Your incoming college freshman student is raring to start, and all the dorm gear has been ordered or is already boxed up and ready for move-in day.
A new laptop, printer and smartphone, not to mention him special and linens, the big-screen TV that was a graduation gift from Mom and Dad. A new bicycle to get from one end of campus to the other and, of course, a thousand dollars in college textbooks are on the way.
That adds up to well over $3,000 in personal property that’s being lugged to a dorm room this fall that could be a haven for burglars, who perpetrate the most reported campus crimes.
Now comes the question you probably haven’t thought much about: Do you need renters insurance protection in case of fire or client theft?
The short answer: YES, whether the school requires some form of rental insurance. But by and large, students living in dorms or off campus housing may have at least partial coverage on their parents’ homeowner’s insurance policy you may still want to consider a separate policy.
However, some homeowner’s policies don’t automatically cover a student’s dorm-room residence, and some charge a higher deductible than a standard renter’s policy. In addition, coverage may be limited to 10% of the personal property coverage in a parent’s homeowners’ policy.
Renters insurance is surprisingly affordable — it costs as little as $5 to $20 per month. In many cases, you may be able to receive a discount by buying rental insurance from the same company that insures your home and automobile. If your student is living off campus this fall for the first time, many landlords will require proof of insurance as a condition of the lease.
When shopping for a policy, insurers recommend adding up the value of your student’s personal belongings as accurately as possible to determine whether a policy’s limits are adequate. Know what’s covered and what’s not. For example, renters’ insurance may cover the theft of a laptop but not knocking it off a desk and cracking a screen. Some insurers may add an apartment roommate or three for a slightly higher premium as long their name is on the policy. But many insurers will require roommates to have separate policies.
It suggested you call your property casualty agent first as he/she knows your current policies. However, for peace of mind, you may wish to shop and compare costs of various renters’ insurance at sites such as TheZebra.com and Gabi.com.
While you may think college campuses are safe, serene communities, they are, the reality is they are small cities where crime does happen. Then there is the unexpected damage from, say, a fire, broken water pipe in a dorm that destroys electronics, furniture, and clothing, or a burglar who cleans out an apartment of high-tech gear during a long weekend.
Finally, count on the unexpected, such as a party getting out of hand and a big-screen TV getting broken, or an expensive laptop walking away. Those incidents happened to many college students. If it happens to yours, you’ll be glad you had the renters’ insurance to cover the losses. The monthly premiums are well worth the money the peace of mind for protection.
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