Browsing Tag

renters

Student Life

Your Rights as a Renter: A Guide for College Students

February 4, 2021

Going to college is a huge opportunity and one that offers an incredible number of unique and first-time experiences. At the same time, it will likely be the first time you’ve lived away from home, figured out your schedule, and made your own rules.

Amongst all of these first-time experiences, there are a couple of instances where you may be taken advantage of because of your inexperience with the process. Some of these instances may orient around your first rental experience. Because of this, it is essential to do your research and know your rights as a renter. 

Getting into a Rental

As you first start applying to and looking at rentals, there are several things to take into consideration. For instance, how much are you able to pay for rent each month with or without utilities included? Are you willing to live with roommates? Do you have specific conditions that you can’t live in?

Determining these things will help you set a budget and narrow your search a bit. Once you start looking at places, you should also think about your rights and requirements for living, such as:

  • Deposit Limits: Most states have rules about how much a landlord can charge you to secure your spot in a rental.
  • Documentation of Rental Facility Conditions: If you have to pay a security deposit that will be used to fix and clean things when you leave, it is important to document the condition when you move in with pictures and notes that are signed by both you and the landlord.
  • A Lease Copy: You will be provided a copy of your lease agreement. Read it and ask questions before signing.
  • Livable Conditions: Landlords are required to meet certain standards of living conditions that include working utilities, safety features, and free from certain types of damage including asbestos contamination, mold, or vermin.
  • Rental Raises: Your lease stipulates what your rent is for the duration of your lease and it cannot be raised until your lease is up.
  • Insurance: Your landlord may or may not require you have renters insurance, but it is always a good idea. Check out GradGuard for renters insurance that’s made for college students.

Making it Your Own

Once you’ve researched your rental rights, asked questions about them, and feel good about signing your lease, it’s time to start moving in. There are plenty of exciting things you can do now that you have your own place, so take the time to make it your own! As you make yourself at home, you should keep certain things in mind like:

  • Privacy: Your landlord is not allowed to come into your home without giving you notice and a reason.
  • Decoration Abilities: Your landlord cannot tell you how you can or can’t decorate your rental as long as you are not damaging anything.
  • Prohibitions: Your lease will stipulate prohibitions like painting walls, putting large nails or screws in to hang things, or tearing out carpet.
  • Landlord Installations: If you’re interested in installing anything that could make the rental facility more valuable or more energy-efficient, talk to your landlord about it. You may not be able to install it yourself, but your landlord may be open to the changes. Then they can cover some of the costs and install it themselves.

Being a first-time renter can be an awesome experience if you take the time to find a good place to live with an honest landlord. Do your homework and know your rights as a renter — things will work out for the best!

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Other Transition

Why Renters Insurance is A Smart Decision for College Students

January 17, 2019

College students are smart to consider protecting themselves with renters insurance.  In fact, a majority of state insurance commissioners recommend college students consider renters insurance.

According to the 2018 Clery Act reports on campus crime, colleges and universities reported 22,469 burglaries. During the same year, campuses reported 2,070 fires within on-campus student housing.

“While property crimes like burglary and campus fires are an ongoing problem on many college campuses, the good news is that there is a renters insurance policy that is designed just for college students,” said John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, an authority on protecting the investment of college students and their families and a leading provider of renters insurance to schools nationwide.

With so much money at stake, Fees suggests that college parents make a plan in case their student is a victim of theft, their property is damaged by a fire or water damage or if they are found responsible for accidental damages they may cause. As a result, college students and their families are smart to consider purchasing renters insurance before the start of school.

The Top 3 Reasons Renters Insurance is a Smart Decision for College Students:

  1. If you can’t afford to replace your backpack, bicycle or computer – Renters insurance can replace your stolen or damaged property.  Renters insurance can cover those costs and help you get back to classes, without the added stress of a financial loss.
  2. If your school does not replace stolen or damaged property – The majority of schools do not replace stolen or damaged student property. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk.
  3. If you can’t afford to pay for accidental damages you may cause – True renters insurance includes personal liability protection and can help pay for unintentional damages when a student cannot.

According to Bob Soza, President of College Parents of America, “not all renters insurance programs are the same. We recommend GradGuard’s college renters insurance plan because it includes an exclusive student endorsement that provides affordable coverage that features a low deductible, worldwide property coverage, and no credit check.”

Fees continued, “college students and their parents are often caught unprepared and these unexpected incidents can also disrupt a students’ education.  Fortunately, they do not also need to be unprotected, for about $.50 cents a day, students can secure protection against financial losses making renters insurance a must have consideration for college families.”

This article was updated in July 2020

Other Safety

What To Do If Your Laptop is Stolen at College

August 23, 2018
What to Do If Your Laptop is Stolen

So you were at the library and got up for a minute. Maybe you left your dorm room door open while running to the bathroom. Maybe you went to check on something while you were doing work in the lounge. Maybe your apartment was broken into. Whatever the reason, the laptop you once had is now gone. What do you do?

Having your laptop stolen is the worst. Though it may make you want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever, that’s likely not an option mid-semester when you’ve got papers to write and tests to study for. Instead, follow these tips to regain your sanity and replace your laptop.

