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college insurance

Student Life

Why You Need College Renters Insurance

July 13, 2020

As you start to prepare for the new semester, there is always something new around the corner that you forgot to think about when heading off to college. Did you pack enough clothes? Do you have your laptop and smartphone? Shower caddy? Dorm bedding?

These might make the top of your move-in list, but don’t forget to add renters insurance! GradGuard makes getting renters insurance easy and eliminates the hassle of understanding your policy or wondering if something is covered.

Our policy perks include:

  • Worldwide personal property coverage
  • Protection against the theft of electronics
  • Replacement cost value
  • Low deductibles
  • No credit score or cosigner required when purchasing

Not only do we protect your stuff, but we protect the residence you are living at with our liability coverage. Ever set off a sprinkler system in your residence hall? We sure hope not! But if in the event it happens, we are there to protect you.

Watch the video below to see why renters insurance is important for college students:

You can learn more about the protection we offer by visiting our website. Remember, we sell policies for both on-campus and off-campus housing; so even if you aren’t living in the dorms this year, be sure you take us with you.

Adulting Other

The College-Bound Guide to Insurance: Be Sure You’re Protected as You Head Off to School

June 26, 2020

College students need a lot of supplies for college life. From bedding to electronics to school supplies, the costs can add up. In 2017, families spent as much as a mortgage payment or more on school supplies and that’s not counting tuition!

Is your college investment protected? Certain insurance products can help your family protect what you’ve invested in your student’s college experience, from personal property, to the cost of a trip to the campus health center during flu season.

In The Residence Halls

You’re probably bringing a laptop, smartphone, tablet, TV, speakers, dorm decor, clothes, and school supplies with you to college. Maybe you’ll even bring a bike or some furniture. The cost of these belongings can add up – what would you do if they all needed to be replaced due to a fire on campus? Or if your big-ticket items, like your laptop or bike were stolen – could you afford to replace them? Insurance can help you and your family protect your belongings if you face a loss or damage because of a covered reason, like theft, fire or water damage.

There are two primary types of insurance that can help you and your family protect your belongings while you’re at school: homeowners and renters insurance. If your parents have a homeowners insurance policy, you may already be covered, but be sure to check the specifics of the policy. Many homeowners policies will only cover full-time students living on campus, and often at a percentage (usually 10%) of the policy limits. Be sure to take into consideration the deductible, as well as a claim’s effect on the premium. Renters insurance can be a good alternative in these areas, as renters plans typically feature low deductibles and often low monthly rates.

To make the most of your insurance protection, you should create a home inventory of everything you’ve brought with you to school and how much it cost. Taking photos and carefully taking a record of everything you have will make it much easier to determine what has faced a loss if you need to make a claim. The total cost could surprise you, and knowing how much all of your stuff is worth can help you determine whether 10% of your homeowners limits or the limits you chose on your renters insurance policy are adequate protection.

The New York Insurance Association recommends that students ensure they have adequate insurance protection as well as taking a common-sense approach to protecting their valuables. They offer these tips to help students be mindful of their belongings:

  • Leave valuables at home if possible – While it may be necessary to take a computer or sports equipment to campus, other expensive items, such as valuable jewelry, luxury watches or costly electronics, should be left behind.
  • Mark your electronics – Label electronic items such as computers, televisions and portable devices like iPods with the student’s name or other identifying information that can help police track the stolen articles.
  • Always lock your room door and keep your keys with you at all times, even if you leave briefly. And not just at night—most residence hall thefts occur during the day. Insist your roommates do the same.
  • Do not leave belongings unattended on campus. Whether you are in class, the library, the dining hall or other public areas, keep book bags, purses and laptops with you at all times. These are the primary areas where property theft occurs.

Health

Newfound independence, the stress of classes, dining hall food, all-nighters, community living, partying – the college lifestyle, if unchecked, can take its toll on students’ health. Many schools require that students have health insurance, and for good reason: it can help protect students and their families from the high costs of medical treatments in the case of an injury or illness, like a sports injury during an intramural game or a case of mono.

Many schools offer students a health insurance plan, but often the most inexpensive option is for students to remain on their parent’s plan. Under health care law, young adults are allowed to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. Check with your parents to see if their plan may be an option or speak with a licensed insurance agent to see what’s available to you.

