Are Your College Kids Covered Under Your Insurance?
It is a mixed bundle of emotions when the day arrives to send your child off to college. It often signifies the next steps into adulthood with greater autonomy, less oversight, and a lot of planning.
As you hug them farewell, you are not thinking about insurance — leave that to your agent.
Your child and your homeowners insurance
Homeowners and renters policies will cover a percentage of your child’s belongings if they live in a campus dormitory. The claims are subject to your deductible and will go on your claim’s history.
Home and renters policies offer worldwide coverage of your personal belongings, usually 10% of your personal contents limits. For example, if you have $100,000 in contents coverage, your insurance will cover up to $10,000 of your child’s belongings.
The cost of minor claims
If there is a catastrophic loss, replacing your child’s belongings could cost thousands. But what if the loss is a single item, like a laptop? If you rely solely on your homeowners insurance, your deductible will likely be around $1,000 or more.
Students bring many valuables to school, including:
- Wireless speakers
- Small appliances
- Digital cameras
- Sports equipment
- Musical instruments
- Bags and shoes
The cost of items like these can straddle your policy deductible. Depending on your situation, making a claim on your homeowners policy might not be worth it.
You might decide to pay out of pocket or turn to another option.
Separate policy solutions
There are stand-alone policies for your college-aged child, such as:
- Renters insurance for personal belongings in their off-campus apartment or dormitory
- Dorm insurance for their on-campus housing or dormitory
- Commuter insurance for their belongings while they are on campus
Student policies are reasonably priced (under $500 per year) and typically offer advantages including:
- Lower per-occurrence deductibles
- Choice of policy limits
- Coverage that extends worldwide
In general, the student is the named policyholder. A student dorm or commuter policy may not cover personal injury and liability so, it is important that you verify the coverage before you sign.
Personal injury and liability insurance for your student
Personal injury and liability coverage is part of most homeowners and renters policies. It covers risks such as:
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Dog bites
Personal liability example
If your student hosts a party (on or off campus) and someone is injured, the school might be named in a lawsuit. There is always a chance a lawyer will name everyone present during the incident, including your child, liable. Personal liability insurance can help.
Personal injury example
If your child posts something on social media or makes public allegations against someone, they could be sued for defamation. They will have to mount a legal defense regardless of innocence. Make sure your insurance coverage extends to physical and emotional injury.
If your child lives off campus rather than in a school dorm, they will need their own renters policy. An individual renters policy gives them access to more limits and options, which might cost more.
College students living at home
Let your agent know if your student lives at home. Their backpack might get stolen while on campus or they might become involved in a personal injury incident with another student or teacher. In this case, you can get a student commuter policy to cover these situations.
A few things insurance doesn’t cover
Most renters and homeowners policies exclude:
- Pest damage — Home and renters policies do not cover pest destruction. If there is a pest problem at your child’s dorm or apartment, they should alert the maintenance department to mitigate the infestation.
- Other people’s belongings — Insurance covers the people named on the policy. Your child’s roommate will need their own policy.
- Accidental damage — Most standard home and renters policies don not cover accidental damage. Merchants, manufacturers, warranties, and credit cards offer accidental damage coverage. Some student insurance policies offer limited coverage for accidental damage as well.
- Identity and data theft — Homeowners and renters policies have electronics coverage for physical losses due to events like fires or theft, but not lost data. Some student dorm insurance plans include identity theft protection, but they may be limited in their responses.
Advise your child to:
- Use good security protocols. Keep the doors locked, and do not hold the door for people. Locks and security keycards exist to deter criminals from walking in the front door.
- Keep valuables locked and out of sight. Items like jewelry, expensive bags, cash, books, and electronics are easier to steal if you leave them out.
- Protect their data. Don’t share passwords or banking, credit card or other sensitive information. Watch out for criminals who prey on students using tuition overdue scams or other scare tactics to get them to click on fraudulent links.
- Watch what they say. Going viral for the wrong reasons can harm your child’s future and finances, particularly if it results in a legal battle.
- Inventory their belongings. Keep a record of valuables and maintain proof. Receipts, photos, deeds, and appraisals make the claims process smoother. There are personal inventory apps that make the documentation process simple.
Call your agent about protecting your student
Think of insurance as a strategically layered approach. You might purchase stand-alone student insurance for smaller claims and increase your homeowner’s coverage limits for more significant claims.
Contact your insurance agent to ensure your college student is protected whether they live at home or away.
Connect with one of our experts to learn more about how we can help with your homeowners insurance.
This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Please refer to your policy contract for any specific information or questions on applicability of coverage.
Please note coverage can not be bound or a claim reported without written acknowledgment from a OneGroup Representative.
Written content in blog post: Copyright © 2022 Applied Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.