Friday, August 17, 2012

Question of the week: Does my college student need insurance while away at school?

With College starting, and dorm rooms opening, clients have been asking me if their college students need any additional insurance.  The answer is it depends.  Here are some of the variables:

College Dorm vs. Off Campus Apartment
If your student is staying on campus, you have several options. Most home insurance policies will extend to cover your student's property while living on campus.  I would recommend that you add off premises theft coverage, which is an option that most home, condominium, and renter's have.  You need to check your policy to make sure that your student's belongings are covered for theft, fire and water damage. 
If your student is renting an apartment, then your policy will not protect your student's belongings.  They will need to get a renters policy, which can cost as little as $150 a year, and is well worth it.  If they are sharing the apartment, and the other student's names are on the lease, they can share a policy as well in most cases.

US Colleges vs. Studying Abroad
Most insurance policies only cover property while in the US, it's Territories, or Canada.  If your student is studying abroad, you will need to see if you can purchase an additional policy or rider to cover them while they are away.

Types of losses
Most policies will cover your student in a dorm from the same perils that your home insurance will cover.  There is usually a limit of 10% of your Personal Property, or Coverage B limit extended to away from the premises, but dorms are treated differently in some cases.  Theft is a coverage that is often a concern at college for electronics, and this is usually covered.  The issue is that it has to be a known theft, not "Mysterious Disappearance."   If something disappears from a dorm room, without evidence of a break in, many policies won't provide protection.  If that happens file a police report and check with your insurance agent.

This is a general guide, and more information is available if you call us at 888-900-2173.