In addition to health insurance, there are many ways students can take control of their well-being throughout the semester by setting time aside to eat well, exercise and manage stress:

  • Eat right. There’s a lot of temptation in the dining halls, but adding a side salad and ensuring that you get protein and vegetables and fruits each day will go a long way to giving your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. It is important to maintain a varied diet and stay away from eating the same bowl of cereal for dinner everyday.
  • Stay hydrated. Swap sugary drinks for water. Getting 8 glasses a day can help fend off fatigue and keep you feeling good. It can be helpful to carry a water bottle such as a Hydro Flask with you to avoid becoming dehydrated during class.
  • Get sleep. It can be difficult to get enough sleep when there are so many deadlines, due dates, and social events, but you should do your best to get in bed at a reasonable hour and if not, take a nap during the day. Sleep helps your immune system and can help you retain information, so you’re not studying in vain!
  • Manage your stress. College comes with an inevitable amount of stress, but setting aside time to deal with it will make it much easier. Exercise, taking time to relax, reading a book for fun or setting aside an hour to catch up on your favorite show each week will help you unwind and appreciate the many opportunities college presents. If the stress of college life is too much, there are many resources on campus that you can turn too. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
  • Get moving. Exercise is an important part of a balanced lifestyle, and not only will it help you stay healthy, but it will also make you feel good too. Exercise for at least 30 minutes several times a week and try to walk as much as possible. Getting your blood pumping will relieve stress and help you study smarter. Your school may even offer fun classes such as spin or yoga which you can attend with your friends.

Tuition

Perhaps the largest expense of all, more than airfare, a laptop, gas or a flu shot, is tuition for many families. Luckily, this too can be protected by insurance. Tuition insurance can help refund lost tuition if a student should be forced to completely withdraw from school due to a covered reason. Many schools do not refund most tuition after the first couple weeks of the semester, which could leave many college families vulnerable. Be sure to check your school’s refund policy, which you should be able to find on their website, and consider whether you need more protection than it affords.

Travel

Whether it’s traveling to campus from home, traveling to study abroad, or bringing a car to campus, insurance can help protect students from costs that may arise if things don’t go according to plan, like a health issue abroad, a canceled flight or fender bender while at school. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider insurance protection.

Car insurance is required if you bring a car to school. Look for a plan that gives you adequate coverage, though you may have to spend more to get more coverage, it will minimize your exposure. Speak with an agent about what coverages are right for your vehicle. Don’t forget to ask if you qualify for a “good student” discount – you could save 5-15%!

Depending on how far away from home your school is or where you travel to during the school year, travel insurance could be beneficial to you and your family. Travel insurance has different levels of features that you can customize for your trip. Most people think of travel insurance as just covering airline ticket reimbursements in case something goes wrong, but it can also protect you financially if you lose your luggage or need to be airlifted to better healthcare, depending on the plan you select.

Insurance can help college students and their families protect their investment in education. Some of these protections may be beneficial to your family, while some may not. It depends on your situation and risk tolerance. If you have questions regarding your insurance coverage for college, speak with an insurance agent for more information. Have a wonderful and safe semester!

Adulting Other

June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day

June 25, 2020
National Insurance Awareness Day is June 28

Insurance is often one of those things we forget about until we need it. 

Here’s something that can help you keep insurance top of mind: June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day.

The annual day gives you the opportunity to check your insurance policies and make sure everything is up-to-date. While that probably doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to do, your future self will thank you if and when you’re ever in a tough situation and find yourself relying on that insurance coverage. 

Insurance policies exist to protect you from the unexpected, whether it’s a natural disaster, theft, damage, illness, injury or death. 

Some of the common types of insurance:

It’s one thing to know if you have insurance, and it’s another to know what the policy covers, and how exactly you go about filing a claim. Make sure you know what questions to ask!

What does this policy cover?

This is SUPER important to ask and have an understanding of. For example, if you want to have renters insurance in case someone breaks in and ransacks your apartment, just be sure that theft and burglary is a covered peril under the policy you are wanting.

How long does this policy last?

