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campus crime

Safety Student Life

Campus Crime and Student Safety

November 24, 2020

When you think about college, it’s typical to think of all the positive experiences and encounters you will have as a student. Whether it’s getting excited about your major, dorm life, making new friends, and gaining independence, most college students are ready for all the new adventures college has to offer. Unfortunately, campus crime becomes a part of the conversation too. Crimes such as burglary, sexual assault, hazing, and theft are some of the most common crimes that occur on or near college campuses. Here are ways to minimize the chances of being a victim of campus crime and what to do if it does happen to you. 

Protect valuable items.

  • If you have jewelry, designer clothes, shoes, or other items that may put a target on your for thieves, consider leaving those items at home.
  • Look into buying a renters insurance policy to protect the stuff you do decide to bring with you to campus, such as your backpack and laptop.
  • Be mindful of who you invite over. Make sure valuables are hidden or locked away safely.
  • Take pictures of your stuff in case you do become a victim of theft or malicious damage. That will help you file a claim for reimbursement through your renters insurance policy.

Travel in pairs or groups with people that you know. 

  • Use the buddy system when attending an event or a party. This is especially important if you’re a young woman who may be at greater risk.
  • Share your location with friends and let someone know when you plan to return.
  • Never leave someone alone in a vulnerable or uncomfortable situation. If necessary, leave as a group and make other plans instead.

Be smart on social media.

  • Don’t share when you’re away from your dorm or residence hall.
  • Avoid geotagging and sharing your location on photos, videos, and other posts that would reveal your current location.
  • Think twice about sharing any sensitive information online, including any revealing details about where you live or work.

Have a plan.

  • When going out, especially at night, let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
  • Walk with confidence, and avoid looking confused even if you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before.
  • Don’t use headphones or keep your head down looking at your phone when you’re walking.
  • Download safety apps to turn your phone into a pocket-sized security guard.

From making new friends to becoming independent, there are a lot of positive things to look forward to as a new college student. Overall, it should be fun. Bt with this comes the responsibility of staying as safe. Sometimes college students think campus is one big protective bubble. But that’s not always the case, unfortunately. Remember these tips for staying safe!

Student Life

Renters Insurance: 5 Things You Need to Know

November 20, 2020

You’re heading for college, with your parents’ car packed full of possessions. Next stop, your own independent place for the new semester. You might be renting a house, an apartment or accommodation on campus.

Whatever it is, there’s one big question – how do I protect my stuff?  Who’s responsible – me, the landlord, the college, my parents? That’s when the word insurance comes up. Suddenly you’re the one in charge and you need to find a way to protect your stuff.

You might be asking, why do I need insurance? College is supposed to be safe. Well, here are some figures we think you need to be aware of.

There are around 69,500 property crimes on campus every year, according to the FBI. Fires in student accommodation on campus numbered 1926 in 2015 according to Clery Act Data and 2017 survey of student housing officers reported that 98 percent of colleges don’t replace stolen or damaged student property.

So, it looks like insurance might be pretty important. It could save you a lot of money if something goes wrong. Next question, what type of insurance do I need and what should I look out for?

The good news is that there is a type of policy called renters’ insurance and there are products specially for students.  But, as you would expect, not all policies are the same and your needs might be different from other students. So, here’s a handy guide to the important things you need to consider before you take out a renters’ insurance policy.

Check what your landlord covers

Your landlord is only responsible for the building. It doesn’t matter if you’re renting from a private landlord or the college; they take out insurance to cover the cost of any repairs to the building and its fittings, inside or out. That could cover showers, radiators, windows and appliances like boilers and cookers. And if they provide furniture, they should cover that too.

But, a word of caution, if you cause any damage to the building, the fittings or the furniture, then the repair costs are probably heading your way.

Before you sign a lease agreement, ask your landlord to confirm in writing that they are responsible for those things listed above, and they have their own insurance in place to cover the cost of repairs.

When you look at possible policies, make sure it includes cover for any accidental damage you might cause to the landlord’s property.

Find out what your policy will cover

Will it cover all of your belongings, including your expensive laptop you bought just for college? First thing is to make a list of everything you’ve brought with you and update it with new stuff you plan to buy while you’re there, like new course books.

You’ll also need to put a realistic price on everything you own or are planning to buy. Think of the current price to replace it, even if it’s a battered old guitar or a rusting bike. There’s plenty of information online to check prices.

When you’ve got your list and your prices together, you’re probably amazed at your net worth, but that’s the figure you need to ask the insurer to cover. The insurer might also ask you to list any items above a certain value. Keep that list in a safe place – you never know when you might need it.

Does the policy also give you liability protection if somebody gets injured while they’re in your rented property? Your policy should cover their medical bills if you are somehow responsible for the accident.

You should also include cover for living expenses in case you have to move out if the landlord needs to do some major repairs to the property. Even a few days in a hotel could eat up a lot of dollars.

Check the exclusions in the policy

Most insurers set out factors or circumstances that mean they won’t be liable to pay out on the policy. The most likely ones are Acts of God, riots, natural disasters and extreme weather.

