College Students and Property Insurance

My niece and intern, Lizzie, is heading back to Fayetteville, Arkansas this later this week for her sophomore year at the University of Arkansas. It’s pretty common for me to get questions from parents of college students this time of year regarding insurance for their students. Let’s review how to address property insurance for college students. To do so, I’ve divided this into two broad categories, those who live on campus in a dorm room and those who live off campus in a frat or sorority house, apartment, or rental home.

On Campus: If your son or daughter will live on-campus in a dormitory you do not need to get a renter’s policy. Your home insurance policy provides coverage for their personal property. Most home insurance policies will cover up to 10% of the personal property or contents amount off-premises. Dorm rooms are considered to be an off-premises location.

For example, a home insured for $200,000 will have contents coverage ranging from 60% to 75% of the home’s value or $120,000 to $150,000. The amount of off-premises contents coverage will range from $12,000 to $15,000, which should be more than enough coverage for the typical dorm room.

The only stipulation is anything lost or stolen is subject to the home insurance policy deductible. For Texas home insurance policies, the deductible will range from $1,000 to 1% of the home’s dwelling value. That means the home policy deductible will be $2,000 if there’s a 1% deductible.

Items such as smart phones, laptops, tablets, or musical instruments should be covered through optional coverage on the home policy or scheduled. Scheduling an item on a home policy simply means listing them for their stated value under the scheduled items portion of the policy.

Most home insurance policies will schedule electronics, smart phones and musical instruments so if they are damaged, lost or stolen you’re only facing a $0 to $100 deductible instead of a $2,000 deductible or more. Also include printers, accessories, and software costs with scheduled laptops and tablets.

Apartments & Rental Homes: Many students move into an apartment or rent a home after the first or second year at school. When that happens, I recommend a renter’s policy because the student will have more personal property than they would in a dorm room. In addition to the electronics and decorative accessories, there’s furniture and possibly appliances such as a washer and dryer.

Renter’s policy rates are determined by the amount of the contents coverage, what type of home the student is living in, where the home is located and protective devices such as fire and burglar alarms. The cost of a renter’s policy will range from $150 to $300 a year. Common deductibles are stated in dollar amounts such as $250, $500, and $1,000 depending on the insurance company

If your son or daughter is going to school out of state then you’ll need to get a renter’s policy that’s specific to that state and from an agent licensed in that state. If you elect to simply have your home insurance cover your student’s property most home insurance policies will cover personal property off premises anywhere in the US. If they are attending school out of the country, then seek coverage that’s written in that country.

What did you do for your college student? Share your experiences, comments, advice, and questions with us on my Google +, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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