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Other Safety

Better Safe Than Sorry!

August 24, 2018

Now that you’re all on your own in college, without any adult supervision from your parents, it’s best to take whatever steps necessary to stay safe and protect yourself from dangerous situations that could occur at any time of the day. One key thing to remember is that there is no such thing as being too cautious, especially when you’re by yourself.  Below are a few tips and suggestions on what you can do to stay safe around campus.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Especially at night. Whether you’re just walking to your car or going for a quick run to the convenience store next door, make sure to look around you and look out for any suspicious individuals or activities that might be lurking around your neighborhood. For many, it is a common thing to have on headphones and listen to music while you’re out and about, however, when you are by yourself, this could put you in a very vulnerable and risky situation. Music can be distracting and can also drown out noises around you, therefore it makes it easier for the bad guys to approach you. Music is good for the soul, but let’s save it for when you’re at a pool party or when you have safely arrived in your car and locked it.

Carry a safety kit.

This doesn’t have to be anything bulky or wildly noticeable. With so many cases of assault and kidnapping nowadays, even in broad daylight, it is smart to carry a personal safety kit with you everywhere you go. The most popular protection item for college students and young adults to carry is pepper spray as it is very affordable and accessible. Another item that’s not very commonly used but is extremely helpful is a personal alarm, which can be used in emergency situations to scare off an attacker and alert assistance. Sabre is a brand of security equipment that offers personal safety kits that include both a pepper spray and a personal alarm which can be easily attached to your keychain. This is a great product to keep in mind when stocking a personal safety kit.

Know how to put out a grease fire.

You’d be surprised how many cases of cooking-related fire incidents occur each year, especially among college students. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the number one cause that can lead to home fires. The most obvious and important factor in not having grease fires is to take the necessary steps to prevent them. However, in the case that you have already started one, you can refer to the list below for the basic tips on how to extinguish the fire:

  1. DO NOT use water to put out the fire.
  2. Locate the heat source and turn it off.
  3. Try covering the pan/pot with a baking sheet or any metal lids until it has cooled down.
  4. If the fire is small, you can douse it with baking soda or salt.
  5. If the fire is on a larger scale and not manageable, use a fire extinguisher.

Purchase renters insurance.

As reported by the Clery Act, there is an average of 22,463 annual burglaries reported on college campuses and 2,070 annual fires reported in on-campus student housing (data is from 2017-2018). For unpredictable and unfortunate incidents like these, it is highly recommended that students protect themselves and their personal belongings by looking into purchasing renters insurance. GradGuard offers low deductibles and worldwide property coverage for students at an affordable price. This is in the event that their laptops, bikes, or backpacks get stolen. This applies even if they are just around campus or vacationing outside of the country. To get more information, click here.

With all that said, let’s hope that you don’t run into any unfortunate mishaps. Have fun being a college student, but always do your best to make sure that you are safe no matter where you go!

Other Safety

What To Do If Your Laptop is Stolen at College

August 23, 2018
What to Do If Your Laptop is Stolen

So you were at the library and got up for a minute. Maybe you left your dorm room door open while running to the bathroom. Maybe you went to check on something while you were doing work in the lounge. Maybe your apartment was broken into. Whatever the reason, the laptop you once had is now gone. What do you do?

Having your laptop stolen is the worst. Though it may make you want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever, that’s likely not an option mid-semester when you’ve got papers to write and tests to study for. Instead, follow these tips to regain your sanity and replace your laptop.

File a Police Report

If you’re on-campus, contact campus police to file a report. If you’re off-campus, contact your city or town’s police department to file a report with them. This is important because if your laptop is found, it can be returned, and if you’re filing an insurance claim, you’ll need to have filed a police report first.

Change Your Passwords

If you know you have saved passwords on your laptop or are auto-logged into sensitive or personal accounts, like your email, Facebook, or bank accounts, get to a computer to change them right away.

Consider Identity Theft Protection

If you’ve stored sensitive information on your laptop, like your credit card numbers and passwords, you may want to consider purchasing Identity Theft Protection to help alert you if someone uses your information to commit fraud. Identity Theft Protection is often offered for a low monthly rate and can provide assistance in resolving any incidents and can also offer insurance for lost funds.

