When you don’t live alone, “who is an insured on renters insurance” can be a crucial question. Coverage certainly hinges on it, and your leasing office will want to make sure that everyone living there is covered in some fashion. So let’s take a look at it. We’ll assume that it’s a Winston-Salem, NC Renters Insurance policy, but the general premises are largely the same across most states.
Let’s tackle a common misconception first, though.
Additional Insureds On Renters Insurance
Know the difference between additional interest vs. additional insured. Additional interest has nothing to do with who is an insured, it just means that the additional interest (your leasing office) would be notified if there was a change in the status of the policy.
Additional insured doesn’t mean they have any interest in coverage for your personal property, either. It just means that they’re also insured under the liability section of your renters insurance. If someone sues you and them, your policy would respond with a defense. The problem is, that may impact their ability to get coverage if you incur liability to them.
Who Is An Insured? You!
Pretty self-explanatory, really. You are an insured, because it’s your policy. You’ve contracted with the insurance company for coverage, so of course you’re an insured. It’s possible to have an additional named insured, such as a spouse, but in many cases that’s not necessary.
Who Is An Insured? Your Spouse
The policy states that your spouse is considered to be an insured under your renters insurance policy. That means that, even if they’re not listed, they’re still covered. This makes sense, because spouses are often part of the same act of negligence or the same loss. Denying coverage because they weren’t listed wouldn’t make any sense.
Many policies, however, specify that your resident spouse is an insured. If your spouse is on a business trip, they’re still resident. If you’re separated, on the other hand, that’s different and you should speak with your insurer to make sure that you have the coverage you need.
Who Is An Insured? Resident Relatives
If you’re sharing an apartment with your brother, there’s no concern – the policy is likely to contain language that says that resident relatives are covered. This also includes children, of course. Do read your policy, as the definition of resident relative is often clarified in it.
Who Is An Insured? Not Your Roommate, Unless…
Your roommate, or any other person with whom you live and to whom you are not related or married, is not likely to be an insured. This means that your roommate needs a policy of their own, or they need to be correctly endorsed onto your policy where possible. This is specific to the underwriter, and needs to be handled properly. Some people have been known to add their roommate as an additional named insured or coapplicant, but this is rarely a good idea.
You cannot remove an additional named insured or coapplicant, and the check for a claim would come in both names. Down the road, this could be problematic. In what is perhaps a worst case scenario, what if your roommate dies? Their ownership interest in the check for your claim would pass to their estate, and could potentially be stuck in probate with all of the problems that entails.
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