An “insured” is how the person (aka policyholder) being covered is referred to on a homeowners or renters insurance policy.
What does insured mean?
When you’re reading an insurance policy, you’re bound to come across the word ‘insured’ (way) more than once and it’s important to know what it means – because it’s you!
‘Insured’ is used to describe the person who is covered under an insurance policy.
Let’s say you live in a studio apartment, and you just got renters insurance. You’re reading through your policy, and it says, ‘We cover personal property owned or used by an ‘insured’ while it is anywhere in the world,’ the ‘insured,’ is you.
Who's an "insured" and who's not
Your renters or homeowners insurance policy covers everyone living at your place who’s related to you by marriage, blood, or adoption. That means your children, husband, wife, partner, parents, etc. … you get it.
A few notes here: If you aren’t legally married to your significant other, or in a legally-recognized union, you’ll have to add them as an ‘additional insured.’ And if you live with anyone outside of your immediate family too, you’ll need to get coverage for ‘additional insured‘ to make sure you’re all protected.
What about roommates, do they count as an "insured"?
Unless your roommate happens to be a member of your family (related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption), the answer is, unfortunately, no.
While your policy might cover some portion of your shared items (read: television bought together, refrigerators, etc.) we recommend telling ‘em to get their own policy.
Well, your roommate probably has a lot of their own personal property – phone, computer, bike, etc. – and that stuff won’t be covered under your insurance policy for common scenarios like theft of their bike while out at a bar, or theft of their phone on the subway.
Named insured vs. additional insured
The ‘named insured’ is the person, or people, who are actually listed on your insurance policy (like family members or sig others that may be living with you) and automatically covered by your insurance company.
You can usually find their names on the declarations page of your policy.
On the other hand, ‘additional insured’ are other people you may add to the policy. In most cases they are added on for liability reasons; if a claim is brought against them because of damage caused by the insured or named insured.
So who would you add on as an ‘additional insured,’ you ask?
Well, it really depends on your situation, but if, for example, you’re living with your significant other, who you aren’t legally married to, and you’d like to get coverage for them, you’d want to add them as an additional insured.
Just make sure to get enough personal property coverage to cover both your and their stuff (your clothes + their clothes alone might be worth more than what you currently have covered).
An alternative to adding them as an ‘additional insured’ would be suggesting that they get their own policy 🙂