The parents of college students that are moving to on or off-campus housing should review their insurance policies to make sure their children’s personal possessions are covered while they are away at school.
Before your child heads off to college, take the following steps:
1. Create a ‘dorm inventory’—a list of items the student plans to bring to school, along with its estimated value. Having an up-to-date inventory can help determine how much insurance to purchase and get insurance claims settled faster in the event of theft, fire or other types of disasters.
2. Contact your insurance agent
—college is a major life event that
may trigger the need for changes in insurance coverage, so ask about the insurance implications of your child becoming a full-time student and determine if supplemental insurance is needed.
Some homeowners and/or renters policies include protection for a college student’s personal possessions away from home, if they live on-campus and the student’s property is stolen or damaged. Other policies may limit the amount of coverage for a college student’s belongings to 10 percent of the total amount of a policy’s overall coverage for personal possessions. These perils would include, fire, theft, vandalism and natural disasters such as a hurricane. The student would not be covered for typical college type mishaps such as accidently spilling coffee on an expensive electronic device.
Items such as jewelry and musical instruments may be subject to dollar limits under a standard homeowners or renter’s policy. If these limits are too low, parents may want to consider buying a personal property floater or an endorsement to their homeowners or renters policy. This provides a higher amount of insurance and broader coverage.
It may make sense for students to leave expensive jewelry at home or store it in a safe deposit box. Floaters for storing jewelry in a safe deposit box are generally less costly and many insurers will let you take jewelry out and wear it if you let them know in advance.
Parents may want to look into acquiring stand-alone policies for desktop computers, laptops, tablets and iPads, and other electronics as they may provide coverage against accidental damage, liquid spills and other events not included under a standard homeowners or renter’s policy. Keep in mind that if you are using a credit card to buy such items, some insurance protection may also be available through the card itself. Students who live off-campus may not be covered under their parents’ homeowners or renter’s policy and may need to purchase their own renters insurance coverage.
- Auto Insurance: If the student has been driving the family car and will now be away at college, at least 100 miles from home, make sure you let your insurance company know. You may be eligible for a discount on your auto insurance. If your son or daughter has their own car, it is very important to let your insurance company know if the car will be at school or left home, as the cost of the insurance will be based on where the car resides. Many auto insurance companies will also give a discount to students who get good grades at school.
- Tuition Insurance: This coverage refunds a significant portion of semester tuition and on-campus room and board when a student withdraws at any time during a semester due to a covered medical reason, including emotional, nervous or mental disorders or the death of the student. There is no coverage if the student voluntarily withdraws from school. Student loans used to pay for college costs can also be covered by the policy.