Heading to College can be an exciting time for young people. It often serves as the first major step on the road to independence. For a parent, it can be both exciting and sad to watch your child leave home. This time also can be fraught with worries. Will they get enough to eat? Will they succeed without help? Will they and their possessions be safe away from home?
The last question, of course, is a significant concern and, for parents of first-time college students, the ins and outs of insurance coverages are not always clear. From auto coverage to renters insurance, there’s a bit to learn about the life of a college student.
When a student moves to college, she or he often brings many belongings from home. In addition to clothes, shoes and toiletries, most college students take stereo systems, cell phones, laptops, jewelry and other valuable items to their dorm room. At home, possessions are protected under a homeowners policy. But what happens when a child is away at school?
In an environment where theft is a real problem – there are approximately 798 burglaries for every 100,000 students – proper coverage is important. For students living in dorms, the family’s homeowners insurance can protect many possessions. But don’t take this for granted. Be sure to contact an independent agent to verify the coverage you may already have. As Selective notes, some policies limit coverage on dependents’ dorms to 10% of the value of the home’s total coverage amount. So be sure you know the coverages for your homeowners insurance policy.
Students living off campus should consider renters insurance (as should anyone living in an apartment) for coverage of their personal property such as stereos, televisions, furniture and other possessions. Coverage on most homeowners policies is limited to dorms, not other forms of student housing. So a renter without a stand-alone policy might not have any protection at all. Renters insurance costs average $190 per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This coverage can provide peace of mind by providing protection not only for personal possessions but also for liability and additional living expenses, especially for those on the cusp of adulthood.
Staying Safe on the Road
For many college students, especially those living on campus, driving becomes significantly less important than it was in high school. Campus transportation and walking to class are common, and this trend is only increasing with the rise of ride-sharing services. But college students still need insurance if they drive when they’re home for summers and holidays.
Some new students bring their cars to college. If this is the case, it’s important to notify your insurance company. In order to maintain appropriate coverage, your insurer must know where a car is located primarily, even if that means parking on campus a few hundred miles away from home.
Students who will be commuting from home to college may also want to reconsider their coverage, especially if they are driving long distances. Check with an independent agent about what coverage is needed.
College can be an exciting time for students across the country. The right insurance coverage can help protect students while they pursue the American dream of higher education.