Renters Insurance for cohabitating couple
November 6, 2008 12:09 PM   Subscribe

My SO and I (unmarried) are combining two apartments into one. We both currently have renters insurance of our own, each from our own car insurance company (not the same company). We are not interested in combining our car insurance under one account. Should we get renters insurance for both of us from one of our car insurance companies, or should we each retain our separate renters insurance that covers "my own stuff"?
posted by matildaben to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We have one renter's insurance plan. The bulk things with value are mine. I think that splitting it up would mean more money is outgoing though, since it's probably easier to get one plan for X amount rather than two plans at X and Y amount.

I'd be interested to see if people have other opinions though. It's not something i gave much thought.
posted by NormandyJack at 12:29 PM on November 6, 2008

Unless you're willing to assert joint ownership of your personal property you should stick with two plans. Insurance companies will not offer anyone a policy to insure things which they do not own, and if half (or whatever) of the property insured in a policy is owned by one person and the other half by the other person, this is just a recipe for legal shenanigans.

Keep your own policies. Unless you're willing to take the legal step of comingling your property, i.e. get married, you should try to keep your possessions as distinct as you can, not just in case you break up, but because if something should happen, navigating the legal system to make sure you get paid can be a real hassle if ownership is not unified.

This actually is likely to be no more expensive than getting a single policy. Most insurance companies offer discounts for having more than one policy, and in many cases, the discount on your vehicle insurance will more than pay for the renter's policy. If it isn't, consider switching companies.
posted by valkyryn at 12:35 PM on November 6, 2008

Ask both of your agents for a quote, I am sure you can get one renters policy. Ask them, they know better than we do!
posted by lee at 12:42 PM on November 6, 2008

I would advise you to leave as is. I don't know where you live, but years ago, when a boyfriend at the time called my insurance company for car insurance, the fact that he lived with me sparked off all sorts of things. The previous insurance company also immediately wanted to jack up my renter's insurance because i never told them there were two people living in the house, even though I told them that he didn't have anything worth insuring (true) and we didn't own any joint possessions.

I asked them what would happen if I was just sharing the apartment with someone I wasn't sleeping with and they insisted that that would cause the same things to happen.

That was about 15 years ago, and was when I switched to GEICO. Insurance companies may understand unmarried couples better now.
posted by micawber at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2008

My fiance and I have had a joint renters policy for a couple years. Valkyryn brings up a good point, but I'm not sure it is as complicated as that--our policy is in both of our names, and it covers all of our stuff (jointly owned or singly owned by either one of us). If anything, I can imagine that having two separate policies could potentially cause more problems than it solves in the event of someone injuring themself at your apartment. Renters policies usually cover personal liability and medical payments to others (at least, ours does) and I wonder if your separate insurance companies would each try to make the other pay, claiming it was the other's responsibility. I have no experience with this but it's worth asking your insurance company about.

On Preview: Our renters policy came from my car insurance agent (State Farm). They did not change my car policy in any way or force me to add my fiance as a driver. If you're really worried, just call and ask them in the most hypothetical of ways.
posted by Jemstar at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2008

Just as a side note, you'll want to make sure that it would be of a benefit to either of you to cancel if you did decide to go with just one policy for renter's. On my insurance, the discount I get for having multiple policies (renters and car) is more than the cost of renter's insurance, so having both on my policy actually saves me money over just having car insurance. It could be this is the case for either/both of you and it doesn't really make a difference either way to keep your own policies. (Was that clear as mud?)
posted by alpha_betty at 3:50 PM on November 6, 2008

My roommate and I had joint renters insurance for eleven years in six apartments in two different states. We never had to call in a claim, but we never had any trouble with our company understanding our status or making trouble for us, either. Our stuff was covered regardless of whose it was.

The only downside was that disentangling our policies when she moved to a different state required a few long phone calls and some patience, as they figured out how to give one of us "our" account number and then link the history of a second new policy number to the first (so that we could both keep the reduction in rates we got from being longtime customers.)
posted by desuetude at 6:56 PM on November 6, 2008

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