Check on Coverage

Do you have a renters insurance policy? If you do, consult your policy to look for a couple things. First, check if there is any limit on electronics coverage and make sure that your laptop doesn’t exceed that amount. Next, check to see what kind of replacement your policy provides. Then, check for your deductible. This will be the amount that you’ll have to pay out of pocket to replace your laptop, your insurance will cover the rest.

After you’ve got all this info, you’ll need to file a claim with the insurance company to replace the laptop. Check your policy docs for information on where to send your claims info. According to the Internet (Mint.com), it’ll take about a week or two for the money to come through or your laptop to be replaced. If you purchase Renters Insurance from GradGuard, our underwriter, Markel, will be in touch within 24 hours.

If you don’t have Renters Insurance, talk to your parents about whether you might be covered under their Homeowners Insurance. If you are, and the deductible is lower than the cost to replace the laptop (homeowners’ deductibles tend to fall around $500-$1,000), it could make sense to file a claim under their Homeowners Insurance. Keep in mind that filing a claim on their insurance may raise their premium, so it may make sense to just replace it out of pocket, especially if they have a high deductible.

Hopefully, you have some coverage, if not, you’ll have to figure out how to replace your laptop on your own. In the meantime, look into your options around campus – there may be computer labs you can use until you are able to get a replacement. Otherwise, be sure you back up your documents and get a college renters insurance policy!

Other Safety

The Case for Tuition Insurance

August 17, 2018

The most gratifying experience as a founder of a business is to hear directly from customers who benefit from a product you have helped to create. Indeed, as our GradGuard tuition insurance customer says in this brief testimonial video and statement.

“Tuition Insurance was such a lifesaver. It should be an option on every college and university website.” – Mindy D., parent of a college student daughter who used GradGuard’s tuition insurance from Allianz.

Bill Suneson and I co-founded GradGuard 10 years ago with the mission to help protect the investment students and families make in higher education. Thanks to GradGuard’s collaboration with Allianz Global Assistance – it is now easier than ever before for college students and their families to receive valuable protection for the investment they make in higher education.

If you have a student in college, you need to be sure you know what the refund policy is and ask the school if they provide tuition insurance. Though today only about 300 colleges and universities offer tuition insurance, most school leaders surveyed agree that it should be as convenient for families to protect a $30,000 or more investment in college as it is for consumers to protect a $300 vacation with travel insurance.

For good reason, according to the College Board’s 2019 Trends in College Pricing – the average published prices in 2019-20 including room and board are $38,330 for public institutions and $46,870 for private non-profit institutions.

According to the 2018 Allianz Tuition Insurance College Confidence Index, parents are growing more concerned about their child’s ability to finish college without needing to withdraw, though students’ level of confidence in finishing held steady. However, both still see significant financial implications of an early college withdrawal, estimating a loss of about $10,000. What is equally concerning is that the 2018 Index indicates 73% of parents are unaware of the refund policy of their college or university.

With so much money at stake, it is smart for college families to make a plan in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to a bad bout of mono, mental illness or injury. The Fall 2019 study by the American College Health Association, demonstrates the impact of student health issues on academics. Below is a partial list of the conditions that students report impact their academic performance, defined as: received a lower grade on an exam, or an important project; received a lower grade in the course; received an incomplete or dropped the course; or experienced a significant disruption in thesis, dissertation, research, or practicum work;

• Depression: 23 %
• Cold/Flu/Sore throat: 16 %
• Death of a friend or family member: 9 %
• Bronchitis/Strep throat: 2.3 %
• Chronic health problem or serious illness: 22.8 %
• Alcohol use: 2.2 %
• Injury: 2.7 %
• Drug use: 1.7 %

This is where tuition insurance can be particularly valuable to a family or student that finds one of these conditions to be serious enough to force them to withdraw from college. Though it may seem a bit like an advertisement, here are some conclusions for why tuition insurance is a smart decision.