This depends on the company that you are purchasing through and what you opted to pay for the policy. If you paid annually, then the policy likely lasts for a full 12 months from the date that you chose your coverage to begin. If you are only needing the insurance for a certain amount of time, be sure to ask your agent about their cancelation process and what is required to terminate the coverage.

How much is the policy?

See if your insurance agency is charging you monthly, annually, semi-annually, or another billing option. Talk through it with them to see if there is a benefit to one billing option as opposed to another.

How do I know what my coverage limits should be?

For renters insurance, most policies come with both personal property coverage and personal liability coverage. Personal property coverage is the limit that protects your personal items that are inside of your residence, and personal liability coverage is what protects the actual structure itself. Be sure to talk to your university or rental property to see if they require any specific limits while you are living there.

How do I file a claim and how does that process work?

This is a general question with an important answer. Most people have no idea how to make an insurance claim if needed and it should be one of the top questions to ask your renters insurance agent. The claims process can be different for each agency, so just to be sure you clarify it if needed

Takeaways: 

National Insurance Awareness Day only comes once a year. So on June 28, use the day as a reminder to get a little more educated on insurance and your individual policies that you have or are interested in buying. This is especially important in college when you’re living on your own and away from home. And remember, when it comes to purchasing any sort of insurance policy, it’s very important to ask questions! At GradGuard, we’re here to help you when you have questions about your renters or tuition policies.

“Adulting” isn’t easy, and we’re here to help in any way that we can!

Other Transition

84% of State Insurance Commissioners Recommend College Students Consider Renters Insurance

July 31, 2019

Over the last decade that GradGuard has worked to protect college students and their families, we’ve tracked the guidance that state insurance commissioners provide regarding the value of renters insurance.

Starting in 2013, 28 insurance commissioners suggested college students consider renters insurance. In 2019, 42 insurance commissioners made such a recommendation. 

The 150% growth in recommendations is likely a result of the real financial losses students experience while living both on and off-campus. In fact, an analysis of campus safety and crime data provided by more than 6,000 schools Clery Act reports, reveals an average of more than 37,000 campus crime and safety incidents. Furthermore, on average 1,726 fires are reported in on-campus student housing.

States Recommended Renters Insurance
Alabama – AL Yes
Alaska – AK Yes
Arizona – AZ Yes
Arkansas – AR Yes
California – CA Yes
Colorado – CO Yes
Connecticut – CT Yes
Delaware – DE Yes
Florida – FL No
Georgia – GA Yes
Hawaii – HI No
Idaho – ID Yes
Illinois – IL Yes
Indiana – IN Yes
Iowa – IA Yes
Kansas – KS Yes
Kentucky – KY No
Louisiana – LA Yes
Maine – ME Yes
Maryland – MD Yes
Massachusetts – MA Yes
Michigan – MI Yes
Minnesota – MN Yes
Mississippi – MS Yes
Missouri – MO Yes
Montana – MT Yes
Nebraska – NE Yes
Nevada – NV No
New Hampshire – NH Yes
New Jersey – NJ Yes
New Mexico – NM Yes
New York – NY Yes
North Carolina – NC Yes
North Dakota – ND Yes
Ohio – OH Yes
Oklahoma – OK Yes
Oregon – OR Yes
Pennsylvania – PA Yes
Rhode Island – RI Yes
South Carolina – SC Yes
South Dakota – SD Yes
Tennessee – TN Yes
Texas – TX No
Utah – UT Yes
Vermont – VT No
Virginia – VA No
Washington – WA Yes
West Virginia – WV No
Wisconsin – WI Yes
Wyoming – WY Yes

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 computer – Renters insurance may be able to 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 it would cost for you to replace your property. 

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.

Students can protect their belongings against losses for about 50 cents a day.

“That makes renters insurance a must-have consideration for college families,” John Fees, the co-founder of GradGuard said. “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.”

This article was updated in July 2020

Career Other

Essential Questions Regarding Tuition Refunds & Tuition Insurance

June 27, 2019

Back to school season brings with it the usual media discussion about the cost of college, and what is necessary and what might not be needed for families to be best prepared for the fall semester.

Many insurance products aren’t essential… until you need them. Then, they can be a lifeline that helps protect your family from potentially devastating losses; always ask yourself about the risk you are taking for your investment in higher education. Can you afford to pay for an extra semester of college if something happens?

