I know that as you’re reading this you’re probably just starting your summer. You are your high school graduate probably hasn’t even had their graduation party yet. As exciting as going away to college can be, surely it is the last thing you want to think about right now, with all the life changes that involves. Be that as it may, I’ve put together a series of factors to consider now, so that when the day comes for the big move, everything is in place. Then you can hit the ground running.
Dorm or off-campus?
Before doing anything, you’ll want to know whether the student is covered under his or her parents’ homeowners policy until the student turns 26. Often a parent’s policy will cover their child living in a dorm but not off-campus. If it does not, the next step is to find a policy for the student that specifies “temporary housing” coverage.
Odds are that a college Freshman will stay in a dorm. However, there is nothing like getting one’s own place to fully test the waters of that which is called “responsible adulting”. Part of that is insuring your living space and property.
Off campus, it is often not very expensive to get coverage but very important because dorms tend to have security and surveillance of the property as part of the deal, whereas off-campus you might be on your own in that respect.
If you do live in a dorm, often 10% of the parents’ home owner’s policy limit can be applied to loss claims. If you are having insurance problems then look and see if you should be filing an insurance claim. This is a good reason for knowing the true value of the student’s belongings. Or you may forego the coverage offered under the parents’ policy and go with a separate dorm insurance policy because the deductible tends to be much lower.
Do you know how much your belongings are worth?
Renters insurance is not required by law, but some landlords may require you to have it to live on their property. Even if they don’t, many people think renters insurance is not necessary – particularly for those living in dorms who may only reside there from September to May. You don’t own the residence so why insure it?
Renters insurance is about much more than the living space. And the plot thickens when you consider that in 2017 we are sending our kids away to college with a menagerie of gadgetry that was unthinkable in their parents’ generation. Depending on their major and their extracurricular activities and hobbies, these are expensive, and not easily replaceable items. In short, college students bring a variety of actual baggage along with them.
- Computers, cell phones, tablets, various media players are just some of the more obvious items that come to mind. When you add bikes, stereos etc. into the equation, it becomes not a question of whether you should have renters insurance but how much. The world moves fast when it comes to the value of consumer goods like these but the more itemized you can get, the more likely you are to recover your investments if calamity strikes. Also, if you have an amount of risk to attach to the coverage, you can be more assured that you are getting the best price possible.
- Renters insurance can make even more of a difference to student athletes who have their own equipment. For instance, I recently had my mind boggled when told that a student athlete had spent nearly $300 on a baseball bat. That is just the beginning for those all-seasons athletes.
- Your renters insurance will cover things like your textbooks if stolen or destroyed. It is not news that college students spend an unreasonable amount of money on books. They may be covered by a grant or a student loan but you only get so much. You likely are not easily able to replace the books out of your own pocket.
Do you live in a high-risk zone?
Other blogs offering tips on whether to get renters insurance tend to focus heavily on theft statistics and ways that you can prevent becoming a victim.
But remember, though there are certainly precautions to take to reduce risks, other factors like fire, flood and tornado damage are less under our control. They involve more than simple mindfulness or your surroundings, your neighbors, and your door locks. These are the unplanned situations that insurance was meant for.
And speaking of the unpredictable…
Just about as unpredictable as the forces of nature is the behavior of others. For those living off campus, does your insurance cover the holder against injury to visitors on the property? Look, college is a crazy time of life, a volatile time that can be predictably unpredictable. Self-aware and responsible as you may be, accidents do happen.
This aspect of renters insurance allows for coverage on injury or property damage deemed to be the policy-holder’s fault, but it also will allow for his or her friend to file a claim and be compensated through the policyholder’s insurance company. This saves all parties involved a few headaches, and prevents what may already be a tense situation from escalating.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, along with any other concerns you have, I invite you to contact us at your local Horihan Insurance location.
This is a big step and we want to be sure you and your son or daughter feel secure in taking it.
In the meantime, enjoy your summer!