Should College Students Purchase Dorm Or Renter’s Insurance?

High school and college students usually get their first taste of the insurance market when they start driving. Some parents may require their kids to start working to help pay for their share of the family auto insurance policy while others may only trouble their children with the topic when policy renewal cards come in the mail.


Either way, you can’t make it past your eighteenth birthday without having some familiarity with the concept of insurance; and that familiarity grows stronger as you get older and realize there are things like life, health, dental, and vision, to name a few.


One of the first types of insurance students going away to college may wish to consider is dorm or renter’s insurance.


Think First


Obviously, purchasing more insurance for your valuables can’t hurt anything, but you could be paying too much if your policy is redundant with something that would be covered under your mom and dad’s homeowners insurance policy.


According to Kimberly Lankford, contributing editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, “electronics, clothes and other possessions should be covered” by a basic homeowner’s policy. However, there are limits.


“Some insurers cap off-site coverage at 10% of the possessions limit on your homeowners insurance policy. For instance, if you have $200,000 in coverage on your home and $100,000 on your possessions, you may be covered up to $10,000 for possessions outside of your home,” Lankford wrote in her recent column.


“You can buy coverage beyond that for electronics and other special items,” she added. “Electronics riders not only provide higher limits but also can cover accidental damage, such as a dropped laptop, which usually isn’t covered by homeowners insurance.”


To be sure, an insurance customer should ask their insurer for details.


Rules For Off-Campus Rentals


Should a student rent a home or apartment off-campus, they may wish to purchase renter’s insurance, especially if they are over the age of 24. That’s usually when most homeowner’s policies pull the plug on covering possessions outside of the main residence. Some companies don’t cover students living off-campus, period.


When To Buy And What To Expect


Students, will you be taking any of the following devices with you to college?


  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • Wearable technology
  • Video game consoles (and collections)
  • DVDs/Blu-rays
  • Flat-screen TVs
  • Streaming boxes


As you can see, electronics can jack up the overall value of your possessions in a hurry. Living in the open environment of a dormitory can make these items susceptible to theft.


While that theft may not exceed 10 percent of your parents’ homeowners’ policy, you never know. If you’re safely covered, then you may want to refrain from purchasing a dorm or renter’s insurance policy.


However, if you and a sibling are in college at the same time, then it’s possible your collective possessions exceed the 10 percent limit.


If you live off-campus, it’s possible you’re not covered at all.


If your parents don’t own a house and don’t carry insurance on property other than automobile, then you’ll want some policy as long as you have possessions that are valuable to you.


Generally, a dorm or renter’s insurance policy won’t cost any more than $150 to $200 per year, and it protects your stuff as well as you from any liability should someone get injured on your turf.


That’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

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