It’s the middle of August and that means it’s back-to-school time again! If your teen is headed off to college this year, this article is a must read. Parents ask me about “dorm room insurance” every fall and there are different ways to make sure you and your college student are covered depending on their living arrangements.
Insurance for College Students
If you’re old enough to have a student in college it means that, when you were in college, nobody had laptops and iPhone’s hadn’t been invented yet. Times are definitely different today. Our teens have thousands of dollars worth of electronics, clothing, supplies and other belongings that they’re bringing to college with them and, as parents, you want to make sure that it’s all covered if something bad happens. There are a few things to consider when determining how to cover their stuff…
On-Campus or Off-Campus Housing?
On-Campus College Dorm Room
I’m commonly asked about dorm room insurance. If your teen is living in an on-campus dorm room, their belongings are most likely covered by your property insurance policy, such as your Homeowners, Renters, Condo, or Mobilehome Insurance. Most property insurance policies will provide off-premises coverage for personal property of a resident relative. If your teen’s permanent address is your home, they’re considered a resident relative.
An often over looked detail is that your property insurance deductible would apply. If you’re like a lot of people today, it’s likely that you have a deductible of $1,000 or higher. I find that the most common claim for college students is theft. This means that, if their $800 laptop is stolen and you have a $1,000 deductible, you wouldn’t have coverage. From my experience, most potential claims for college students are for the theft of an item valued at $1,000 or less but that’s not always the case. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen dormitory fires and other catastrophic events where everything is lost and the claim can be quite a bit more.
Off-Campus College Housing
If your teen is renting an off-campus apartment, they’re likely no longer considered a resident relative of yours because they have their own place now. If this is the case, your property insurance policy may not provide coverage for them.
Students living off-campus should purchase Renters Insurance to protect their personal property. In most cases, they can get a basic Renters Insurance policy for $10-$15/month. They can also split the policy with a roommate, if they have one, to make it even more affordable. Also, I find people choose a lower deductible for Renters Insurance than for other types of property insurance. People often choose $250 for their Renters Insurance deductible. This is helpful in those situations where a laptop or other item is stolen.
Whether your teen is a resident relative and is covered by your property insurance policy or they purchase Renters Insurance, they’ll have liability coverage. This is very helpful if they’re responsible for unintentional damages to someone else. It’s not as likely that your college student will use their liability coverage but it’s important to have nonetheless.
Talk with Us
If your teen has a unique living arrangement or if you’re unsure how to proceed, please contact us and we’ll steer you in the right direction. My staff and I have a lot of experience with insuring college students and we’re always happy to help.
I hope move in day goes well and I wish your college student a fantastic school year!
John Lofrumento, CFP®, FSCP®, RICP®
President, The Lofrumento Agency
Clifton Park, NY / Ballston Lake, NY