Browsing Tag

college theft

Transition Uncategorized

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

Student Life Uncategorized

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance or Does a Homeowner’s Policy Provide the Right Coverage?

July 1, 2019

In 2019, the average college family spent an average of $976.78 per student on back to college shopping. You need a lot of things for college, but are those belongings safe in your residence hall or off-campus apartment? As you pack up your things for school, you may want to consider ways to protect your stuff. Insurance is one way to protect these items by offering financial protection in the case of a loss. However, it can be confusing to know what kind of insurance you need to protect your belongings (and liability!) and how much that can cost.

The first step is to determine whether your parents have homeowners insurance, then ask them about the terms of that insurance. Will it extend to cover you while at school? Is it enough coverage? If the answer is no to either of these questions, you may want to consider Renters Insurance. But how do you know what to get?

Luckily, I had the opportunity to sit down with GradGuard founder and insurance expert Bill Suneson to get the scoop, which is summarized for you below.

When a student moves into a residence hall, typically the terms of the housing agreement make it clear that the school is not responsible for stolen or damaged personal property. Also, the student becomes personally liable for any damage caused to the dorm room or residence hall. The same applies to most rental agreements if you move into an apartment off-campus. Without the proper insurance, you (and your family) can incur a significant financial loss if you cause unintended damage to your residence or suffer a loss to your personal property. For example, if you burn the wall making a late night snack, or someone steals your bike, without insurance the burden is on you to replace those items and pay for the damage.

GradGuard College Renters insurance is an easy and affordable way to protect your personal property against theft, water damage, fire, etc.  It is not uncommon for a laptop computer or bicycle to be stolen from a dorm (you can probably name a friend this has happened to) and most low-deductible renters insurance plans would provide a quick replacement.

Also, a renters insurance plan protects students if you are personally liable for causing damage to your residence – colleges or building owners would promptly bill you for your portion of the loss. It’s not something you would necessarily think about when you’re excited to move in and start the semester, but just remember about how easy it could be to inadvertently trigger the sprinkler system if you caused a small fire cooking in your kitchen.  That’s a lot of money and damage that you’d be responsible for. Without the proper coverage, you may find yourself with a hefty bill.

GradGuard is just one way to protect yourself. You may already have some coverage thanks to your parents. Yes, most homeowner’s insurance policies do extend coverage to students when they are away at college. However, your parents should review their policy closely before you leave for college as some policies may have certain limitations.  For instance, policies may limit coverage to students attending college full-time or living on-campus (even more restrictions if the student is living off-campus.)

But there are some things to consider about a homeowner’s insurance policy that you should discuss with your parents. Most homeowner’s policies have high deductibles and families are unlikely to file claims such as a $500 bike theft because the payment would not exceed their deductible.  Also, home insurance rates are increasing and filing small property or liability claims generally result in higher rates for your family over time.

With deductibles as low as $100 and most premiums about $.50 a day, GradGuard College Renters Insurance is both valuable and affordable for students even though some coverage may exist through their parents’ homeowner’s policy.  Spend a couple minutes reviewing this information with your parents to figure out what will work best for you and your family. You may find you feel comfortable with the cost of replacing your personal items and decide against coverage altogether, but you may find you want some protection. As always, speak with an agent to find the best policy for you. Happy packing!

This article was updated in July 2020

Transition Uncategorized

Why Should You Have Renters Insurance in College?

June 6, 2019

How much stuff are you bringing with you to college?

In today’s day and age, students are packing up their entire childhood room and bringing it with them when they go to college. With gadgets and appliances getting more expensive, the average student doesn’t have the means to replace their belongings for school right away if they get stolen or ruined. Imagine if your laptop gets stolen while you are at the library; are you able to just go out an buy a new one to replace it?

That’s where GradGuard™ College Renters Insurance comes in! It can be there to help students when the unexpected happens. With useful features such as worldwide personal property coverage and low deductibles, GradGuard College Renters Insurance can help students get back to what matters: their education.

Watch the video below to learn about why GradGuard is a must for college students:

Transition Uncategorized

Why Renters Insurance is A Smart Decision for College Students

January 17, 2019

College students are smart to consider protecting themselves with renters insurance.  In fact, a majority of state insurance commissioners recommend college students consider renters insurance.