But, if you live in an area that is liable to flooding, for example, you may find that any cover you can get is limited. Insurers might also add exclusions if you live in a shared building where other people might be able to access your property.

Check the exclusions carefully to make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises when you need to make a claim.

Look carefully at policy prices

Renters insurance isn’t all that expensive. Many plans will cost just $15 to $30 per month. The figure you pay will depend on a number of factors – where you live and what you want to cover.

Your zip code is one of the big deciding factors. Insurers have masses of data on different parts of the country, the number of claims from each area and risk factors they apply. So don’t be surprised if your quote is much higher than the figures a friend pays at a college in a different part of the country.

The figure will also vary with the value of the rental property and the other types of cover included in the policy.

GradGuard makes it simple and straightforward for students to protect their stuff. With student-focused features, like a low-cost deductible and no credit check, we’re available nationwide exclusively for college students.

Other Safety

Students Remain Vulnerable to Losses from Campus Fires & Crime

August 20, 2019

Growth in campus fires and crimes confirm the value of renters insurance for college students.

More than 3 million college students are preparing to move into on-campus student housing and dorms.  While living on campus is proven to help promote greater college completion, students are often living independently for the first time and are vulnerable to unique risks. 

According to an analysis of nearly a decade of Clery Act reports on Campus Safety of more than 6,000 colleges and universities, annually there are more than 37,000 crime and safety incidents on college campuses. Further, there are 1,726 fires reported within on-campus student housing.

With so much money at stake, John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, “suggests that college students and families make-aplan in case your student’s property is damaged by a fire or water damage or if they are found responsible for unintentional damages they may cause.”

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

  1. If you can’t afford to replace your backpack, bicycle or computer. – Renters 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 renters insurance includes personal liability protection and can help pay for unintentional damages when a student cannot.

GradGuard’s renters insurance policy is designed for college students living either on or off-campus.    GradGuard’s renters insurance contains an exclusive student endorsement that provides affordable coverage ideal for college life and provides both personal property and liability protection:

  • Worldwide property coverage (for study abroad or mid-term trips);
  • Aa low-deductible starting at $100;
  • Replacement cost coverage. 

According to Fees, ‘For about 50-cents a day, students can protect their students’ belongings against losses, making renters insurance a must-have consideration for college families. In fact, 84% of state insurance commissioners recommend students obtain renters insurance. Whether you are living on or off-campus,  college students and their families are smart to consider purchasing renters insurance before the start of school.”

Other Safety

5 Safety Apps Every College Student Should Know About

May 14, 2019

The college years are some of the most exciting years in a person’s life. They’re all about exploring interests, experiencing life, and learning from mistakes. As fun as college can be, there’s also a great deal of responsibility that comes with being on your own for the first time. One of the most important aspects of this responsibility is ensuring your personal safety.

As a college student, you’re likely to face a unique set of dangers being on a campus setting. Whether it’s theft, assault, drugs/alcohol, or cybersecurity threats, they will all present themselves in different ways. It’s likely that you’ll encounter one or more of these issues, but it’s how you handle the situation that will help you emerge from it safely. Being both educated and prepared are some of the best ways to stay safe. Thankfully, there have been significant advancements made in technology that have been developed to help protect today’s college students.

Whether you’re going off to college for the first time or already have a few years under your belt, you’ll want to check out these five safety apps that every college student should be aware of.

Circle of 6

This app is the perfect way for college students to feel safe when walking home at night. Just simply download the app and set up your “circle” which is essentially your six emergency contacts who will be notified in an emergency. If you are in any form of danger, you can tap the icons inside the app twice and your circle will be sent a notification alerting them to the situation. Based on the icon you chose the app will send one of three texts to the circle:

  • GPS icon: “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.”
  • Phone icon: “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”
  • Chat icon: “I need to talk.”

Rave Guardian

This app has been backed by many universities who have instilled this app on their own campuses. By sending out a simple message or anonymous tip you can be connected to your local university police station who will assist you with your situation. The app also has a feature to virtually assist you on your walk home. Simply notify the app when you leave and where you’re going, if you don’t notify them of your arrival after a set time period, the app will send someone to check on you.

Norton Secure VPN

Cybersecurity threats have become a growing concern for college campuses over the last decade. Between viruses, breaches, and phishing scams there can be a lot to protect your devices against. Having a virtual private network on your mobile devices can help safeguard your devices by encrypting your connection, making you invisible to outside cybercriminals. This can be invaluable in keeping your personally identifiable information from ending up in the wrong hands, or worse, becoming a victim of identity theft.

KiteString

While this application is more of a text-based service, it’s been praised as highly as other competing apps. The simplicity of this program is that you can text them when you’re going to be walking alone or in an uncomfortable situation with the amount of time that you’d like them to check in on you after. They’ll send you a check in text and you just simply reply that all is alright. If you don’t respond after that time, KiteString will send your emergency contacts a notification.

