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Off to College? Don’t forget the Renters Insurance!

August 9th, 2017

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Protect your student when they move out

Parents, as your child prepares to start college, you’ve most likely triple checked the list of all the things they might need to start out on their own, but have you thought of everything?

Odds are, you’ve not thought about Renters Insurance but there is a very important reason why you should obtain Renters Insurance for your student prior to them heading off to school:

While your child lives at home, their belongings are insured and their personal liability is covered under the parents’ Homeowners or Renters Insurance. Now that you are sending them off to college, it’s imperative that they are still protected in the event of a loss to their belongings or a liability claim filed against them. If they are living on campus they may still be covered under the parent’s policy as long as they are a full time student. But, in some instances, if your child lives off campus, coverage may not extend. It is important to address this before your student leaves for school.

Renters Insurance provides coverage for your student’s Personal Property (Contents), Loss of Use and Personal Liability. The amount of contents coverage needed will depend on the value of their personal property. Most policies have a minimum contents limit of $20,000 with higher limits available. Don’t think your student has $20k in belongings? You might be surprised how costly it would be to replace all of their things if lost in a fire. Be sure to discuss the value of their electronics (laptops, phones, gaming equipment) and any other items of higher value (jewelry/art/athletic equipment) with your Personal Insurance Advisor.

In addition to protecting your student’s Personal Property, Renters Insurance provides coverage for Loss of Use. Loss of Use pays for additional living expenses in the event that your student’s apartment or rental unit is not habitable as a result of a covered loss such as fire. Your student could be subject to additional rental costs, storage and food over and above what you were paying. Loss of use can be limited, so be sure to check the limit on their renter’s insurance policy.

Personal Liability is another component of the standard Renters policy with limits ranging from $100,000, $300,000, $500,000 or $1,000,000. Personal Liability provides coverage if someone is injured in your child’s dorm/apartment other than their roommate. Personal Liability also provides coverage if they accidentally damage their dorm/apartment. Examples of covered losses could be:

  • Your student forgets to turn off the water in the sink resulting in water damage throughout their unit.
  • Your student leaves for the weekend or holidays and forgets to set the heat to the required minimum temperature only to return and find the pipes frozen, cracked and leaking.
  • Friends stop by to visit and someone falls, sustains an injury, and requires further medical treatment.

Personal Liability might also extend to certain types of activities or losses that occur other than at their dorm/apartment. An example of a potentially covered loss could be:

  • While snowboarding, your student hits another skier or boarder causing bodily injury resulting in the need for medical attention.

Be sure to ask if their renter’s policy includes Personal Injury coverage. Personal Injury is related to something that one might say or do that involves another person which causes them mental anguish and/or embarrassment. Personal Injury also applies to liable, slander and invasion of privacy. With the increased use of smart phones, email, texting, tweets and social media such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, the likelihood of an unintentional event occurring has skyrocketed in recent years. Most insurance providers offer an endorsement to add coverage for less than $30 a year.

The cost of basic renters insurance is quite reasonable and ranges from $125 to $200 annually depending on the coverages selected. But be aware that roommate(s) will need their own renters insurance, as these policies may not be shared.

Finally, parents, the most compelling reason for your student to obtain a policy of their own is to transfer the risk/exposures from your policy to theirs. College and moving out of the house is big step for both parents and students, and adding a Renter’s Insurance Policy will give you added protection as well as peace of mind.

Kimberly Nager, CPRM, CISR

Personal Lines Advisor

Kimberly Nager is a fully licensed Property/Casualty and Life/Health Agent/Broker strives to provide her clients with exceptional service and the best insurance options available by using a total accounts approach.

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