Perspective Newsletter

Have a roommate? What you need to know about renter insurance

Two roommates on a couch

​Ready to call the Emerald City home? Expect to pay an average of $2,736 to rent a two-bedroom apartment, according to the latest figures from Rent Jungle. That's up from $1,576 just five years ago! And rents elsewhere in the Northwest aren't far behind.  

It's no wonder more people than ever now share the cost with a roommate.

Although splitting the bill on rent, cable, utilities, and groceries keeps more cash in your pocket, there's one bill you shouldn't try to share: renter insurance.

Renter insurance covers your belongings in case of theft, fire, and other damage. It also gives you liability protection and pays the cost of additional living expenses if your home is rendered unlivable by an insured disaster.

Most insurance companies, including PEMCO, exclude roommates from renter policies. Instead, they write individual policies for each person.

Why would you want to keep things separate? You shouldn't be responsible for keeping track of your roommate's belongings or any liability concerns he or she may present. It's also hard to figure out who should pay for what when splitting the bill. (Is your stuff worth more? Your roommate's? And what about that heirloom wedding ring your roommate later adds to the policy?)

Roommate living arrangements also tend to be fluid, changing as job or educational opportunities arise. You easily could get stuck with the entire bill if a roommate moves out unexpectedly.

On the other hand, if you're part of an unmarried couple in a relationship, PEMCO will write you a single policy (listing both names). Couples tend to  have more stable living arrangements, and it's likely they'll acquire property together.

If you'd like help finding the right renter insurance plan for you, call your local PEMCO agent or 1‑800‑GO‑​PEMCO.

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