We suggest that all college students and families ask three questions prior to the start of college:

  1. What is the financial consequence if your student is unable to complete the semester due to a serious illness, injury or death of a parent?
  2. Does your school provide 100% refunds for medical withdrawals?
  3. Can you afford to protect your investment with tuition insurance?

When selecting a school, it is imperative that you know that schools tuition refund policy.

Today, many parents don’t know the answer to any of the questions above. Most have no idea how the school they attend would handle a refund if their student was unable to complete the semester due to an unexpected illness or injury.

Determining the Need for Tuition Insurance:  Medical withdrawals are an infrequent, but costly event for students and their families. A 2015 survey of college officials estimated that 41% of campuses report having more than 1% of students complete a medical withdrawal a year and 59% indicating less than 1%. Data from the 2019 Association of College Health Administrators (ACHA) national student health reports also highlights the frequency of events that students indicate may disrupt their education:

Protect Your Student & Your Investment:   Unless schools provide 100% refunds for medical withdrawals, GradGuard suggests that parents’ purchase at least some tuition refund insurance coverage for their student.  Check GradGuard.com for the coverage options available at your school. Note that certain school programs offer different pricing and coverage options and there are limitations to tuition refund insurance coverage.

Remember that coverage must be purchased prior to the start of school and may are not available to residents of all states. Remember to see your personal policy for complete details after you purchase!

This article was updated in July 2020

Other Student Life

Picking the Right Renters Insurance Deductible

February 20, 2019

College offers many young adults the first opportunity to live in their own apartment or share one with friends. But living independently can leave you financially exposed to unexpected disasters, like fires or burglary. Renters insurance—sometimes required by apartment complexes—offers a form of relatively inexpensive financial protection from these risks. And you’ll want to pick the right deductible to balance both coverage and costs.

What Is a Renters Insurance Deductible?

When you make a renters insurance claim, the cost of any covered event is split into two parts: the amount you pay and the amount your insurance pays. Your share of the cost is the deductible, with your insurance company paying the balance.

If your policy has a $1,000 deductible and you file a claim for $1,500 of stolen items, you’ll be expected to cover $1,000 of that claim. Your insurance company will pay $500 to cover the expenses of replacing your lost items.

How Deductibles Affect the Cost of Insurance

Renters insurance deductibles can have a notable impact on the price of your renters insurance. When you purchase a policy with a high deductible, you’ll pay a lower rate for your insurance. The reverse is also true: A lower deductible results in a higher rate.

If you file a claim for the theft of $1,500 in personal belongings and have a $500 deductible instead of $1,000, your insurance company will pay you $1,000 to cover the damage. However, your renters insurance policy will cost more, likely a few extra dollars per month.

How to Pick a Deductible

How do you decide between higher or lower deductibles? There are a few things to consider.

A higher deductible will get you a lower premium. However, you’re also increasing the costs of replacing your property should a loss event occur. It is a cost-saving measure in the short term, but in the event you make a claim, you’ll pay more money than you would with a lower deductible.

College students who can afford to pay more money out of pocket and have expensive items to cover may consider a lower deductible. The premiums will be higher, but if you need to file a claim, the insurer covers a larger share of your costs.

Unique Risks for College Students

College students should also consider the risks posed by their location and roommates. If your apartment or rental is located in a high-crime area, you’re more likely to experience a theft. Roommates also represent a risk, as they may be the cause—directly or indirectly—of thefts, fires or other potential losses covered by your renters insurance. The higher your risk, the more appropriate it is to select a low deductible.

College students own thousands of dollars in property, and financial protection for all these items is important. The average cost of textbooks and class-related supplies can be over $2,000, according to CollegeBoard. And even if you have digital versions of your class materials, your laptop and other electronic equipment are high-value items that are at risk for theft or destruction. Picking the right deductible will help you balance affordability with financial protection.  GradGuard offers low deductibles to benefit students the most. Get a quote at any time online on our website!

Adulting Other

Three Assumptions That Can Cost College Families

August 9, 2018

As nearly 3 million new college students and their families prepare to start college this year, now is an excellent time for parents and students to examine important financial issues that can impact the entire family. The cost of college is frequently among the largest investments a family and student make.

