Student housing on East Fifth street on Monday, April 18, 2016. With new student leases about to start in June, students are now in the market for renter's insurance. (Mike Gibbons/B&W Staff)

Residential Services encourages students to purchase renters insurance

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Students who will live off campus next semester will begin paying their leases in June, and these students will need to decide if they will purchase renters insurance. To inform students about this process, Residential Services will be hosting a presentation in Lamberton Hall on Thursday.

Speakers for the presentation include Teresa Miller, the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner; Ozzie Breiner, the director of Residential Services; Ryan Oestreich, a member of the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Council; and Frank Nestore, who is a landlord and member of Diversified Investor Group.

“The presentations will cover all the different kinds of angles and talk about all the different kinds of situations that students will run in to and why it’s in their best interest for themselves to cover their belongings,” said Alicia Herzog, an assistant director of Residential Services.

According to Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department website, renters insurance is available to all who would to have their property protected. For college students who live on campus, their property most likely is covered by their parents’ homeowners insurance policy. If the student has off-campus housing, however, renters insurance may not be provided through the landlord.

Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department also said it can protect one’s property from damages, theft and liability if that is written into the policy. A policy can help replace stolen items, protect the policy holder if someone is injured on their property and can protect the person’s belongings if they were lost or stolen outside of the home.

Lehigh’s Residential Services encourages all Lehigh students — residential hall, off-campus, Greek residents and graduate housing — to have renters insurance that fits their needs. Lehigh does not carry insurance for its students’ belongings, nor do they cover students’ personal belongings if a situation were to occur.

“You can never be too prepared,” Herzog said. “Having insurance to cover your belongings is always a smart thing. You can never predict the unexpected.”

Herzog said students will be able to ask questions and have a discussion about renters insurance at the event. The four speakers will share their experiences and give advice to students.

“The landlord, Nestore, had a situation where his tenants had a fire and lost everything,” Herzog said. “From a Lehigh perspective, we’ve had students who have lost personal items due to theft or flood.”

For off-campus resident Jay Lee, ’17, renters insurance was never an option.

“I didn’t even know there was insurance for renters,” he said. “I think part of it is that I am an international student, and I am just living there temporarily. My landlord never asked me if I was getting any kind of insurance.”

Lee said if he were to live at his place for more than three years or if he didn’t live in a single, he would have considered purchasing renters insurance.

Hyowon Park, ’16, lived off campus for two years and did not purchase renters insurance. She said she never discussed it with her landlord or her friends.

“As a college student, at least for me, I don’t own a lot of valuable things that I feel I need to protect,” Park said. “Everything feels like temporary property. The things I have are the things that I put together to use for a couple of years, but not something I really have much attachment to.”

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