When students go off to college they usually take their computers, TVs, stereo equipment, most of their wardrobe, and anything else that they can cram into the car. Whether they’re taking all their worldly possessions or just enough to get by, they’ll need insurance to cover the things in their dorm room or apartment. So before they take off for college, make sure they’re covered by your homeowner’s insurance or a separate renter’s policy.
Students living in dorm rooms are typically covered by their parents’ homeowners policy if they are temporarily living at school and are younger than 24 years old. However possessions in a dorm room are considered “personal property located off premises” and most homeowners polices limit coverage to 10 percent of off-premises property. For example, if you have $80,000 in coverage for your home, your student’s dorm room is covered up to $8,000. If your student is taking a lot of pricey electronics and other valuable items to school, he or she may want to take out a separate renter’s insurance or property policy if the value of their belongings exceeds the coverage offered through the homeowner’s policy.
Renter’s insurance is a must if a student is living in an off-campus apartment. Most insurance companies consider students’ apartments permanent residences, which means a parent’s homeowners policy doesn’t apply. A landlord’s insurance also doesn’t cover a renter’s personal property. Renter’s insurance usually costs less than $250 a year for about $15,000 in coverage and covers the possessions in the unit in the event of a loss. It also protects the individual from liability if he or she causes damage to the rental unit.
Whether a student is living in a dorm or an apartment, it’s important to remind them to take precautions to keep their belongings safe. Encourage them to lock their doors if they leave their dorm or apartment. It takes a thief less than a minute to steal a laptop, purse, or other valuables from a room. Students also need to pay attention to their property if they host parties or have numerous guests.
If you have questions about your student’s insurance needs or you want to review your homeowner’s policy, we can help make sure your student has the right coverage for their home away from home.