Sending your child to college can bring on the tears (and fears) for some parents. But getting a call that your child’s possessions were stolen or unexpectedly damaged beyond repair will really make you cry.
You can avoid this problem by making sure your college student is properly insured against these risks. For about $179 a year (that’s the average cost of renters insurance in Ohio, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute), 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 alone costs an average of $500, give or take a hundred, that $179 premium to replace such items doesn’t seem so bad. Add to that the fact that you sent little Johnny or Ashley off to college with a number of other expensive items, such as a smart phone, TV, tablet, computer, printer, furniture, clothes, jewelry or a bike. Your child has a goldmine right in his or her dorm room, so you might consider insuring it.
What kind of insurance does your son or daughter need? Renters insurance – but the good news is that you may not need it, depending on your current insurance coverage.
Is your child already covered by your homeowners?
Homeowners 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 our office to learn the specifics of what is and isn’t covered in your own policy.
The weakness of relying upon a coverage extension from your homeowner’s policy, however, is your child would have limited coverage on their possessions, as most policies limit the amount of insurance to 10 percent of the total coverage for personal possessions. Some possessions, like jewelry, electronics and computers, may have coverage limits. If your child lives off-campus, the possibility exists that their personal property will not be covered by your homeowners policy.
You have the option of purchasing a renters insurance policy in the name of the student, to provide you with peace of mind. Knowing that theft is a prevalent issue in colleges, an added benefit of purchasing a policy in the student’s name is that any claims filed will not be on the record of the parents’ policy.
Some insurers allow students rooming together off campus to purchase a joint renters policy, whereas others require that each student has renters insurance.
How much coverage would I need?
Ask your child to create an inventory of the items he or she has at college. Provide this information to your insurance agent, and then you can make an informed decision about the amount of coverage your child needs 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. Your child can also use a free iPhone or Android inventory app called myHOME Scr.APP.book. Back up this written list with photos or videos of valuables. You won’t regret these steps if the time comes to file a claim.
What else can my child do to be protected at school?
Here are a few tips you can share with your child:
Consider engraving 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 his/her roommates to lock their dorm room door every time they leave the room. They should also store their valuables like wallets and keys out of sight as a habit.
If they have something really valuable they can do without, think about having them leave it at home.
Tell your child not to leave his/her 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.
In a nutshell, 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. Give us a call today to get a quote for renters insurance for your college student.