Should Landlords Require Roommates to Get Separate Renters Insurance Policies?

October 29th, 2021
Should Landlords Require Roommates to Get Separate Renters Insurance Policies?

What makes a great roommate relationship? 

Some argue being alike helps, while others think roommates should be different. A select group of people swear that rooming with a best friend is a great way to ensure a healthy living situation, but another group completely disagrees.

What if we told you separate renters insurance policies are essential for a positive roommate relationship? Landlords know each tenant is unique, but so are their renters insurance needs.

Why should landlords care about renters insurance?

As a landlord or property manager, you may wonder why renters insurance is any of your business. After all, its protections apply to your tenants, not to you. Insurance is their responsibility—right?

Tenant retention is generally the primary goal of landlords and property managers. Recurring tenants save you money in marketing, turnover, and onboarding costs. Therefore, equipping your tenants with adequate insurance coverage is one small way to keep them comfortable and financially secure. Insurance consultation is a great way to increase your retention.

While landlords and property managers cannot secure renters insurance on behalf of tenants, you can require it for your property in most states. Here are some common reasons:

  • Helps to avoid roommate disputes in the event of damage or accident on your property.
  • Protects property owners from lawsuits in the event of damage or accident on your property.
  • Protects tenants from expensive medical bills and liability in the case of an accident on your property.
  • Shields tenants from the financial burden, allowing them to keep paying rent.
  • Provides peace of mind for both you and your tenants.

How renters insurance is different with roommates?

No matter how close roommates are or how well they get along, roommates can still have varying financial and coverage needs. Separate renters insurance for roommates can address these needs better than a joint policy.

Why are separate policies better for renters with roommates?

There are many reasons landlords should require separate renters insurance policies for roommates:

  • Having different amounts of personal property. The roommate with more belongings will need more coverage.
    • For example, expensive electronics, jewelry, designer bags, or artwork than the other.
  • Roommates with pets may need additional liability insurance to protect against pet-related damage or incidents.
  • Deciding to no longer live together and severing the joint insurance policy is a tedious process, versus purchasing individual policies in the first place.
  • Separate claims keep the non-impacted roommate from paying higher rates for auto and home insurance in the years ahead.

Does it ever make sense to purchase joint renters insurance with roommates?

One of the few instances of a joint renters insurance policy that makes sense for roommates are siblings, where one is the primary guardian for the other. However, adult siblings with a significant amount of separately owned belongings should still have separate renters insurance policies.

Even roommates in a committed relationship with a significant other may find things are easier when financial obligations are kept separate. This is especially true if their relationship is new or they don't co-own personal property.

Is renters insurance with roommates more expensive?

Separate policies are sometimes more expensive than one joint policy. However, the overall benefits are substantial. In addition, renters insurance is one of the most affordable types of insurance on the market. The price difference is typically only a few dollars per month for each roommate. That's a small price to pay for greater peace of mind and protection.

How can you help facilitate property renters insurance coverage for your tenants?

Here are several ways to help tenants understand their coverage:

  1. Providing information about renters insurance during the application and onboarding process. Pointing out the requirement in your lease agreement is a first step toward making your tenants aware of the need for renters insurance.
  2. Rather than making it an onerous obligation, offer a value-added solution to help tenants streamline their policy purchase.
  3. Provide a personal property checklist for tenants to help them determine how much renters insurance they need. This allows them to keep appropriate records to obtain adequate coverage.
  4. Consider requiring a pet policy or rider to their renters insurance if they have pets. This helps to ensure they are sufficiently protected should their pet cause damage or injury.
  5. Connect your renters with the coverage they need by facilitating renters insurance purchases. Continue to monitor and require proof of coverage throughout their tenancy.

RentSpree offers options that are designed to make life easier for renters, landlords, and property managers. We've partnered with Sure, the fastest-growing insuretech company in the industry, to provide solutions that work. Notify renters of their insurance obligation, streamline the process to obtain coverage, and help renters find the right coverage, all from the RentSpree platform. Then track their ongoing coverage right from the dashboard.