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Can Roommates Share a Renters Insurance Policy?

Posted on June 1, 2012

Roommates can sometimes split the cost of property insurance

The former PS 13 is now an apartment building. (Photo courtesy of Jim Henderson, via Wikimedia Commons)

Can roommates share a renter’s insurance policy? Yes, if they find the right insurer.

With rents rising to new heights, New Yorkers are looking for ways to squeeze pennies, whether they live in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx. Finding a roommate is an easy way to trim your budget, but it does create a new set of questions:

If a kitchen fire spreads and melts my roommate’s vintage vinyl, would she be covered for her losses?

If someone broke in and took my laptop and my roommate’s TV, would we both be covered by insurance?

Can we split the cost of an insurance policy?

The answer to all three questions: Maybe.

Most insurers will allow a pair of unrelated roommates to share the same insurance policy. It’s important, though, for each roommate to understand the policy’s coverage terms. While one roommate may be perfectly content with an inexpensive policy that will replace a couch and some clothes, her roomie might need a much larger policy in order to replace her original Little Richard, Sam Cooke and Frank Sinatra LPs.

If your coverage needs are very different (no reason for you to help insure your roommate’s baseball card collection, after all), it might make sense to buy separate policies.

But let’s say your coverage needs match up. You’ll still want to be careful.

If both names are on the policy, some insurers will let one person change the coverage without confirming the changes with the other person, which can lead to some nasty surprises — especially if one roommate decides to lower coverage levels.

Having both your names on the policy also means that, in the event of an insured loss, you will be filing a joint claim. If a kitchen fire destroys your couch and your roommate’s vintage vinyl, the insurer will write one check, and the two of you have to decide how to divvy up the money.

If you trust your roommate, sharing a policy can be another way to save money. Gotham Brokerage has been offering renters insurance, condo insurance and co-op insurance to New Yorkers for 50 years, and we can help renters get excellent coverage for as little as $20 a month.

Fill out our quote request form or call the number above to learn more about how we can help.

Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc. is a family run insurance brokerage serving New Yorkers for over 50 years. We specialize in the insurance needs for those living in the city and provide a full range of insurance products designed specifically for the city.