Insurance Tips for Parents of College Students

Once your teen receives a series of college acceptance letters and chooses a school, you start getting ready for a major life change. Between getting ready for a quieter household and making sure your child has the right supplies, the topic of insurance frequently falls through the cracks.
High-dollar items can look appealing for someone to steal, especially when your soon-to-be college freshman takes along a computer, stereo or a musical instrument. In 2014 alone, U.S. college campuses experienced 14,000 burglaries – and this figure doesn’t take into account off-campus instances.
While your homeowner’s policy does cover many of the items your teen will take to college, expensive items often require a rider and off-campus living has its own set of issues. In advance of the fall semester, consider the following tips.
     1. Know When Homeowner’s Insurance Applies
As a baseline factor, if the college student will continue to use your address as a primary residence, your homeowner’s policy still covers any items in the dorm room. On the other hand, if the student decides to live off-campus, he or she is no longer covered under your policy. For sufficient coverage, have your young adult take out a separate renter’s insurance policy in his or her own name.
      2. Is an Endorsement Needed?
Depending upon lifestyle and major, a college student may take several high-priced items to live on campus, including:

  • Laptop
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Camera
  • Sports equipment
  • Musical instrument

Regardless of where the item will be, your policy typically has limits on these more expensive belongings. As such, for full and complete coverage in the event of theft or damage, take out a rider or endorsement before the school year begins. In certain cases, homeowner’s insurance only pays up to 10 percent of your personal possession coverage if the item is being kept in a dorm room. To determine if you’ll need to add a rider, calculate the total value of everything your student is taking. If it exceeds 10 percent of your coverage, work with your agent to amend your policy.
       3. Think About Car Insurance
Will your student be taking a car to campus? A vehicle is needed in certain locations, but if not, work with your agent to factor this situation in and possibly receive a discount up to 16 percent for part of the year. What if your student is bringing a car to school? Assuming that car is on your policy, report the new location to your carrier to ensure you still have full coverage in the event of an accident.
       4. Put Together a Personal Inventory
No matter what’s being left in the dorm, it has potential to get lost or stolen. Just in case, make a list of all property taken to the dorm or an off-campus apartment and include supporting documentation, such as receipts, costs and serial numbers. Should something get stolen, lost or damaged, information about that item is readily available whenever you need to file a claim. Don’t update your homeowner’s and auto policies at the last minute. Start making these adjustments well in advance of the next school year. To review your policies with an agent, give us a call at 203.729.5261.