Students should consider renters insurance

Landlords of aging properties should help students decide if renters insurance is necessary.

Thousands of students at the University of Minnesota, once they’ve left the halls of the Superblock or other freshman dorms, look for places to live off campus.

The Dinkytown and Southeast Como neighborhoods are dense with college students. Some houses and apartments in these areas are quite old, such as the house next to Burrito Loco, which has stood in Dinkytown since 1887.

Given the problems this year in Southeast Como due to potentially toxic levels of trichloroethylene, or TCE, a chemical General Mills used in the mid-1900s, it’s time for the student communities in these neighborhoods to push landlords to provide greater living protections.

Earlier this month, a fire damaged two houses near campus, destroying the contents of one house entirely. The scenario brings up the concept of renters insurance, which college students should strongly consider, despite the additional cost and the perceived improbability of disaster.

Landlords should also play a greater role in helping tenants determine whether renters insurance is necessary at a particular property and whether those tenants can afford it. Most importantly, landlords need to be honest and upfront about the condition of the property they are renting out.

There are three types of renter protection: personal possessions, liability and additional living expenses. The average cost of a policy is $184 a year, but the rate will vary according to the size and location of the property and what the policy will cover.

Landlords should work with students and other renters to help assess the cost of a policy and develop a recommendation based on the tenant and the property profiles.