Back to school is here! Hopefully you’re excited to head back to college for the spring semester, and maybe you’ve even brought a few new goodies with you from the holidays. Like many college students, you probably have a laptop, a phone, a TV, clothes, furniture, mp3 player – the list goes on. Would you be able to replace those items if they were lost or damaged? How can you help protect them?
If your parents own a home, they likely have what is called a homeowner’s insurance policy to help them protect their home, their belongings and their liability. Will this policy protect you? That all depends on the specific policy and your situation (think age, enrollment status, where you live, etc).
A homeowner’s policy may cover your belongings when you’re away at school up to a certain amount. If you live in the dorms at school, you’ll probably be covered under your parent’s homeowner’s policy, but be sure to double check. If you live in an off-campus apartment, however, you likely won’t be covered and may want to consider getting renters insurance in order to help protect yourself and your stuff. Some policies require that you are enrolled full-time, others don’t specify, and others still impose an age limit. It’s important to review your parent’s policy to make sure you know whether you are covered before and in case disaster strikes. Regardless, make sure to take an inventory of how much the things you bring with you to school are worth and check to see if that value falls within the covered limits.
Some things to think about concerning a homeowner’s policy:
- Deductible – homeowner’s policies tend to have high deductibles. Talk with your family to make sure it would be worth it to make a claim if your laptop was stolen from the library, or your things were damaged in a dorm kitchen fire. If the policy has a high deductible, you may want to consider renters insurance, which typically features a low deductible.
- Are you covered on campus? Make sure to read the fine print of the policy to ensure you are eligible in the dorms. Some plans may specify a certain number of credit hours to qualify.
- Are you covered off campus? Most homeowner’s policies won’t cover a dependent living in an apartment.
- Limits – Since you’ll be living away from home, the amount of coverage likely won’t be the same as the policy’s limits – many plans cover up to 10% of the limits for property away from the home. Do the math and take an inventory to make sure your belongings’ worth is fully covered.
Some things to consider about renters insurance:
- Low deductible – Typically, renters insurance policies feature low deductibles, so you won’t be out too much cash to replace your losses. Compare plans and talk with an agent to find the best deductible for you.
- Low rates – A yearly renters policy is more affordable than a homeowners policy, and you can find a plan offered at a low monthly rate.
- Worldwide property coverage – Some renters insurance plans will cover your belongings worldwide – if you are traveling, or in the library, your property will still be protected.
- Liability – Liability coverage is an option you can add to many renters insurance policies to help protect yourself further.
- Customizable – Instead of being subject to the insurance needs of your parents home, you can choose the limits and features you need from a separate renters insurance policy.
So, will a homeowner’s policy protect you while you’re at school? Make sure to do your due diligence and examine you parents’ policy to make sure you are covered, and if need be consider a renters insurance policy. From all of us at GradGuard, we wish you a happy and safe spring semester!