  1. If you can’t afford to lose the investment you are making in your semester of school – Tuition insurance can provide up to 100% refund for your expenses if a student gets sick, injured or is forced to leave school for a covered reason. Tuition insurance can cover those costs and help you get back on your feet in the event of a withdrawal, without the added stress of a financial loss.
  2. If your school does not provide a 100% refund – Do you know what your school’s refund policy is? A majority of school refund policies do not extend beyond the fifth week of the semester, and many don’t refund the full cost of tuition after the start of classes. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk.
  3. If you have additional academic expenses – Even if the school provides a 100% refund for tuition, most schools do not refund academic fees or student housing. Many tuition insurance plans provide coverage for not only tuition but also for expenses related to academic fees and student housing.

Tuition insurance is available through GradGuard and more than a hundred school-specific programs. Remember, tuition insurance must be purchased prior to the start of school and, like all insurance plans, be sure to check the specific terms, conditions, and exclusions of your policy.

This article was updated in July 2020

Other Safety

Growth In Campus Fires & Crimes Confirm The Value Of Renters Insurance For College Students

July 25, 2018

According to Clery Act reports, in 2017-2018, the number of fires that occurred in on-campus student housing facilities was down 12.3% from 1,938 to 1,726 fires. In addition to fires, the number of reported criminal offenses decreased by around 1% from 38,000 to 37,573. The data for criminal offenses is based on reports from nearly 6,000 institutions and the data for fires is based on reports from 686 institutions and 701 campuses.

According to Bob Soza, President of College Parents of America, “We recommend families consider renters insurance because college students and their parents are often caught unprepared, and these unexpected incidents can also disrupt a students’ education.”

In fact, a majority of state insurance commissioners recommend college students consider renters insurance.

With so much money at stake, John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, suggests that “college parents make a plan in case their student is a victim of theft, their property is damaged by a fire or water damage or if they are found responsible for damages they may cause.”

The Top 3 Reasons Renters Insurance is a Smart Decision for College Students:

1. If you can’t afford to replace your backpack, bicycle or computerRenters insurance can replace your stolen or damaged property. Renters insurance can cover those costs and help you get back to classes, without the added stress of a financial loss.

2. If your school does not replace stolen or damaged property – In a 2017 survey of student housing leaders, 98% of schools report that they do not replace stolen or damaged student property. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk.

3. If you can’t afford to pay for damages you cause – True renter’s insurance includes personal liability protection and can help pay for unintentional damages when a student cannot.

Fees added, “college students and their families are smart to consider purchasing renter’s insurance before the start of school. For about $12.00 a month, students can secure protection against financial losses making renters insurance a must have consideration for college families.”

Other Safety

Testimonial – “Tuition Insurance Was Such a Lifesaver”

July 20, 2018

The best way to understand the value of GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance to schools and college families is to hear from a customer who enrolled in the program. Indeed, as our customer says:

“Tuition Insurance was such a lifesaver. It should be an option on every college and university website,” – Mindy D., parent of a college student daughter who used Allianz tuition insurance.

Watch below to hear her explain how she considered protecting her daughter and how tuition insurance enabled her to avoid a large financial loss when she became ill during the semester.

Thanks to GradGuard’s collaboration with Allianz Global Assistance – it is now easier than ever before for college students and their families to receive valuable protection for the investment they make in higher education.

If your school does not provide 100% refunds, it is useful for parents to ask the school to do so.  Most school leaders surveyed agreed that it should be as convenient for families to protect a $30,000 or more investment in college as it is for consumers to protect a $300 vacation with travel insurance.

We are thankful that we worked closely with the school where Mindy’s daughter was enrolled.  As a college parent, she expresses clearly the value of tuition insurance and the peace of mind it provided to her and her family as they cared for the well-being of her child.

Other Safety

Spring Break Tips from Packing to Protection

March 1, 2018

Spring break.  The much-needed college break.  If you are like many college students we know, you have just rushed thru mid-terms and are excited about a week with friends.  Yet – you haven’t given much thought to what to pack or what could go wrong.  So here are GradGuard’s tips for making the most of spring break.

