When you’re helping your child pack for college, you may be thinking about their class schedule and hoping they use their free-time wisely. Someone making off with their laptop or a dorm fire are probably not what you’re envisioning about the campus experience, but since they may be bringing some expensive stuff with them – a television, speakers, clothing, and a smartphone – it’s a good idea to make sure these things are protected before they leave home, just in case.
Whether they’re living in a dorm or an off-campus apartment, it’s important to have coverage for all those things that help them keep up with classes and make their living space more like home. How to help protect their stuff, though, typically depends on where they’re living.
If they’re living in a dorm or other campus housing, their belongings ma be covered under you homeowners or renters insurance policy. But you’ll want to check with your agent to make sure – the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) says that students who are younger than 26 and living on campus may be covered through your policy.
It can be a good idea to know the policy’s coverage limits for personal property. The Insurance Information Institute (III) says some policies limit coverage for belongings while they are away from the policyholder’s home. This is often referred to as “off-premises coverage.” For example, if your policy provides $100,000 worth of coverage for belongings, but limits that coverage to 10% for items that are off-premises, it may provide up to $10,000 for items away from their home, including belongings they bring to school.
It’s also important to note that certain items, such as a laptop, may have coverage limits. If the policy’s limits aren’t enough to cover the items they’ll be bringing to school, the III says your parents may be able to add scheduled personal property coverage, sometimes referred to as a “floater,” to their homeowners or renters insurance policy to help cover certain valuable possessions.
If they’ll be living in off-campus, the III cautions that your insurance will probably not extend to any belongings they bring with them (but always check with your agent to be certain). Their own renters insurance policy may be a good way to help them protect their belongings, should they be stolen or damaged by a covered loss.
A renters policy will also likely provide liability coverage, which may help prevent them (or you) from paying out-of-pocket if they are found legally responsible for someone else’s injuries or accidental damage to their property (including their landlord’s).
The III recommends asking your agent about coverage limits, as well as whether they’ll benefit from additional coverage for certain valuables.
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