Thursday, August 27, 2015

Insuring Your College Student While They’re Away

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

As you prepare to send your child off to college, it’s important to ensure their valuables are protected. Blais Insurance offers additional coverage that can be added on to your existing policy and varies depending on where your child will be living and the type of coverage you are looking for.  

If your child will be living in a dorm or college-owned building, their possessions should be automatically covered from theft, loss and damage through your basic homeowner’s policy, subject to the applicable limits and coverages selected by the homeowner. Coverage is generally limited to 10% of the policy’s coverage limit for contents, and deductibles may apply. If your policy covers contents up to $100,000, your child’s college possessions coverage would be $10,000, less the policy deductible. It may be wise to consider lowering your deductible if you’re planning to protect your child’s possessions while at school.  

Homeowner’s policies may not cover specialty items like fine jewelry and artwork without additional protection: the general rule of thumb being that special things require special coverage.  Moreover, there is a coverage limitation that may apply in the instance where your son is away from the insured location for a period longer than 30 days.  Lastly, special considerations may be necessary for a child studying abroad.

If your child will be renting an apartment off-college property, their possessions are no longer covered under your homeowner’s policy. Even if their legal address is still your home, their apartment will most likely be viewed as their residence. However, they do have the option of taking out a renter’s insurance policy for as little as $15 to $30 a month. Renters insurance comes in two basic forms: replacement-value policies and cash-value policies. Replacement-value policies generally cost more, and both types may have coverage limits requiring extra protection for some items. Renters insurance works the same as homeowner’s insurance, but without the dwelling coverages that are unnecessary for a building they do not own.

Your child should create an inventory of possessions in case a claim is filed. It is also important for your inventory at home to have a section of items that are with your child at college.

Make sure to read your policy carefully before deciding which coverage is best for you and your child. Eligibility, coverage limits and deductibles should all be taken into consideration. If you have any questions about your current policy or would like to add additional coverage, be sure to call Blais Insurance at 725.0070.