Packing Efficiently

The key to packing smart is bringing reusable options.  Only bring multiples when necessary.  For instance, a weeklong spring break trip to a warm destination will require several swimsuits, as you’re not going to want to wear the same one all week.  However, you can save room by bringing bikini tops and bottoms that you can mix and match, creating more options without taking up extra room.  This same philosophy applies to the rest of your wardrobe.  Instead of bringing a completely separate outfit for each night you are going to go out on the town, bring pieces you can easily restyle.  

Remember The Little Things

There are several items which, if forgotten, can put a major kink in your travel plans. You may be able to buy them once you’ve arrived, but take the hassle out of your trip by remembering to pack them in the first place.  However, make sure you bring several forms of identification, cash, and your insurance cards. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but in case something happens, you need to be prepared and have necessary documentation with you.

Protect That Bag & Trip

Given the cost of travel and the stuff you have with you, it can be smart to also purchase travel insurance to cover the cost of your trip if you get sick or in some cases travel insurance can replace your baggage in the event it gets lost or stolen. Another option to consider is packing light and bringing just a carry-on, to eliminate the chances that your baggage will get on a plane to the wrong destination without you. If you do decide to check a bag, pack smart in your carry on – be sure to stash your essentials for the week in your carry on so if your bag does get lost, you’ll have what you need on hand.

Protect your stuff at home & while traveling

Of course, your parents will remind you about protecting your belongings in your hotel room and keeping a close eye on your purse.  But what about everything you’ve left back at college? Remember that renter’s insurance to help protect your things both on campus and beyond.  Purchase a renters insurance policy is smart for college students because it can protect your property both on and off campus – even when you are traveling.

Happy Travels!

Other Safety

5 Super Easy Ways to Boost Your Online Security

November 22, 2017

It seems we hear a new “sorry, we’ve been hacked” story every day. Ranging from small companies to some of the biggest names known worldwide, everyone from Target to Uber to Chipotle has been hacked leaving your data compromised. And it doesn’t stop there.

“Last September, Yahoo announced that data associated with at least 500 million accounts had been stolen. Three months later, it disclosed a second breach affecting more than one billion accounts,” according to Seth Fiegerman with CNN Tech.
As a college student, it may feel almost impossible to protect yourself from being a hacking victim—you don’t have money to put special protection on your data or personal information—but the key word is “almost.”

There are a number of steps you can take to protect your data and personal information from being stolen or accessed, all of which are easy, and better yet, free.

  1. Use a Password Manager

You know the three basic rules of passwords: they should be:
• Unique to each account.
• Complex, using letters, numbers and symbols whenever possible.
• Unidentifiable to you, like the name of your pet or your birthday—all information a hacker can easily find online.

If you’re following all the rules, the first thought is: I’ll never remember all that; which is why most people don’t follow them. Instead of leaving yourself vulnerable to hacking, use a password manager.“Using a master password, these programs will catalog and secure the login info for every account you own, and most of them come with a browser plugin that allows you plug in any login on the fly while you browse,” according to How to Protect Your Digital Identity and Lock Your Sensitive Data. The same guide suggests checking out the following password managers, all of which are free to use:

Password Box
1Password
LastPass

 

     2) Use the Latest Version of Your Browser
Keeping both your OS and your browser up to date is critical for online security: “In both scenarios, you’re putting your personal online security at risk anytime you browse the internet. Without current web browser support and critical security updates from Microsoft, your PC may become vulnerable to any number of harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your identity, personal finances, and information,” explain blog staff at WebRoot.

It sounds simple, but many people see the reminder or request to update and click on the “not now” button. Don’t put off these updates and instead schedule the update to happen later instead of just closing that pop-up—or better yet, do it right then and there and take a quick 15-minute study break.

You can schedule your updates to happen automatically as well. Use this as an easy way to plan ahead and schedule updates to happen at times that you wouldn’t be on your computer, like when you’re sleeping.

