advise or allow our Members to do it because there are several disadvantages that come with sharing renters insurance with roommates.

Why we don’t recommend sharing renters insurance with a roommate

Your roommate’s claims could increase your monthly payment—now and in the future.

First and foremost, being covered jointly means that you share renters insurance history for all claims made under that plan. If your roommate, for example, files a theft claim, that would go on each of your insurance histories. By contrast, if you have separate renters insurance plans, you’re only responsible for your own claims. The problem is, filing claims can sometimes increase your future premiums (i.e., the monthly cost of your insurance). While nobody wants to have to file a claim, it’s even worse to have your roommate’s claim negatively affect your premiums or future insurability. In other words—when your roommate is on your plan, anything they do follows you.

It can be a hassle to remove them from your plan if you go your separate ways.

Another potential pitfall when considering if roommates can share renters insurance is determining what happens if one of you moves out (which may eventually happen—read more on breaking a lease with roommates). In that case, you’d need to remove their name from the plan and potentially negotiate new coverage.

You could be paying more for less coverage.

When you share a policy, you also share limits. A limit is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay you for each area of coverage, such as contents coverage (your things) and electronics protection. When you add a roommate to a plan, in most cases, you don’t actually get more coverage or higher limits—you’d have to increase them to ensure you get adequate coverage. Not only would this cost you extra money, but you’d also have to pay roughly $6 extra per month to add your roommate in the first place. When you factor in those added expenses, it often makes more sense to get individual plans, each for the amount of protection that you individually need (depending, for example, on how many belongings you have). With Jetty, our base plans start at $5/month, so getting separate policies tailored to your individual needs makes more sense than sharing renters insurance.

Does Jetty allow you to share renters insurance with roommates?

Jetty Renters Insurance plans (as with many providers) are not designed to cover roommates under the same policy because it’s not something we’d advise our Members to do. Think about it this way: Roommates aren’t generally operating as a unit (like a married couple or family would) when making financial decisions—outside of splitting cable, internet and utility bills. Insurance policies are designed to cover an individual or a family. You wouldn’t think of adding your roommate to your health insurance or your bank accounts just because you live together. The same rule applies here; you are entering into a contract and making decisions that could impact your coverage, pricing, and insurability.

Of course, every situation is different. There are situations where you could save money by adding a roommate to the plan—but those savings are usually marginal, and likely not worth sharing coverage and limits. By getting separate policies, you’ll typically get tailored coverage and personalized limits for around the same price. So, does renters insurance cover roommates? Yes, sometimes—but we wouldn’t recommend it. Have an open dialogue about sharing renters insurance before signing a lease with roommates to avoid potential conflict down the road.

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