Does my college student need Renter’s Insurance?
It’s back to school time which means it is move in time for college students, to head to campus for the first time as a freshman or back for another school year.
When I think back (which feels like decades ago) to when I was getting ready to move up to college, I can remember making checklists of numerous things we needed to do or to pack while at the same time thinking about the friends I was going to see and the new ones I was going to make.
The last thing I was thinking about as a college student was wondering if my personal stuff is protected or if I need renters’ insurance.
And as a parent who is trying to do everything to prepare my college student for living away from home, to make sure they are safe and ready to take on this new challenge, unfortunately addressing this question gets overlooked.
When it comes to protecting students who are living away from home while attending college full-time there is a few things to keep in mind.
Parent’s Home Insurance Policy
A Special homeowner’s insurance policy written on a HO-3 policy form provides coverage for children who are away at college, full-time, and are under the age of 24.
Insurance policies will consider fulltime college students to be residents of their parent’s home who are temporarily residing away at school in a college provided dorm room or college provided housing.
The homeowner’s insurance policy will provide coverage for personal property, personal liability, and medical payments.
When it comes to personal property, the homeowner’s insurance policy will provide coverage to college student’s belongings when they are living in temporary student housing with a limit that equals 10% of the parent’s homeowner’s personal property coverage.
For example: If the parent’s home insurance policy has $100,000 in personal property or contents coverage, then up to $10,000 will be available for off-premises personal property which includes the student’s dorm room.
A typical homeowner’s policy form also will provide personal liability coverage for students under their parent’s policy.
Personal liability will cover the student for legal defense costs or coverage for an accident that causes bodily injury or property damage.
A homeowner’s policy will also provide for medical expenses of others resulting form injuries that occur while they are in the students dorm room or student housing.
It is very common for college students to move into an off-campus housing and not live in the school provided housing at least at some point of their college career.
This living arrangement may be treated differently by the insurance companies and the way the insurance contract reads.
Usually off campus living is an annual year lease not just a semester-based agreement. This might be considered by some insurance companies as a permanent address and not a temporary student housing causing the parent’s homeowner’s insurance coverage not to extend.
Students who live in off-campus housing should obtain their own rental or renter’s insurance coverage. This will give the student broader coverage to protect not only their contents but also for their personal liability for bodily injury and property damage.
It is very common for students to live off campus with a house full of roommates. It is important to know that the insurance contract/agreement should be in only your one student’s name.
Each student living in the housing should purchase their own renter’s insurance.
What does Renter’s Insurance Cost for my college student?
Renter’s insurance is one of the least expensive insurance policies that give you the most coverage for the cost.
Renter’s insurance policies for students are no different than it is for nonstudents and the cost usually ranges between $100-$250 annually based on the amount of coverage you need.
One key thing to keep in mind is that some insurance companies will not write a renter’s insurance policy for a student. Make sure before you purchase a renter’s policy you verify that there are no exclusions for college students, or you can’t be held liable for misrepresenting the information to the insurance company.
Other steps you need to take before your child goes off to college
It is important to have a conversation with your insurance agent when you have a child that is currently away at school. Besides answering the question of does my college student need to get a renter’s insurance policy? Another question would be pertaining to what should I do about the car my child drives.
Many students leave vehicles home while they are away at school, others take them with them. It is important to see what options available and what steps are needed to make sure coverage extends and/or you are maximizing the discounts available to you.
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