Are your college-bound kids heading back to campus with their smart phones, laptops and gaming systems? Parents should take time to make sure they have the right insurance coverage for their college students’ expensive possessions before they move into that apartment or dorm room.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, theft is the most common crime on college campuses in the U.S. with more than 18,000 burglaries and thefts occurred on college campuses in 2014.
Make sure it’s enough: Potentially a student living in a dorm will have some coverage under their parents’ homeowners or renters insurance policy. Many homeowners insurance policies limit the amount of insurance for off-premises belongings to about 10 percent of the total amount of coverage for personal possessions. Hi-cost items such as smart phones and laptops will take up much of that 10%.
If the college student is renting an apartment off-campus, belongings are not protected unless they have purchased renters insurance. Remember, if they will be renting a house with several roommates, each person needs their own separate policy. With most policies starting under $200 per year, renters insurance will protect their computer, clothing, furniture, jewelry, camera, television, and other valuables from losses due to theft, fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, explosion, windstorm, hail, and water damage from plumbing.
Keep the following tips in mind as you shop for renters insurance:
• There are two kinds of renters insurance policies: actual cash value and replacement cost. Actual cash value pays to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation. Replacement cost will pay to buy a replacement item. Replacement cost policies will be more expensive but offer more protection.
• Look for discounts. For example, combining auto insurance and your renters policy with the same company may save money. If the building has a central security system, there may be a discount available.
• Choosing a higher deductible will help lower the premium.
• More landlords are now requiring tenants to obtain renters insurance as a condition of the lease. While your landlord may suggest a company, you are not required to purchase from them. Find an insurance agent or company that meets your needs.