Now that your children are off at college, does your homeowner’s insurance policy extend to their dorms? This is an important question, because students carry away an average of $10,000 in belongings when they go. They need protection for these items.
Living On or Off Campus?
According to Campus Safety and Security, about 50,000 reported crimes and 2,000 fires occur on campuses each year. Your existing Rhode Island homeowner’s insurance can protect your student’s items from theft and fire while they’re living in a dorm, sorority house, or other on-campus housing, but usually with limitations.
On the flip side, if your son or daughter moves into an off-campus apartment or house, your homeowner’s insurance policy typically won’t cover them. For this reason, your student residing in off-campus housing should consider getting their own renter’s insurance to protect their personal items and liability
Policy Limits for Students On Campus
While your homeowner’s insurance policy will provide some coverage while they live on-campus, you’ll need to know what’s included in your policy and its limits. You may need to increase these and buy additional coverage for some items.
Your policy may specify a separate limit for personal property stored at a different residence. This is normally 10% of the personal property coverage on your homeowner’s policy. For instance, if your homeowner’s policy has a limit of $200,000 for personal property, your student would have protection of $20,000.
Be aware that big-ticket items such as watches and jewelry may have their own specific limits. You may need additional coverage for electronics such as expensive computers, laptops, or tablets. It is always best to ask your agent about a personal property floater for these big-ticket items. Personal property floaters are affordable and can be added to your existing homeowner’s insurance policy.
Additional Coverage for Students Off Campus
As mentioned, if your student lives off-campus, they will need their own renter’s insurance to protect their personal property such as a computer, television, stereo, bicycle or furniture, from damage and theft.
Even if they live with friends, they should buy their own insurance policy. This policy not only protects their personal belongings, but it also provides them with personal liability coverage if they were to get sued for someone getting hurt in their apartment.
Before discussing coverage with your agent, prepare an inventory so they’ll know what coverage you need. This information will help your agent tailor the ideal coverage for your student while they’re away. This inventory, along with photos and any supporting documentation such as receipts, are invaluable should you need to file a claim.
Whatever your child’s situation, take a few minutes to compile an inventory and then talk to your Rhode Island insurance agent. The cost of additional coverage is well-worth it to protect your child so they can concentrate on their education and so you can have peace of mind while they’re away.