File a Police Report

If you’re on-campus, contact campus police to file a report. If you’re off-campus, contact your city or town’s police department to file a report with them. This is important because if your laptop is found, it can be returned, and if you’re filing an insurance claim, you’ll need to have filed a police report first.

Change Your Passwords

If you know you have saved passwords on your laptop or are auto-logged into sensitive or personal accounts, like your email, Facebook, or bank accounts, get to a computer to change them right away.

Consider Identity Theft Protection

If you’ve stored sensitive information on your laptop, like your credit card numbers and passwords, you may want to consider purchasing Identity Theft Protection to help alert you if someone uses your information to commit fraud. Identity Theft Protection is often offered for a low monthly rate and can provide assistance in resolving any incidents and can also offer insurance for lost funds.

Check on Coverage

Do you have a renters insurance policy? If you do, consult your policy to look for a couple things. First, check if there is any limit on electronics coverage and make sure that your laptop doesn’t exceed that amount. Next, check to see what kind of replacement your policy provides. Then, check for your deductible. This will be the amount that you’ll have to pay out of pocket to replace your laptop, your insurance will cover the rest.

After you’ve got all this info, you’ll need to file a claim with the insurance company to replace the laptop. Check your policy docs for information on where to send your claims info. According to the Internet (Mint.com), it’ll take about a week or two for the money to come through or your laptop to be replaced. If you purchase Renters Insurance from GradGuard, our underwriter, Markel, will be in touch within 24 hours.

If you don’t have Renters Insurance, talk to your parents about whether you might be covered under their Homeowners Insurance. If you are, and the deductible is lower than the cost to replace the laptop (homeowners’ deductibles tend to fall around $500-$1,000), it could make sense to file a claim under their Homeowners Insurance. Keep in mind that filing a claim on their insurance may raise their premium, so it may make sense to just replace it out of pocket, especially if they have a high deductible.

Hopefully, you have some coverage, if not, you’ll have to figure out how to replace your laptop on your own. In the meantime, look into your options around campus – there may be computer labs you can use until you are able to get a replacement. Otherwise, be sure you back up your documents and get a college renters insurance policy!

Other Safety

What To Do If Your Laptop is Stolen at College

May 22, 2015
What to Do If Your Laptop is Stolen

So you were at the library and got up for a minute… or maybe you left your dorm room door open while running to the bathroom… maybe you went to check on something while you were doing work in the lounge… or maybe your apartment was broken into. Whatever the reason, the laptop you once had is now gone. What do you do?

Having your laptop stolen is the worst. Though it may make you want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever, that’s likely not an option mid-semester when you’ve got papers to write and tests to study for. Instead, follow these tips to regain your sanity and replace your laptop.

This is what you need to do if your laptop is stolen while at college!

File a Police Report

If you’re on-campus, contact campus police to file a report. If you’re off-campus, contact your city or town’s police department to file a report with them. This is important because if your laptop is found, it can be returned, and if you’re filing an insurance claim, you’ll need to have filed a police report first.

Change Your Passwords

If you know you have saved passwords on your laptop or are auto-logged in to sensitive or personal accounts, like your email, Facebook, or bank accounts, get to a computer to change them right away.

Consider Identity Theft Protection

If you’ve stored sensitive information on your laptop, like your credit card numbers and passwords, you may want to consider purchasing Identity Theft Protection to help alert you if someone uses your information to commit fraud. Identity Theft Protection is often offered for a low monthly rate and can provide assistance in resolving any incidents and can also offer insurance for lost funds.

Check on Coverage

Do you have renters insurance policy? If you do, consult your policy to look for a couple things. First, check if there is any limit on electronics coverage and make sure that your laptop doesn’t exceed that amount. Next, check to see if your policy provides “replacement cost.” This will help you determine how you’ll be able to replace the laptop – it’s current depreciated value or the what it would cost to replace said laptop. Replacement cost will provide you with the funds to purchase a new one. Then, check for your deductible. This will be the amount that you’ll have to pay out of pocket to replace your laptop, your insurance will cover the rest.

After you’ve got all this info, you’ll need to file a claim with the insurance company to replace the laptop. Check your policy docs for information on where to send your claims info. According to the Internet (Mint.com), it’ll take about a week or two for the money to come through or your laptop to be replaced. If you purchase Renters Insurance from GradGuard, our underwriter, Markel, will be in touch within 24 hours.

If you don’t have Renters Insurance, talk to your parents about whether you might be covered under their Homeowners Insurance. If you are, and the deductible is lower than the cost to replace the laptop (homeowners’ deductibles tend fall around $500-$1,000), it could make sense to file a claim under their Homeowners Insurance. Keep in mind that filing a claim on their insurance may raise their premium, so it may make sense to just replace it out of pocket, especially if they have a high deductible.

Hopefully you have some coverage, if not, you’ll have to figure out how to replace your laptop on your own. In the meantime, look into your options around campus – there may be computer labs you can use until you are able to get a replacement. Hopefully your assignments were saved some place where you can access them still! Best of luck!

Take the right steps if your laptop gets stolen while at college!