According to the 2018 Clery Act reports on campus crime, colleges and universities reported 22,469 burglaries. During the same year, campuses reported 2,070 fires within on-campus student housing.

“While property crimes like burglary and campus fires are an ongoing problem on many college campuses, the good news is that there is a renters insurance policy that is designed just for college students,” said John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, an authority on protecting the investment of college students and their families and a leading provider of renters insurance to schools nationwide.

With so much money at stake, Fees 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 accidental damages they may cause. As a result, college students and their families are smart to consider purchasing renters insurance before the start of school.

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 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 – The majority of schools 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 accidental damages you may cause – True renters insurance includes personal liability protection and can help pay for unintentional damages when a student cannot.

According to Bob Soza, President of College Parents of America, “not all renters insurance programs are the same. We recommend GradGuard’s college renters insurance plan because it includes an exclusive student endorsement that provides affordable coverage that features a low deductible, worldwide property coverage, and no credit check.”

Fees continued, “college students and their parents are often caught unprepared and these unexpected incidents can also disrupt a students’ education.  Fortunately, they do not also need to be unprotected, for about $.50 cents a day, students can secure protection against financial losses making renters insurance a must have consideration for college families.”

This article was updated in July 2020

Transition Uncategorized

5 Reasons to Have College Renters Insurance

November 8, 2018

Think of all your personal belongings in your dorm room or apartment, and then try to imagine how much it would cost you to replace them. Is the number in your head a little intimidating? Well, if you have renters insurance, you might not have to pay anything (besides your deductible) to get your belongings replaced in the event that something happens to them. In other words, renters insurance can be a real lifesaver. Here are five reasons why it can be important to have it in college:

1.  You might not be covered under your parents’ policy.
While full-time students living in dorms are often covered under their parents’ homeowner’s insurance policies, their coverage might not be as thorough as it would be if they had renters insurance. In addition, there can be strict limits on how much homeowner’s insurance can actually cover for their customers’ children. Not to mention if you’re living off campus, odds are that you’re not covered under your parents’ policy at all.

2.  Coverage for disasters.
Though you might be careful and take good care of your belongings, there are some things that are just out of your control. If there’s a fire or natural disaster, your items can get damaged or destroyed. However, if you have renters insurance, it can cover the cost of replacing those things in certain covered circumstances. Just some of the items that renters insurance can cover are furniture, clothes, electronics, appliances, school supplies, and even musical instruments.

3.  Protection from theft.
If someone wants to steal a laptop, they know they’ll be able to find plenty in student housing facilities or student-friendly apartment complexes. It’s no surprise that there’s a high risk of theft and vandalism in college. That’s a big reason why renters insurance can be perfect for college students. If something happens to your belongings, you can get them replaced.

4.  Personal liability coverage.
If you throw a party, and your living space gets damaged, you could potentially face some huge fees. The same goes if someone at that party gets hurt. Renters insurance policies often include liability coverage that will protect you against costs you can be faced with if your property gets damaged or if someone gets injured on your property, just double check with an agent to find a plan with adequate liability coverage.

5.  You can share the wealth.
If renters insurance is starting to sound good, you might be thinking that your roommates would be interested in it too. Conveniently, many renters insurance plans offer shared coverage for people living together. So if you have roommates or friends sharing an apartment with you, sometimes everyone listed on the lease can have protection and coverage together under one policy. Be sure to check with your renters insurance agent to see if this is an option for you!

Knowing how valuable renters insurance can be, you might be surprised to find that it can also be pretty affordable. In fact, based on a national average, premiums are typically just $160 a year. Compare that number with how much you could save if you need to file a claim on your belongings. To prepare, you can help the process of filing claims go smoothly by always keeping track of your valuables, and by saving receipts.

For a quick overview of the value of renters insurance for college students, check out this video from GradGuard.

And for additional information about renters and other kinds of insurance, visit our website!

Safety Uncategorized

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!

Student Life Uncategorized

5 Things You MUST Do Before Winter Break

December 4, 2016
5 Things You Must Do Before WInter Break

Finals, the holidays, packing for break – you’ve got a lot on your mind and a lot to do (and probably not that much sleep!), no doubt. However, before you head home for winter break from college, there are some things you absolutely MUST do to make sure you leave this semester on good note and will start the next one safely, healthily and happily!

