Times have changed. Kids today have their own cell phones, iPods and computers. And bigger kids – the ones heading off to college – are bringing with them more valuable and portable items than ever before. This increases the odds of them losing something. And since theft is one of the biggest crimes on campuses today (an estimated one in 10 students can expect to have something stolen), the big question is, what can you do to minimize your risk?
The fact is, many risks that college students face can be reduced through proper college student insurance. But the problem is, many parents are as uninterested in talking about these things as their college-age children. It doesn’t have to be a painful process, and once it’s addressed, you won’t have to think about it again. Doesn’t that sound better than losing much-loved valuables?
Why Do I Need Student Property Insurance?
Insurance for college students isn’t cut and dry. Don't assume that personal belongings in a college dormitory, fraternity/sorority house, or apartment are automatically covered by a homeowners insurance policy. Be sure to check the provisions of that policy, but generally speaking, you are not adequately covered unless you have coverage for your personal possessions. Think about this:
- Studies show students in dorms, fraternity/sorority houses, and college apartments are at high risk, particularly if they own expensive electronics or sporting goods.
- College students may think they are completely covered by their parents' homeowners policies, but that's not exactly true. If covered, they are only partially covered.
Living in a Dorm or On-Campus Housing?
It’s likely that a student’s personal property is covered through the parents’ homeowner insurance policy, typically for up to 10% of your personal property coverage. However, this may not be a claim you want to put on your property insurance. Here’s why:
- You likely have a higher deductible of $750 or $1000.
- For property insurance a claim is a claim regardless of size. Smaller claims relating to lost or stolen laptops/smart phones will count against you just like a large claim. Both can and will cause your policy to be surcharged thereby increasing your premium. Also increased claim activity can cause your policy to be non-renewed. Yikes!
- Talking with the school to see if they offer a plan to insure all of your child's personal property. They normally carry lower deductibles and a streamlined claims process. And it keeps the claims off your policy, protecting your eligibility and your rates.
Living Off Campus?
Unfortunately, property insurance policies may not cover personal property when it comes to off-campus housing. It’s important to have some kind of protection for the valuables you might have in an off-campus abode. Here’s why:
- You never know when a theft, burglary or act of vandalism may occur at the home you’re renting.
- Most college students, and other renters in general, just assume that if their landlord is covered for any losses, that they will be covered as well. What they fail to realize, however, is that the landlord's insurance will only cover the physical building, not any of their own personal goods.
- Having your child get their own renters insurance policy to ensure they're covered. Off-campus housing renters insurance rates can be obtained for around 50 cents a day or less depending on your location. Instead of losing thousands of dollars of valuable items that you would need to replace on your own, renters insurance can pick up the cost of these items so you can replace them without having to use your own money.