Protecting your college student’s stuff

Do you have a son or daughter going off to college this fall?  What an exciting time!  It may also be a little terrifying too!  Think of all the stuff they’ll take.  There are laptops or tablets, e-readers, smart phones, MP3 players, headphones, clothing, lamps, microwave ovens, maybe a mini fridge and decorations.

Take a moment and on a sheet of paper, list what they’re taking.  What would it cost to replace that?

  • Smart phone – $200 to $600
  • Laptop – $250 to $1,000
  • iPad – $499 to $699
  • Kindle or Nook – $79 to $200
  • iPod or other MP3 player – $49 to $400
  • Mini fridge – $85 on up
  • Microwave oven – $70 on up
  • Xbox or PlayStation – $199 to $399
  • Golf clubs & sports equipment  – $???
  • Decorations – $???
  • Clothing – $???

We haven’t even factored in music that’s been downloaded to the MP3, software costs, printers, cameras, apps and more.  Add to that books, supplies and the cost of what they have with them can easily run $3,000 to $5,000 or more.

One of the questions I get this time of year is, “Do I need to insure my student’s stuff while they are away at school?”  I outline two perspectives depending on whether the student will be in a dorm on campus or in an apartment.

If your student will be in a dorm room, your homeowners will be sufficient in most cases.

  • Most homeowner’s policies provide coverage for personal property off premises, refer to my earlier blog, How to buy home insurance – Part 4 (below)
  • Usually the amount of coverage is 10% of the contents coverage, so if you have $100,000 in contents coverage then there is automatically coverage for $10,000 of off premises contents
  • The issue is the home policy deductible, usually 1% on the home’s insured amount ($200,000 home would have a $2,000 deductible)
  • To alleviate the deductible, schedule the electronics on your home policy
  • Most home policies do provide the ability to schedule certain electronics under the home policy’s computer coverage
  • This protects the hardware and the software (back the music up to iCloud, SugarSync, DropBox, etc.)

If you’re student will be living in an apartment or home off campus get a renter’s policy.  A couple of things to consider are;

  • Recalculate what they will have in the apartment.
  • This will probably be more than what was in the dorm room as they may now have furniture too.
  • Most carriers will have a minimum amount they will write.  This varies from company to company.
  • Even if $25,000 of coverage sounds excessive, the premium will be less than the cost to replace a bunch of electronics that are stolen

In either case, make a list of what they’re taking and record their serial numbers where applicable.  This will help if recovering them if they are found by local police or end up in a pawn shop.

What’s the most unusual thing your student took with them to school?  Share that and any advice for first time parents or students in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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