This fall, many first-year college students will move out of their parents’ homes and into their own living situations for the first time. As parents prepare to say goodbye to their students, many may also wonder how to protect their student’s belongings from damage and theft. Do they need additional or special insurance while they’re living at school? So here are the questions we’re asking in this blog:
The answers vary based on living situation and sometimes, school, but in the cases of students moving into on-campus dorm rooms, your current homeowner’s insurance policy should cover them.
Ultimately, most on-campus living situations, including dorms, apartments or Greek life housing, can be covered by your existing homeowner’s policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Better yet, they’ll be protected from all the same threats that your homeowner’s policy protects you from, including fires, thefts, flooding, accidents, and more.
However, you may need to increase your coverage limits to protect all the new belongings your student will bring with them to school. Items like textbooks, computers, tablets, smartphones, musical instruments, sports equipment, and even a bicycle to get across campus can run up the cost of possessions, and that doesn’t even include popular dorm accessories like a television, microwave or mini-fridge.
In most cases, your homeowner’s policy will cover dorm possessions up to 10 percent of the limit of the contents of your home. For example, if your limit is $100,000, and your homeowner’s policy only covers dorm possessions up to 10 percent, then your student’s belongings would really only be eligible for $10,000 of coverage.
In case of fire, would $10,000 be enough coverage to insure all of your student’s belongings including clothes. If the answer is no or I’m not sure, now is the time to address this issue with your insurance agent, before your child moves into his/her new campus living situation. You may not need to take out a separate policy for your student, but you may need to adjust the limits of your homeowners insurance policy to protect your family regardless of where they are living.
The best way to determine how much coverage your student needs is by creating a dorm room inventory. Create a list of every item in your student’s dorm room, including things like clothing, jewelry, electronics, books, instruments, sports equipment, bedding, etc., and try to determine each item’s monetary value.
This will not only help you access how much coverage you need, but it can also serve as a way to prove ownership of damaged or stolen belongings if you ever need to file a claim. Make sure to take a photo of each item as you log it on your inventory sheet to prove not only ownership, but the condition of the item.
Some insurance professionals feel that a dorm insurance policy, just for your student and his/her possessions is a great option. They are very affordable, usually less than $150 a year and have a low deductible, often just $25 vs $500 deductible or more on your homeowners policy. The thinking is that your homeowners policy should be reserved for larger claims, like structural damage from a tornado than a stolen laptop or guitar.
For students preparing to move into off-campus housing, a rental apartment or house, you will need a separate renter’s insurance policy to protect their belongings. In fact, many private leasing offices require proof of renter’s insurance before you move in, as they receive no additional protection from the school like on-campus housing.
It’s important to still record an inventory of all your belongings when trying to determine the right renter’s policy for your student’s situation, especially because living off campus often means providing your own bed, desk, and other furniture. Renters insurance is very affordable and brings peace of mind, in case of theft, damage, or catastrophe, without breaking the bank.
Call Foundation Insurance Group today to discuss your options. Our experienced agents, located in Falls Church, VA and St Matthews, KY are always happy to review your current policy and discuss your options. Contact us today to ensure that your college student and his/her belongings are protected regardless of where they live…at home, in campus housing, or an off-campus rental.