You’ve gone shopping, packed the car, decorated the dorm room and said some tearful goodbyes to your college student, but one thing you may have overlooked is renters insurance. With all the excitement and planning that goes into preparing your child for college, parents can forget to think about insurance needs your college student may have. There are different insurance implications based on whether your child is moving into a dorm, will be living on campus or in an off-campus apartment or housing. To ensure your child’s personal possessions are protected while away at school, check-in with your McSweeney & Ricci Account Manager and review your existing insurance coverage.
Just as you carry home insurance for your home, auto insurance for your cars, and business insurance to protect your business, it’s important to have the proper levels of insurance for your college student. In the blog that follows we’ll help answer some common questions about insurance for college students. As always, feel free to contact your Account Manager with any additional questions you may have.
Do I Need Renters Insurance for a Dorm Room?
After many trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond, you’ve bought everything for your child’s dorm room including a new laptop, mini refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker, new bedding and more. Those items were expensive and need to be safeguarded from loss.
If your student is residing in a dormitory or other school-affiliated housing, they may not need renters’ insurance to protect their possessions. Your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy should extend to include the items in your child’s dorm, up to a 10% limit of your personal property coverage. So, if your renters or homeowners’ insurance policy has a limit of $300,000 for personal property, the belongings in your child’s dorm would be covered up to $30,000.
Each policy is different, and any covered losses are subject to your policy deductible. Your student’s items would be protected for the same losses covered by your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy, which could include theft, fire, lightning, hail, vandalism, and natural disasters.
Expensive Items May Need Additional Coverage
If your student is bringing expensive items to school, a quick call to your McSweeney & Ricci Account Manager can help determine if the limits on your policy are sufficient. For example, if your daughter brings her grandmother’s diamond necklace, or your son has an expensive bicycle he will use to get around campus, consider purchasing a personal property floater or an endorsement to your homeowners’ or renters’ policy.
Another thing to consider is any extended trips away from the dorm. If your student will be taking a trip abroad or returning home for an extended time period and leaving items in their dorm, you may want to consider temporarily storing their belongings at a storage facility, or shipping the items home.
Create An Inventory of Dorm Items
Once you’ve unpacked and moved your student into their dorm or on-campus housing, take photos of the room and the items within it. You can also create a “dorm inventory” listing the individual items your student brought with them to school, along with their estimated value.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers a free app to help you create an inventory. The inventory app can help you determine how much insurance you need and can help get claims settled faster if you incur a covered loss, such as theft, fire, or other disaster.
Will My Homeowners’ Insurance Cover My Student in an Off-Campus Apartment?
If your student is living in an off-campus apartment or other non-school sanctioned housing, you may need to purchase a separate renters’ insurance or tenants’ policy. “Renters insurance for college students is relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the potential cost to replace items that are important to students.” (1) In fact, “according to the Insurance Information Institute, the average renters’ insurance policy cost $180 annually, roughly $15 per month.” (2)
Laptops, clothes, school supplies, furniture, electronic devices and other household items can all be protected by a renters’ policy. A renter’s policy will also provide liability protection if someone gets injured inside your child’s apartment. Rental insurance can also provide for living expenses if property damage (due to a covered loss), requires the student to find temporary housing while repairs are being made. The apartment’s lease may even require tenants to obtain renters’ insurance. Your Account Manager can review renters’ insurance options with you to ensure your child is protected while living in off-campus housing.
Car Insurance and College Students
My Student Is Taking a Car to College, Should I Adjust My Car Insurance?
If your child has their car at college or is commuting to school, you should keep them on your car insurance policy. It’s typically more expensive for young, inexperienced drivers to maintain their own policy. Your McSweeney & Ricci Account Manager needs to know the address where the vehicle will be garaged. Usually, full-time college students can remain on their parent’s auto insurance if the students primary address is still the parents’ home while the student is attending college (even if out of state). Your student will need their own auto policy if they own the car and hold the title.
My College Student Is Not Taking a Car to College.
If your child doesn’t take their car to college, we recommend keeping them on your auto policy, for many reasons:
- If they come home for Christmas break or weekend visits and want to drive, they’ll be protected.
- If your child is involved in an accident while away at school and riding in a friend’s car, while walking or even riding their bike, they’re protected by the coverage provided by your policy.
- While away at school if your child drives a friend’s car, your child has insurance protection from your policy, even if the friend is under insured.
- Leaving your child on your auto policy while away at school, builds continuous coverage. A history of continuous coverage may benefit your student in the future when they’re ready to purchase their own auto insurance policy.
Take Advantage of Discounts & Credits
We understand college is expensive. We will work with your budget to ensure your college student is protected by the proper levels of coverage. Our team can help you take advantage of any discounts and credits that may be available to you. For example, if the college your student attends is more than 100 miles from your hometown, and your student doesn’t have access to a covered vehicle while at school, they may qualify for a Student Away Discount. If your student typically earns a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, they may qualify for a Good Student Discount if they’ve been licensed less than six years.
We’ve Got You Covered
The transition to college brings with it many challenges. A quick call to your McSweeney & Ricci Account Manager can help provide peace of mind your student is protected as they begin this new phase of their lives. For questions about home insurance, renters insurance, and car insurance for your college student, give us a call at (844) 501-1359 or submit a quote request on our website.