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College students — and many young adults — often find themselves living with a roommate or two. While splitting rent and utilities can be great, it can also be tricky if that $20 bill on top of your dresser goes missing or the tablet you left on your desk mysteriously disappears.
If you end up with a roommate with sticky fingers, that could put valuables in your room or car at risk of being stolen. Roommate theft can be hard to tackle if there isn’t any clear-cut evidence or if your roommate is a friend.
Make sure you have the right type & amount of insurance
If the worst does happen, insurance agents can make sure you have the right insurance. Depending on the circumstances, and the specifics of the policy, stolen stuff could be covered under you or your parents’ homeowners’ insurance or your own renters’ insurance.
Standard homeowners’ and renters’ policies provide insurance protection for personal belongings such as clothing, furniture and sports equipment in the event of theft, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, these policies offer limited coverage for highly valuable items.
If you have made purchases or received gifts that exceed policy limits, you may need to consider supplementing your policy with a floater orendorsement, a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy, such as accidental loss. Your insurance agent can help you select the best option.
Secure your stuff
Erie Insurance offers these eight tips to help you secure your stuff and prevent roommate theft:
1. Communicate. | When first moving in with your new roommate, be sure to discuss what you feel comfortable borrowing or lending out. Letting them know up front if you don't like sharing food, clothes, electronics or money will help set up a general guideline both of you can follow.
2. Don't leave items out. | Leaving something unattended or out in the open increases the opportunity for someone to notice it and take it. Wallets, phones, your keys and ID cards are easy to snatch when you aren't looking. Hold on to sensitive items, and if you aren't using them, put them somewhere safe.
3. Don't give out private information. | This includes your passwords, social security number or any personal information that could help someone gain access into your room or bank account. Lending out your keys or swipe cards can also put your items at risk.
4. Limit what you say on social media. | While you may be itching to update your status and post what an amazing deal you got on that new laptop, you'd also be letting everyone know you have a fancy new piece of technology in your room. Be careful what you post.
5. Engrave high-value items. | Engraving your initials or a personal message on your electronics or other pricier items can make it more difficult for a thief to sell them, possibly deterring them from stealing it all together. It also makes it easier for any items to be returned to you.
6. Lock your door. | It may sound like common sense, but if you don't share a bedroom with your roommate, lock your door when you're not home. Likewise, if your roommate is throwing a party or inviting friends over that you may not trust, locking your door is an easy way to prevent strangers from entering without your permission.
7. Invest in a safe. | A safe can help you securely store cash, credit cards, jewelry and more. Learn more about what to look for when shopping for a safe.
8. Install a security camera. | Smart home technology is getting better and more affordable for a college student's budget. Many security cameras are under $100. Just make sure to tell your roommate you're installing a camera. Just knowing there's a camera on the premises can be a deterrent.
Jayleen R. Heft
Jayleen Heft is the digital content editor for PropertyCasualty360.com. Contact her at email@example.com.