As a result, it is important to prepare for and reduce the potential and unintended costs surrounding college life.  A key place to start is to evaluate your assumptions about college life and explore alternatives for how you can protect your investment in a college education.

1. My child’s health insurance is covered by his school

Some schools offer health insurance, others do not. First, you should check to see if your student is covered by your family health insurance plan. Be sure to verify what the college’s coverage requirements are and be sure to check the bursar’s statement bill to see if you have been billed for health insurance.

If you have been billed for student health insurance by your college, but sure to let them know if you have coverage so you can “waive” the coverage. 

If you do not waive the coverage, your student will be billed for health insurance.

2. Campus housing will pay for my student’s damaged or stolen property

There are an average of 24,254 annual burglaries reported on college campuses and an average of 2,129 annual fires reported in on-campus student housing.   Parents are smart to review their home insurance policies closely for certain limitations. Most policies provide some coverage for students away at college (often up to 10% of the policy limits) but may limit that coverage to full time or on-campus students only. Additionally, filing small claims against a home policy may result in higher premiums or be subjected to high deductibles.

If you can’t afford to replace your student’s stolen or damaged property (like a backpack), then purchasing renters insurance for about fifty cents a day is a smart idea. 

GradGuard’s renter’s insurance is the only policy that includes an exclusive student endorsement that provides coverage designed for college life.

3. If my child gets sick or injured, the college will refund tuition and fees

Most colleges do not provide a complete refund to students who are forced to withdraw mid-term that is a result of a medical injury or illness. In fact, only 16% of schools surveyed in 2017 reported that they provide a refund for tuition.  All virtually all schools will not provide a refund for academic fees or room and board.  hough some schools may provide a partial refund for tuition up through the fifth week of school, nearly all schools do not refund the costs beyond tuition such as books and academic fees. As a result, tuition insurance is a smart alternative to protect your college investment from a potential loss.

If you can’t afford the cost of an extra semester, then tuition insurance is a smart idea.  Just remember that tuition insurance must be purchased prior to the first day of classes.

Remember that the best way to manage risks facing your student and the investment you are making in college is to be aware of where your student may be vulnerable.  Asking the right questions and considering how to protect yourself from an unexpected financial loss can help your student stay focused on their goal of college graduation.

Other Transition

Essential Questions Regarding Tuition Refunds & Tuition Insurance

August 14, 2016

Back to school season brings with it the usual media discussion about the cost of college, and what is necessary and what might not be needed for families to be best prepared for the fall semester.

Many insurance products aren’t essential… until you need them. Then, they can be a lifeline that helps protect your family from potentially devastating losses; always ask yourself about the risk you are taking for your investment in higher education. Can you afford to pay for an extra semester of college if something happens?

We suggest that all college students and families ask three questions prior to the start of college:

  1. What is the financial consequence if your student is unable to complete the semester due to a serious illness, injury or death of a parent?
  2. Does your school provide 100% refunds for medical withdrawals?
  3. Can you afford not to protect your investment with tuition insurance?

When selecting a school, it is imperative that you know that schools tuition refund policy.

A 2016 survey of 510 college parents found that many parents don’t know the answer. More than 2/3 of parents surveyed have no idea how the school they attend would handle a refund if their student was unable to complete the semester due to an unexpected illness or injury.

Determining the Need for Tuition Insurance:  Medical withdrawals are an infrequent, but costly event for students and their families. A 2015 survey of college officials estimated that 41% of campuses report having more than 1% of students complete a medical withdrawal a year and 59% indicating less than 1%. Data from the 2015 Association of College Health Administrators (ACHA) national student health reports also highlights the frequency of events that students indicate may disrupt their education:

Protect Your Student & Your Investment:   Unless schools provide 100% refunds for medical withdrawals, GradGuard suggests that parents’ purchase at least some tuition refund insurance coverage for their student.  Starting at $33.75 for $2,500 of coverage the cost of even a small amount of coverage provides some comfort in case your student is forced to withdraw from school.

Check GradGuard.com for the coverage options available at your school.  Note that certain school programs offer different pricing and coverage options and there are limitations to tuition refund insurance coverage.   Remember that coverage must be purchased prior to the start of school and may are not available to residents of all states. Remember to see your personal policy for complete details after your purchase!