College students have a lot to think about: midterms, majors, your cute lab partner. (And what’s Newton’s Law again?) Renters insurance is probably pretty far down the list. Maybe you think you don’t have anything worth insuring. Granted, most students don’t own priceless antiques or original Jackson Pollocks — but once you add up your bike, your books, your computer, your smartphone, your TV, your clothes, your futon, and that rug that ties the room together, you’re looking at a pretty valuable set of goods. And, most likely, you don’t have the cash on hand to buy it all again.

There’s also an increasingly good chance you’re living off campus this year. According to a recent study by the National Multi Housing Council, college enrollments climbed more than 38 percent between 2000 and 2010, causing a nationwide shortage of student housing. This means more students than ever are renting apartments or houses instead of staying in dorms. And, unlike dorm residents, your stuff generally won’t be covered by your parents’ homeowners policy if you live off campus.

“What does renters insurance do for me?”

Renters insurance helps pay to replace your stuff if it’s stolen or damaged. Let’s say there’s a fire in your building or your roommate leaves the back door unlocked. Renters coverage can keep you from having to blow your tuition on buying all new stuff. And if you have to move out of your place temporarily while it’s being repaired, your coverage can help pay for somewhere to stay.

Your coverage also follows you wherever you go. So, if your possessions get stolen while you’re at the library, the late-night diner, or on a semester abroad, you’re still protected. Even if the items are stolen out of your car, renters coverage often foots the bill.

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“It only protects my belongings?”

It’s not just about replacing your stuff. Renters coverage also helps you prepare for the unexpected. Even if you never take part in college hijinks (really? never?), life may still throw you a curveball. Along with protecting your things, renters insurance can also help cover legal and medical costs if someone gets hurt while they’re at your place or you accidentally damage someone else’s property.

Some of these coverages are optional, but fortunately, renters insurance is very affordable — typically, it could cost less per month than a large pizza.

“What if I live in a dorm?”

Most insurers don’t offer renters coverage for dorm rooms. But, there’s good news: if you’re under 26, there’s a good chance you’re covered under your parents’ homeowners policy. (Yay, parents!)

Just check that your coverage amounts are high enough now that you’re out of the house.

“My buddy and I are renting a sweet off-campus apartment, perfect for Breaking Bad marathons studying. How do I get renters coverage?”

Ask us for a renters coverage quote. Not only is renters insurance a smart move, but some landlords actually require it (be sure to check your lease).

Once you’re protected, you and your folks can rest easier, and you can turn your attention back to other things — like midterms. Or your cute lab partner.

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about Ellen

Ellen has spent many years as a professional wordsmith, helping to shed light on such topics as world travel, cargo pants, and the porosity of bath tiles. As a freelance copywriter for Esurance, she brings her boundless curiosity to the world of insurance. Outside work, she can be found cheering on the San Francisco Giants, hiking in the Oakland hills, and (barely) resisting smuggling penguins home from Antarctica.