homeowners policy

Safeguarding Your College Student’s Valuables: On-Campus vs. Off-Campus Insurance

Myles Trempe

Myles Trempe

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?

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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

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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.

Flood Solutions: Insurance Against the #1 Natural Disaster

Flooding is the largest natural catastrophe and largest single event natural catastrophe that ever occurs, and only 7% of homeowners have flood insurance! Floods are not covered in your homeowners policy, but anyone can get the coverage as a supplement to their homeowners. Contact Wallace & Turner at (937) 324-8492 or lmiller@wtins.com to discuss your options for flood coverage.

Flood Insurance

P.J. Miller Comments on Holiday Light Display Liability Concerns

Holiday Light Display

Partner P.J. Miller was quoted in the Best’s Review article “Winter Wonderland” discussing the host of liabilities that home and public holiday light displays can create for insurers, including fires, injuries and distracted-driver accidents.               

“Light display-related losses are typically covered under business, auto or homeowners’ policies,” said P.J. “A standard homeowner’s policy, for instance, typically provides about $1,000 of medical payments coverage for injuries, regardless if the homeowner was negligent or not.” 

Public light display organizers now face some new concerns, including elaborate computer systems, drones and laser lights.

P.J. added: “Misdirected laser lights could temporarily blind visitors as they drive through a display, or homeowners may fly drones above their homes or neighborhoods. This creates new risks and additional investigation requirements for agents and brokers, who now are tasked with assessing if drone operators are certified and follow FAA guidelines, determining how high a drone is flying and ensuring computer networks aren't at risk for potential cyber hacks. That's where having risk mitigation procedures and a full risk assessment to minimize potential hazards can help.”

Read the full article.

Parents: Accidents Happen, Make Sure Your Kids’ Valuables Are Protected

Summer is over and school is back in session which means kids will also be starting up sports and other school-related activities. Did you know that insurance can be important when it comes to covering the tangible part of your kids’ activities?

If you have children in elementary, middle or high school, your homeowner’s policy can be used to protect against any items your child was loaned through the school they attend. If your child plays an expensive instrument or if they have a school-assigned laptop, consider consulting with your agent about adding that item to your insurance policy. Otherwise, you’re risking paying for a replacement if the item is lost, stolen or damages.

For our empty nesters sending their young adults off to college, make sure your child and their possessions will be protected while they are away. Check to see whether your personal homeowner’s policy extends to the contents your child took to school. Protect anything valuable that you would not want to pay out-of-pocket to replace. Accidents happen and, whether you want to believe it or not, an 18-year-old fresh out of high school may not be at the peak level of responsibility.  

Additionally, if your son or daughter is leaving their car behind at home while they’re at college (and it’s more than 100 miles away), don’t forget to advise your agent because there might be a pretty good discount!

If you have coverage questions about your children’s valuables, or what your homeowner’s policy covers, contact Wallace & Turner to discuss.