What insurance does my college student need?

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Bel Air News & View sponsor Chip Schilling of Northern Chesapeake Insurance Services shares his tips on how to make sure the valuables your children will take to college with them are properly insured. For more information, contact him at 410-420-3080 or chip@ncins.net.

Kids heading off to College? Know the insurance implications!

It’s that time of year again! A new school year is right around the corner! Many parents are sending their kids off to college for the first time. For students that are moving to either on-campus or off-campus housing at their school, there are very important insurance implications that parents need to consider. The primary question on most parents’ minds is “Are my child’s possessions covered on my homeowners policy while they are away at college?”. That is a great question! One of the most important factors in determining how coverage applies is whether the student is living in on-campus or off-campus housing.

Many homeowners insurance policies will cover your child’s personal belongings (furniture, clothing, electronics etc…) while living at school provided on-campus housing, no differently than if the belongings were still located at your home. In a way, these policies look at the on-campus housing or “dorm room” as a bedroom away from home for your child. If this is the case with your insurance carrier, the entire Personal Property coverage limit on your homeowners policy would extend to your child’s things at college. There is no need to buy a separate insurance policy for the dorm room.  However, some homeowners insurance policies limit the amount of coverage for a college student’s belongings to 10% of the parents’ personal property insurance protection limit listed on the homeowners policy. In this circumstance, if you have a Personal Property limit of $150,000 on your homeowners policy, $15,000 in coverage (10%) would extend to your child’s belongings in the on-campus housing.  In either case, full extension of the Personal Property coverage or the 10% limitation, coverage would apply for the same disasters (referred to as “perils”) that are covered under the standard homeowners policy. Generally speaking, these would include – fire, theft, vandalism, storm damage etc…  However, one very important thing to understand is that accidental damage, like dropping or spilling something on valuable electronics, is not a covered peril. Since that can be a frequent occurrence at college, parents should look into stand-alone coverage options that are often available through either the manufacturer or the retailers where the items were purchased. One note regarding cell phones – I recommend that parents should contact their cellular service provider to inquire about insurance for their child’s cell phone. Cell phones are often excluded from coverage on homeowners insurance policies. Even if there is coverage, the cost to replace the phone is often under the policy deductible.

The conversation so far has centered around on-campus housing. But what if your child is going to be living off-campus in an apartment? Most likely, your current homeowners policy will not cover any of the student’s personal belongings if they live off-campus. Your child (and possibly any roommates) may be able to purchase renters insurance to cover their things. Renters insurance is inexpensive, generally costing less than $200 per year.

Regardless of whether your child is living on-campus or off-campus, contact your insurance agent to discuss the specific details of your insurance policy and how your insurance carrier handles these types of circumstances. Insurance is never a “one-size-fits-all” type of product.  It’s important to have an agent who can discuss your particular situation and implement a solution that meets your needs. If you don’t have an insurance agent that you can rely on, please feel free to contact us at Northern Chesapeake Insurance Services here in Bel Air. Our phone number is 410-420-3080. If you prefer to email, my email address is chip@ncins.net.

 

Contact Chip at:

Northern Chesapeake Insurance Services

134 Archer Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
410-420-3080
Fax 410-420-3080

General email: info@ncins.net
Chip’s email: chip@ncins.net

This post was sponsored by Northern Chesapeake Insurance Services

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