As your child heads off to college, you’re likely talking to them about being safe and staying aware while living away from home. While personal safety is of utmost importance, you also need to consider protecting their high-value belongings like laptops, jewelry and watches, furniture and bicycles. Did you know that whether your college student lives on-campus or off-campus can determine if your homeowners insurance will cover them in the instance of an accident or theft?
On-Campus Insurance Coverage
According to the Insurance Information Institute, burglaries constitute approximately 50 percent of all on-campus crimes. There are steps your child can take to prevent theft, but in the unfortunate instance of a burglary, or any other type of loss, you should be aware of what is covered, or not.
Most homeowner policies will extend liability and personal property protection to a student while they live in a campus dorm room – this is considered “off premise” coverage.
Homeowners Insurance extends:
Personal Liability – This covers the student if they hurt someone or cause damage to someone else's property.
Medical Payments to Others – If someone is injured in your son or daughter's dorm room. This coverage is typically included along with Liability coverage, but at a lesser amount.
Personal Property Coverage – Standard homeowners insurance can pay for repair or replacement of your student’s personal property after a covered claim – theft, fire, vandalism etc.
There are typically limits to the amounts covered in the above, so be sure to review your homeowners policy to avoid any surprises.
Off-Campus Insurance Coverage
Off-campus housing or apartments may or may not be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. If no coverage is provided, a renter's policy is an inexpensive way to have personal liability coverage and protect personal belongings. If your child has a roommate, note that renters insurance will cover his or her possessions and any shared possessions (e.g. furniture) but it will not cover the roommate’s items.
Regarding car insurance, if your student is leaving their car at home, notify your insurance agent as you may be eligible for a premium discount depending on how far away they move.
Preventing Theft and Damage at College
Whether your child lives on or off campus at college, there are precautions he or she can take to help prevent losses.
Take inventory of valuables – Similar to taking inventory of the possessions in your home for potential insurance claims, it’s a good idea for your student to document the items they’re taking with them. Photos and descriptions will help ensure your claim is settled quickly in the event of a fire, theft or other loss.
ID items – Engraving or permanently marking valuables such as laptops and phones makes it less likely thieves will want to steal, and can make it easier for police to track down stolen items.
Purchase a small safe – If your child is taking jewelry, watches or other expensive possessions, it’s a good idea to keep these items in a safe, particularly in a dorm room where a roommate may have access to all of their valuables.
Lock up valuables on the go – Your child will likely use a backpack to carry around their laptop and expensive school books, and it’s safe to assume they won’t always have an eye on it. A low-cost zipper lock could be an easy deterrent for would be thieves.
Details and coverages vary so it’s best to consult with your local insurance agent to see how your insurance policy covers your child while away at school. Contact Wallace & Turner here or call us at 937-324-8492 to discuss coverage for your college student and send them off with peace of mind.