Renters 101: Back-to-College Insurance Basics

Renters 101: Back-to-College Insurance Basics

Crisp, cool mornings mean fall is on its way, and students are back in class. But with this year’s projects and papers already looming, your favorite students probably aren’t thinking about protecting what’s theirs. So let’s talk it out and see how back-to-college can mean taking a fresh look at your insurance.

Left, Right, or Justified?

If you own a home, of course you have a homeowners policy. If you rent, it’s natural to rely on renters insurance. But what if you fall somewhere in-between—like a student, living away from home? Do the same rules apply?

Thankfully, parents’ homeowners or renters policies do extend to kids living on campus. So, if something terrible happened in the dorm—like a fire, flood or rash of theft—your homeowners or renters coverage would kick in and cover losses. General limits are around 10% of the value of your policy; for example, if your policy covers $100,000, then after the deductible, you’d have $10,000 at your disposal to replace lost or damaged items.

It’s a different story though, when your student chooses to live off-campus in an apartment, house, condo, or other hip and happenin’ domicile. Because we aren’t talking about lodging provided as part of your student’s tuition, these home-away-from-homes require their own renters coverage, independent of mom and dad. Now maybe you’re wondering: Do students’ belongings really warrant the expense of a separate renters policy? First off, let’s think of all the stuff they manage to fit in those itty-bitty dorm rooms: Electronics galore (e.g. tablet, laptop, desktop, smart phone, printer, TV, stereo, etc.), furniture, musical instruments, sporting equipment, possibly even jewelry or other valuables, not to mention textbooks and everyday essentials. With potentially double the space—or more—in an off-campus pad, belongings and replacement costs quickly add up.

Enabling Options

Naturally, coverage limits will vary, depending on what you’re protecting, and the same valuation principles used in your homeowners coverage will apply. But don’t worry, there’s no shortage of options. In fact, depending on where your student will be studying and living, an additional policy to cover natural disasters common to the area could be a practical choice. And while you’re figuring out just what to cover, here’s an A+ idea: compile a comprehensive, up-to-date inventory of students’ belongings and share it with your agent. Taking all the variables into account, well-rounded protection is in the bag.

And thankfully, unlike a typical homeowners policy, renters insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Seriously, we’re talking the cost of a weekly coffee splurge. And given that renters insurance often covers liability, along with temporary living expenses in case of serious damage, you’re looking at minor output that reaps major protection. Worry will be low, assignments and exams will come first. In fact—perk alert!—higher grades could mean lower rates on other policies.

Insuring Success

Right about here is where it hits you: it’s time to schedule your regular insurance chat. Because as your family’s life changes, so should your coverage. So let’s clue you in to areas that need tweaking, and make sure all your bases are covered. And as your favorite students say goodbye for another semester of studying, let’s ensure that protection runs high, and worry is out of the game.

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