3) Install a VPN

VPN stands for virtual private network. The beauty of a VPN is that it completely hides the data connection to your ISP address from potential hackers: Lee Matthews, software and tech writer for Forbes, explains in easy-to-understand terms:
“When you connect to a VPN, all the data that gets sent from your device to the private network at the other end (and back) is ‘encapsulated. Think putting a letter into an envelope to keep its contents from being read during transport. The envelope could still be opened, though. That’s why organizations like the CIA put tamper-proof tape over the flap. With a VPN connection, encryption is the tamper-proof tape. The result is a sort of network-within-a-network, but because of encapsulation and encryption your connection to a VPN remains private even though the data you’re transmitting is moving over the very public Internet.”

 

You can get a VPN for any browser for free; all you have to do is make sure it’s connected. Some websites may recognize it and not serve you content (many T.V. networks do this when you’re trying to watch shows online), but you can simply disconnect for that one site and reconnect when you’re done.

4) Install An Ad Blocker
Pop-up ads are not only annoying, but they also pose a security threat. “Ads are known to spread malware. For that reason alone, you should block all of them. I say this as someone whose rent is, in part, paid by ad revenue,” says William Turton, staff writer with Gizmodo.

There are a wide variety of AdBlockers you can use, depending on your browser. Check out Tom’s Guide’s extensive round-up of option for Chrome, Firefox, Safari,  and IE.

5) Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a security feature that requires you to take one extra step when logging into an account. In some cases, the extra step will be a preset security question while others use an additional PIN code or a verification code sent to you via text.

This extra step provides an extra layer of security so if someone guesses your password, they won’t be able to get through the second part of the login process. “For hackers, the coup de grace is setting up instant alerts when your account is accessed from an unfamiliar device or location. Usually, this is you because you’re logging into your email account from an internet café in London, or you’re checking your bank balance on a trusted friend’s phone,” says Kim Komando, tech expert for USA Today.
Get Secure Now

It can be a daunting task to consider setting up these different security measures, but it will be well worth it when your online privacy has been protected, especially in light of the many security breaches we now hear about on a daily basis. You can protect yourself easily, and for little to no money, so take an hour between classes to get secure and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with it.

BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time freelance writer and self-employed content marketing consultant. She’s been featured in Forbes and Business Insider and has written for Reader’s Digest, Lifehack and more.

Other Safety

Unique Student Needs & Common Questions About Renters Insurance in Student Housing

November 15, 2017

If you’re in the market for renters insurance — good for you! It’s a smart, affordable way to protect your college student.

However, not all renters insurance policies address the unique needs of college students and their families.  The most common short-comings for college students are the following:

  • Credit Checks.  Many renters insurance policies require a credit check against the student’s profile. A low or limited credit score can lead to higher prices.
  • High deductibles. A deductible of $500 or more doesn’t help a student when their $350 bicycle is stolen.
  • Coverage Gotchas.  Such as coverage that includes replacement value and not depreciated value.  That is not helpful to a student whose backpack is stolen and needs a computer to be replaced at the current retail price.
  • Property Only Coverage.  First of all –  property insurance is not renters insurance, but sometimes students think they are the same thing.  Students and their families benefit from true renters insurance that includes personal liability coverage as well as property coverage. Liability coverage is a part of your renters policy that helps cover the costs due to accidental bodily injury and property damage of others. It also will help cover the cost of lawsuit expenses should something happen in your apartment.

Take confidence that GradGuard’s College Renters Insurance has been designed just for college students.  You can trust us to be straightforward and offer your college student the protection that is right for their college life.

Here are some common questions for college students & families to consider:

