Protecting Your College Student’s Property with Homeowner’s or Renters Insurance

Protecting Your College Student’s Property with Homeowner’s or Renters Insurance

You already have enough to worry about when your child leaves for college, you don’t want them having to deal with the theft or damage of their possessions while away. For less than $180 a year, you can protect your child’s possessions against theft or damage caused by fire, lightning, smoke, vandalism, electrical surges, windstorms or hail, water damage from utilities or appliances, and more.

The same insurance also provides liability protection for students living off-campus. Considering that a laptop can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000, that $179 premium to replace such items doesn’t seem so bad. Also, your child likely has a number of other expensive items, such as a smartphone, TV, tablet, computer, printer, furniture, clothes, jewelry or bike. In other words, plenty of pricey stuff.

What kind of insurance does your college student need?

Renter’s insurance, although they may not actually require it – depending on your current insurance coverage, as explained below. An added benefit of purchasing a renter’s policy in the student’s name is that any claims filed will not be on the record of your own policy.

Some insurers allow students rooming together off-campus to purchase a joint renter’s policy, whereas others require that each student has renter’s insurance.

Does your homeowner’s policy cover your child?

Homeowner’s policies typically cover the belongings of students younger than 26 who live away from home and are enrolled in classes. But policies vary, so call us to learn the specifics of what is and isn’t covered in your own policy.

If you rely on a coverage extension from your homeowner’s policy, your student would have limited coverage on their possessions, as most policies limit the amount of insurance to 10% of the total coverage for personal possessions. Some possessions, like jewelry, electronics and computers, may have specific coverage limits. If your child lives off-campus, the possibility exists that their personal property will not be covered by your homeowner’s policy.

How much coverage would I need?

Ask your child to create an inventory of the items they have at college. From that you can make an informed decision about the amount of coverage they require and whether any specific endorsements (like jewelry coverage) should be purchased.

Creating an inventory is easy. An internet search will provide inventory templates that your child can fill out and send home to keep off-site. They can also use a free iPhone or Android inventory app called “NAIC Home Inventory.” Back up this written list with photos or videos of valuables.

How else can you protect your kid’s belongings?

Aside from purchasing insurance, here are some common-sense tips you can share with your child:
Tell them to engrave their electronics and other possessions with their name and phone number, or mark items with an invisible permanent marker – a simple action that can help police validate stolen items.

Keep digital copies of store receipts for high-ticket items.

Tell your child and their roommates to lock the door every time they leave their room. They should also store valuables like wallets and keys out of sight as a habit.
If they have something really valuable that they can do without, ask them to leave it at home.

Tell your child not to leave their backpack, laptop or other possessions unattended in dining halls, in the library or anywhere on campus, including in classrooms. Use a laptop security cable to deter thieves.

The takeaway

It’s easy to gamble and say no to insurance. But for an average rate of under $15 a month, you can get peace of mind, and if the unexpected happens, you’ll be covered.

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