Wherever you live, you need insurance to protect what’s yours. In the event of a fire, a disastrous natural event, or someone breaking into your home, for example, insurance will protect the cost of what you already own.
But when it comes to moving in with someone, things get a bit more complicated. You’re moving into someone else’s home. They have a homeowners policy, so you know that their home and belongings will be covered in a disaster or theft. But what about your belongings?
The key question here is: Should you get your own form of insurance when you move in — in this case, renters insurance — or just assume you’ll be covered under your partner’s homeowners policy?
Before we explain exactly what to do in this situation, let’s lay the groundwork by clarifying the key differences between homeowners insurance and renters insurance.
Homeowners Insurance Vs. Renters Insurance
When it comes to insurance, it’s first important to remember that coverage largely hinges on the particular policy you choose. With that said, in general, homeowners insurance is meant to cover the following:
• The actual structure of the home
• Some or all of the property and belongings inside
• Certain liability situations
This coverage applies to the person or people who own the home and resident relatives. It does not apply to people who are just living there (i.e., a girlfriend or boyfriend who has just moved in).
Renters insurance is different from homeowners insurance in that it does not cover the actual structure of a building or apartment. That coverage should be taken care of by a policy that the owner of your building or apartment purchases — your landlord. Instead, renters insurance is purchased by renters or tenants in a house or building, and it covers their property inside their unit.
What to Do for Insurance Coverage When Moving In With Someone
As you may have worked out, you’ll need your own coverage when you move in with someone. Whether you’re moving in with a romantic partner or a friend or roommate, your own insurance policy (renters insurance) will provide coverage for your property and belongings in the event of a disaster, a theft, a fire, or another unfortunate incident.
This goes for liability coverage as well. If someone is, for example, injured by your property in the home you’re cohabiting with someone else and that person decides to bring the case to court and sue for damages, this may be your responsibility. If you don’t have your own renters insurance policy, it could mean serious financial ramifications for you and the loss of all your savings.
Let’s say this again: when you move in with someone, if you and the homeowner are not married, you must get your own renters insurance policy. If you didn’t do this, and for example, a huge flood caused damage to your home and ruined all of the belongings you had left in the communal rooms and your bedroom, you would not receive any compensation for these things under the homeowners insurance policy.
If you are the person who owns the home and your significant other or a roommate is moving in, it’s important to remind this person that your homeowners insurance policy won’t cover their belongings.
When You’re on the Road to Marriage
Here’s yet another factor to keep in mind: if you’ve already made the commitment of saying “I do” soon, you may be in a different situation. That is, if you’re moving in with your partner because you’ll be married soon and you’re absolutely committed, you could technically be added as an additional homeowner on your partner’s policy — instead of getting a renters insurance policy.
Of course, only you and your partner know the true seriousness of your relationship. But just remember that this scenario should only be reserved for those who definitely plan on getting married. For the most part, insurance companies will not provide homeowners insurance coverage to two people who aren’t married or getting married soon.
When Two Parties Jointly Own a Property But Aren’t Married
It’s true that most insurance companies will not provide joint homeowners insurance coverage to two parties who aren’t married or getting married soon. However, certain insurance companies will write a homeowners policy for two parties who own a property jointly.
This, however, is a generally rare scenario. Most of the time, two people living together who aren’t married will be in a situation where one person owns the home and the other is “cohabiting.” And again, in this case, the person moving in will want to purchase renters insurance.
As a final note, don’t forget to shop around when it comes to finding renters insurance. As you know about insurance, all policies can be wildly different. If you put in the work and do the research, however, you’ll surely be able to find a renters insurance policy that works for you, and you’ll be able to fully protect yourself and your belongings in the event of a disaster.