  1. Is all of my personal property covered? Typically, renters insurance policies cover most of your personal property, like clothing, furniture, electronics, etc. There may be limits on things like jewelry and other higher-end items you own.
  2. What perils are covered? Most renters insurance policies commonly covers perils like theft, fire and smoke damage, water damage from bursting pipes and overflows, and even offers liability coverage.
  3. What is the amount of renters liability insurance?  Is it sufficient? Do you need $25,000 or $250,000.  A licensed insurance professional can help advise you.
  4. What is medical expense coverage? Another facet of the liability coverage on your renters policy is that it helps cover medical expenses for guests injured in your rental unit. Say a guest breaks their leg by slipping on your freshly mopped floor — instead of using their own health insurance, they can submit their medical bills directly to your renters insurance company. Keep in mind, this coverage won’t cover your own medical bills or anyone who lives with you — that’s why you have health insurance.
  5. Can I move my renters insurance to another apartment?  Nearly all renters insurance policies require the insured to maintain their address.  If you move, you must update your address with your insurance company.
  6. Will a renters policy cover my roommate? A renters insurance policy does not extend coverage to any of your roommates unless their names are specifically written in the policy. Typically, roommates don’t share renters insurance.
  7. Am I covered if my property is stolen when I’m on the go or away from campus?  Many people don’t know that one of the great benefits of renters insurance is that it can help cover the cost to replace your belongings that were stolen if you’re traveling. So, if a student backpack was stolen while you were visiting your home in a different state, your renters insurance could help cover the cost to replace them.

 

Other Safety

10 Crucial Campus Safety Tips

August 17, 2017

The yearly return to college each fall is an exciting and significant time for students, but it isn’t entirely without risks. This year, as classes beckon you back to campus, consider what you can do to ensure your own safety as well as that of others. September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month! Here’s a quick list to help you promote safety throughout your time at school.

Walk With Purpose

It’s no secret that anyone who appears to be new in town or otherwise unsure of themselves makes an easy target. Don’t be one of those people! Wherever you go, whether on campus or around town, be sure to walk with confidence and a purpose. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Go with your gut: when it comes to your personal safety, you are your own greatest ally.

Be the Leader of the Pack

It’s an immutable law of nature: there’s safety in numbers. Traveling with friends is one of the best ways to keep yourself protected, particularly if you’re a young woman who may be at greater risk. This is of critical importance when attending social events or traveling in unlit areas. Whether on or off campus, attend events as part of a group and make a pact to look out for one another. Most importantly, never leave someone alone in a vulnerable or uncomfortable situation. If necessary, leave as a group and make other plans instead.

Be Social Media Savvy

Today our digital personas are just as real as our offline lives, and what happens on the Internet doesn’t necessarily stay there. So in the interest of safety, it’s best to keep the personal details to a minimum. First and foremost, be sure to disable location services so that no one can track your whereabouts as you post. Next, think twice before making any posts that include “sensitive” information. Over 80 percent of Internet-initiated crimes – crimes in which the criminal first identifies or tracks a target online – begin through social media, making your profiles excellent resources for any would-be criminals to find your location, daily routines and nearly anything else they might want to know.

“I’ll Be Back”

Whenever you venture out and about, make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to be back. It only takes a few moments to text friends or family members and inform them of your plans, and if something should ever go wrong, you’ll be glad that you did. If you don’t show up when and where you’re expected, having someone who can check in on you can make all the difference.

Do Your Research

Every campus has resources available to help keep you safe, but they aren’t of much use if you aren’t aware of them. Take some time to find out where your local campus safety or police station is located and be sure to save the phone number. Also familiarize yourself with any other useful services, such as psychological services and wellness centers. It’s also a good idea to locate any emergency phones and automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) on campus. A sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, and people who are quickly treated with an AED are five times more likely to survive.

Take Advantage of Safety Technology

If you haven’t done so already, sign up to get campus text alerts sent directly to your phone. These alerts will help you stay abreast of any incidents on your campus and will provide valuable safety information if necessary. Additionally, consider downloading a personal safety app to turn your phone into a pocket-sized security guard. There are many options available, all with their own feature sets, but the general idea is the same: these apps provide a way to stay in touch with friends and family, alert them to your plans and location and even send emergency alerts if you’re in need of help.

Lock It Up

There are thousands of burglaries on college campuses each year, and many of them could be prevented with one simple step: lock your doors! Make sure your roommates also understand the importance of keeping your dorm locked up securely, and never give out a key to anyone else. If you live off campus, or in a sorority or fraternity house, consider installing a basic video surveillance system or doorbell camera. If an intruder sees they’re being watched it’s a powerful deterrent, and it’ll also allow you to remotely view any visitors – unwanted or otherwise – right from your phone or mobile device.