Make Sure Your Work is Done

Before you leave, make sure you’ve gotten everything in before the grading period. Check your syllabi and fill out your course evaluations, and if you can try to sell back your books now. You may want to write a thank you note to the professors whose classes you enjoyed most, it could go a long way to keeping the lines of communication open in case you’ll want to ask them for a recommendation in the future. Wrapping up this semester is the first step in starting next semester strong.  Make sure all loose ends are tied up!

  • Check your syllabi for any outstanding items
  • Email or send a thank you note to your professors
  • Sell back your books to the bookstore or find a friend who will need your copy
  • Make sure to return any library books before the break to avoid fees

Pack Up Your Valuables

Leaving school for the winter break means your things will sit in your room for a couple weeks, without you there to keep an eye on them. Whether it’s theft or damage to the building from a snowstorm, your valuables could be vulnerable while you’re away. Take your valuables with while you’re away for so long to ensure that they’ll be taken care of – like your laptop, jewelry and favorite clothes.

  • Make sure you have a way to safely transport your laptop
  • Locate and pack any jewelry or valuables like cash

Check the Dates

Before you leave school, make sure you know when the residence halls and campus close and open back up again. If these dates conflict with your travel plans, make the necessary arrangements to either stay on campus or find somewhere else to go if it is closed. Also be sure to check your travel logistics to make sure everything still works and so you’ll be sure to be on time!

  • Check your school’s break dates and if the residence halls will close during that time
  • Confirm your travel itineraries
  • Make necessary adjustments or arrangements if above dates affect your travel plans

Clean Your Mini Fridge

This is way more important than you may realize – seriously! No one wants to come back to a moldy, smelly, little fridge stinking up your whole room, so make sure to clean it out and properly defrost it before you head home for a couple weeks.

  • Throw out any perishable food in your room
  • Clean the interior of your mini fridge
  • Defrost your fridge, find a guide here

Secure Your Room/Apartment

You’ll be away for several weeks, so make sure your room is secure and clean! You’ll want to return to an orderly space with everything just as you left it. Try to give yourself time after studying to clean up your space and make sure you secure the windows, unplug your electronics and make sure everything is good to go for your weeks away. If you have Renters Insurance, ensure your inventory is up-to-date, in case anything happens to your stuff while you are away.

  • Ensure all windows are closed tight and locked, for both weather and theft purposes
  • Hide any valuables and make sure your curtains are closed
  • Empty all trash
  • Turn down the heat, but not too low so your pipes don’t freeze!
  • Unplug any unnecessary electronics
  • Check to make sure your inventory is up-to-date
  • Lock all doors after leaving

With these tips, you’ll be ready for a relaxing college winter break! Enjoy!

Health Uncategorized

5 Common Risks to Avoid on Campus

August 15, 2016

Coffee House Clarice 2

College can be a time for fun and a time to learn how to live on your own. Without your mom and dad there to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, it leaves a lot of room for common mistakes and risks. Here are five of the biggest and most common ones, and how to avoid them.

1.)    Stress– This is unfortunately one of the hardest risks to avoid in college. With classes, clubs, tests, and socializing there will be plenty of times where it will seem like there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. However, with discipline, this risk can be avoided. The most important factor is that you do assignments when they are assigned and before they are due. In most classes, your homework will be reading, which to many can seem like no homework. But reading is often imperative to understanding and passing the course and you don’t want to wait until the night before the midterm to read an entire month’s worth of homework. So do it when it is assigned, even if the teacher isn’t collecting it. Another way to avoid stress is to manage your time wisely and schedule it out. Believe it or not, students have a lot of free time if they work out when they will do everything and don’t waste time watching tv or napping. The moral of the story: make sure to use your time to the most and get things done as soon as possible to avoid a huge headache and a lot of stress.

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Student Life Uncategorized

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.

Safety Uncategorized

What To Do If Your Laptop is Stolen at College

May 22, 2015
What to Do If Your Laptop is Stolen

So you were at the library and got up for a minute… or 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… or 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.

This is what you need to do if your laptop is stolen while at college!

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 in to 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 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 if your policy provides “replacement cost.” This will help you determine how you’ll be able to replace the laptop – it’s current depreciated value or the what it would cost to replace said laptop. Replacement cost will provide you with the funds to purchase a new one. 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 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. Hopefully your assignments were saved some place where you can access them still! Best of luck!

Take the right steps if your laptop gets stolen while at college!