Does your college student need renters insurance?

If one roommate has a renters insurance policy, don't expect it to cover all of your stuff, too. (Image Source: CNN)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW / CNN) – If your child is headed off to college and renting their first apartment, you are probably looking for renters insurance.

This could protect your child’s items from that new computer to furniture and clothes. Whether damage is a result of theft, fire, or a storm, replacement in nearly every situation is up to the renter, not the landlord.

“Landlords typically cover the building and not the tenant’s belongings,” said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at, a Bankrate company. “They will not replace any damaged or stolen items.”

There are three basic types of protection when it comes to renters insurance: personal possessions, liability and additional living expenses.

Personal possession protection covers your belongings if they are lost or damaged due to a fire, vandalism or theft among other things.

Liability protection is used in a situation such as your dog bites the mail delivery person, or someone cuts themselves while making dinner at your place. Liability protection can help cover any medical expenses and, in some cases, can pay for your legal fees if you get sued.

Lastly, addition living expenses coverage will help pay for a hotel or temporary rental unit if you are displaced from your home because of a storm or fire.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports the average yearly cost of renters insurance is $184. The amount, however, will vary depending on the location and size of the rental unit and how much coverage you need.

It’s also important to understand that even if your child’s roommate has renters insurance, it likely only covers the policy holder’s items. Do not be pressured to go with a certain company even if a landlord suggests it.

The bottom line, “If you can’t afford to replace everything,” said Adams, “you are really rolling the dice if you don’t have renters insurance.”

CNN contributed to this report.

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