Be Skeptical of Unknown Substances

Whether you’re out partying hard or simply looking for some Tylenol for a headache, never trust pills, liquids or other substances unless you know exactly what they are. It’s always better to pass on someone’s offer rather than risk consuming a spiked drink, a dangerous drug or some other foreign substance. Similarly, never put your drink down at a house party or in a bar.

Get Defensive

Many campuses and community centers offer free self-defense classes, and they’re well worth your time. Even if you hope never to need it, knowing how to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a physical threat is potentially life-saving. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female – everyone could use a few tips from the experts, and if you witness potential acts of violence as a bystander this knowledge could help you prevent an assault from occurring.

Equip Yourself

There’s something to be said for preparing for the worst, and that’s exactly what personal defense items accomplish. Whether it’s a small canister of pepper spray or a safety whistle, it’s worth it for peace of mind to carry one or more non-lethal defense items with you when you’re out and about.

Whether you’re finishing your degree or shipping off to college for the first time, it’s important to make sure you’re properly prepared. With the simple tips above, you can feel confident in your ability to stay safe, protect yourself from whatever comes your way, and remember that GradGuard has your back!

 

Emma Bailey is a freelance writer and blogger based in Chicago, IL. A Midwest transplant from the state of California, she typically writes on the social justice issues that are closest to her heart. Her interests include kayaking, watching horror movies, and finding perfectly ripe avocados. You can find her on Twitter @emma_bailey90

Other Safety Transition

Packing for College – Some items Parents Shouldn’t Forget that don’t require any room!

August 8, 2017

Your car and student bags are likely overflowing, but here are a few vital things that college parents should remember that don’t require extra room.

Five additional items that you must not forget:

1) Create a personal file.While getting their belongings together, students should set up a file of key personal information, including a copy of their driver’s license, insurance cards, Social Security card, debit and credit cards and immunization records. Using a digital tool such as Evernote can be a smart idea as it will allow you to have all the information you need at your finger tips and can be easily shared.  A passport or a copy of one also is useful, both for travel and to confirm citizenship if you apply for a job.

2) Complete the FERPA form – before leaving your student at college be sure to discuss your expectations for how you can support their education and how you will be able to help them during a crisis.  Without your student providing permission, you will not have access to their university records.  Most colleges provide a form to complete during orientation or within the student account or you can also use the FERPA authorization form provided through College Parents of America.

3) Purchase at least some Tuition Insurance.  Starting at $29.95 for $2,500 of coverage per term tuition insurance is an affordable way to protect your investment in college.   It is vital to understand your college refund policy.   Most colleges don’t refund money after day 25 – even for illness, injury or disability – so you could be out thousands of dollars.   Tuition insurance may not be something you needed in high school or something you have even heard of, but most students would benefit by having at least a minimum of $5,000 of annual college refund insurance. 

4) Renters Insurance. “Don’t forget that colleges are not likely to replace stolen or damaged property of your student.  In addition, you may or may not have coverage for your student within your homeowner’s insurance policy which normally has limits of coverage including the full-time status of your student and up to 10% of your property coverage.  Expensive items like that new computer may not be fully covered; if you are worried about replacing it, then be sure to purchase renters insurance which costs typically less than fifty cents a day.  For protecting your stuff consider a college specific renters insurance plan such as those offered through GradGuard – which includes worldwide property coverage, replacement level coverage, and personal liability coverage.

5) Health Insurance.  Though you are not likely to forget it, we recommend that college families consider your alternatives when it comes to student health insurance.  See this useful and comprehensive article by The New York Times.   Your first choice is likely going to be your family policy.   If you are looking at buying your campus recommended plan, we suggest comparing the features and benefit levels.  If money is particularly tight and your student is in good health, then it is also possible to consider using a short-term medical plan while relying on the primary care services of the university health center.

Remember, that each of these tasks can be done before actually moving to campus, but purchasing tuition insurance must also be completed prior to the start of classes.   You can not purchase tuition insurance after the start of classes.