Revolar

As is true in most emergency situations, you don’t always have the time to open an app and respond immediately. Revolar’s app is connected through a wearable device that you can attach to a backpack or purse. Its simplicity makes it easy to press in a panic to have help sent to your location immediately. You can customize your alerts, messages, and contacts easily through the mobile app keeping the device seamlessly connected.

Be sure you stay safe out there with these apps from GradGuard and be sure to follow us on social media for more!

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

Campus Crime & Fires: Don’t expect your college to replace stolen or damaged property

August 1, 2017

According to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, there were 69,502 reported property crimes on college campuses in 2015. In 2018, Clery Act reports on campus safety reported that there were 1,726 fires within on-campus student housing.  

As a result, college families are smart to make-a-plan in case a 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.  In fact, according to a survey by College Parents of America, a majority of state insurance commissioners recommend college students consider renters insurance.

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

  1. Can the student replace stolen or damaged personal property such as a backpack, bicycle or computer? – Renters insurance can replace stolen or damaged student property.  Renters insurance can cover those costs and help students get back to classes, without the added stress of a financial loss.
  2. Does the college or university 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 the college or university to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk.
  3. Can the student afford to pay for damages they cause and are found responsible for?  True renters insurance includes personal liability protection and can help pay for unintentional damages when a student cannot.

“Some families may have some protection through their homeowner’s policy, but they are often subject to high deductibles and making a claim on a policy can result in higher premium costs. As a result, for about $.50 cents a day, GradGuard’s college renters insurance plan is an affordable and practical way to protect your student from an unexpected financial loss that could disrupt a student’s semester,” said John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, an authority on protecting the investment of college students and their families and a leading provider of insurance programs to more than two hundred colleges and universities.

Other Student Life

5 Steps to Protect Yourself From Theft on Campus

August 9, 2016
Protecting your valuables at college

As much as we may like to think that it will never happen to us, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that theft is a real thing that happens to the best of people.

And especially in such a closed in environment as a college campus, it can be a breeding ground for thieves. In fact, a public safety officer of Arizona State University described the campus “a Mall for Thieves”. In fact, campus crime is a major issue.

The most comprehensive analysis by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting recorded approximately 73,545 university and campus crimes in 2014.

Living independently – on campus or off – brings new forms of risk to college life and it is important to recognize that you are responsible for your personal property as well as any damage you may create.

It is important to note that colleges report that they do not replace stolen student property.  As a result, many schools recommend their campus residents purchase renters insurance from GradGuard.Renters-97% of housing-do-not-replace-computers and bikes renters factoids

However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your peace of mind – and your stuff – stays intact.

1. Lock your doors. It seems like common sense, right? However, a lot of people don’t feel the need to lock their doors often. Certainly, your door doesn’t need to be locked 24/7, but if you or your roommates are sleeping, or are not going to be home, it really is essential. It takes a few extra seconds, but can mean the difference to coming home to your Macbook, television, and Xbox, or coming home to an empty room. The same goes for your car doors, too!
2. Don’t advertise. In college, it’s inevitable that you’re going to be bringing some expensive equipment with you. Having a laptop is essential, and there are often many other items that would cost a pretty penny to replace. So, while you can’t avoid having them with you, you can avoid what you broadcast about them. You don’t need to be shouting about how expensive your stereo or computer were, or how you just got that new state of the art gaming system. This is like a big red flag for thieves, and it’s not all that hard for them to figure out where you live once they’re interested. Be smart about what you say to whom.

3. Write down serial numbers and take an inventory. In the unfortunate event that you are a victim of theft, it’s a good idea to have a list of your electronics’ serial numbers tucked away in a safe place. This can often help the odds of getting a stolen item back, as the police have a definitive idea of which is yours. Also, if you take an inventory of your belongings, which you should store online or in the cloud, you’ll know exactly what you’ve lost, so it is easier to replace in an insurance claim or easily for the authorities to track down.

4. Lock it up. Often in college, there is a need to have important documents such as your birth certificate, social security card, or papers from banks and loan lenders handy. However, if these are stolen, it can spell disaster. The best bet is to purchase an inexpensive lock box, preferably a fire proof one, to keep all of your important documents and artifacts in. For added protection, you can even purchase a bike lock and chain it to your bed or a shelf in your closet to be certain it can’t be removed from your room by anyone but yourself. The same goes for bikes themselves, too. You have to chain your bike up or it will almost be guaranteed to disappear.

5. Get Protected with Renters insurance. Renter’s insurance for students is really a smart idea.  Not all plans are the same.  Many renters plans available through the internet have a high deductible.  Starting at $500 it doesn’t cover the smaller claims and provide much value to students.  In addition, other plans require good credit or a credit check to secure coverage.

GradGuard’s™ renters insurance program is the only one that includes Exclusive Student Endorsement in each policy that contains unique college benefits such as:

  • Campus residents can receive preferred pricing (10-15% lower than standard rates)
  • All residents of campus housing will be approved – no individual credit checks
  • Full replacement coverage & world-wide property coverage
  • Affordable deductibles starting at $100.

Be sure to protect yourself both with both renters insurance and with good habits.