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A UF Student’s Guide to Renter’s Insurance

By Nicole

Are you a student learning about the housing process and unsure of renter’s insurance or if you need it? Don’t worry, most students have questions about it.

At Sweetwater, we have helped hundreds of students on their search for housing. We often get questions like, “What is renter’s insurance?” and “Do I have to have it?”

For that reason, we have created this complete guide to renter’s insurance that will answer all of your questions and more.

In this article, we answer the most frequently asked questions about renter’s insurance, including:

Four girls study on the lawn at Depot Park near UF

A Student’s Guide to Renter’s Insurance in Gainesville

What is renter’s insurance?

In short, renter’s insurance is a type of insurance that covers damages to you or your landlord’s property. Among other damages, the most common forms of damages caused by theft, fires and natural disasters.

As you probably know, Florida is known for crazy weather and storms. Renter’s insurance would most likely cover you from damages caused by hurricanes and tropical storms.

It’s important to note that there are many types of renter’s insurance, so check your specific property’s policy to see what it actually covers. For example, while some policies cover personal property (belongings that you own), others cover personal liability (legal costs if you are liable for an injury that happens to someone in your home).

Now that you know what renter’s insurance is, let’s get into details about if you need it and, if you do, how you can get it.

Do you need renter’s insurance?

The answer is almost always, “Yes!”

Renter’s insurance is not required by law in Florida, but most landlords in Gainesville will require their tenants to have it. Landlords can also set the minimum dollar amount that the policy covers.

Most student housing apartments near campus offer their own renter’s insurance policy for residents, but most apartment policies only cover damages to the property and exclude damages to your personal belongings. This is especially important to know because many students make the mistake of assuming their landlord will cover damages to their personal property, but they typically won’t.

However, there are very few cases where the landlord is liable to cover your losses if you don’t have renter’s insurance, even if the damage isn’t your fault.

For example, if a pipe bursts in your apartment, destroying your laptop and textbooks, and you don’t have renter’s insurance, it’s your responsibility to replace these damaged items on your own.

This is why it’s important to get renter’s insurance to cover your personal belongings in the case of accidental damage or theft. So, if your insurance covers your personal belongings and an accident happens, your insurance will reimburse you to replace your personal items.

What does renter’s insurance cover?

Renter’s insurance provides protection for tenants during their lease in a rental property. Plans typically offer coverage for damages to the renter’s personal property or belongings caused by fire, theft, natural disasters, or other unforeseen events. There are different coverage types, including personal property coverage, personal liability coverage, and additional living expense, or loss of use, coverage.

Personal property coverage protects your belongings from covered incidents like fire or theft. 

Personal liability coverage protects you if you’re held responsible for injuries in your property or damages to someone else’s property. For example, if someone slips and falls on your property, or you accidentally damage someone else’s property, personal liability coverage can help cover medical expenses and legal fees. 

Additional living expense, or loss of use, coverage helps cover the cost of any extra expenses you may face if forced to leave your property. This can include additional costs associated with food, transportation, pet care and boarding, and so on.

How much does renter’s insurance cost?

In Florida, renter’s insurance typically costs around $10 a month, but it can vary anywhere from $5 to $25 per month.

This price varies greatly depending on which complex you live in and how much coverage you decide to get when selecting your policy.

Read Next: 15 Questions You Should Ask When Touring a Student Housing Apartment at UF

How do you get renter’s insurance?

Here are a few ways that students living in off-campus apartments can get renter’s insurance:

  1. Landlord Insurance
  2. Parents’ Homeowners Policy
  3. Your Own Policy

Your landlord might offer their own insurance policy that you can opt into or be automatically added to. A landlord’s insurance usually covers damages to the building and personal liability, but it usually doesn’t cover your personal items. If your landlord offers their own policy, read through it and ask questions to find out exactly what is covered.

Sweetwater requires that you have renter’s insurance, and we offer a policy that meets our minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage. This is pretty standard for apartments around University Avenue.

It’s possible that your parents’ homeowners policy covers your personal belongings, even if you’re not living with them. This coverage is typically limited to 10% of the policy’s personal property coverage, so you and your parents should check with both the insurance company and the landlord’s requirements to see if this is an option for you.

After reviewing the policy options of their landlord and their parents, many students decide that they want a completely separate policy to cover themselves. There are many affordable options online that are customizable to the amount of coverage you need. 

For more information about how you can get your own renter’s insurance policy, review the Renter’s Insurance Tool Kit, created by the Florida Department of Financial Services.


We hope that this article helps you better understand the importance of renter’s insurance at any apartment in Gainesville. If you have any questions about renter’s insurance at Sweetwater or want to know more about student housing in general, contact our leasing staff who would love to help you!


Nicole is the Community Manager at Sweetwater. She has worked in Property Management for 10 years. She have two little boys and a little girl on the way!

September 13, 2022

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