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dorm insurance

Student Life

8 DIY Dorm Room Storage Tips for College Students

March 23, 2021

Dorm rooms are notorious for being small, crowded, and in most cases, outdated. To make matters worse, you either end up sharing a dorm room with a complete stranger or living in close quarters with no break from a friend. Dorm life can be stressful! Add clutter into the mix and it’s a recipe for frustration, anxiety, and an overstimulating environment. Most dorm rooms are equipped with a bed, desk, and dresser for each inhabitant, but have minimal open floor space no matter how you lay the room out.

The good news is that there are ways to make your dorm room a more comfortable, livable space by increasing storage and reducing clutter. Here are the top DIYs to keep things neat and tidy in your dorm.

1. Add Shelving: In a dorm room, shelves are your best friend! While many dorms have restrictions on what can and cannot be installed on the walls, there are shelving options you can purchase or DIY that are made to sit on your dorm desk. They are raised enough to not infringe on your workspace while still offering convenient access to things you may need, like books and chargers. Plus, if you have a cat, they’ll love this idea too. Cats always need a space up high to rest and observe.

2. Make Use of Underbed Space: The beds in dorm rooms are usually relatively small and lightweight, making them good candidates for being set onto risers. The higher your bed, the more storage space you open for yourself underneath. The options for shelves, baskets, and tables that can comfortably sit underneath a dorm bed on risers are virtually unlimited.

3. Don’t Waste Door Space: The back of your dorm room door and closet door are perfect spots to add more storage for bulky items, like shoes, and small items, like jewelry and makeup. Over-door storage bags are available with all kinds of different shapes and sizes of cubbies and pouches. There are even shower curtains with storage pockets that you could DIY into back of door storage.

4. Baskets: You can find baskets in all sizes and materials, with some being cute and made to be seen, while others are better kept put away. You can even purchase plain baskets or “ugly” baskets and DIY them into something that suits your aesthetic. Regardless of the kind of basket you choose, you can use baskets for just about anything. Dirty laundry, food, school supplies, and hygiene supplies can all be kept in baskets, making for easy access without adding clutter. 

5. Get a Rolling Cart: Rolling carts make great dorm room storage additions because you can use them to keep just about anything out of the way and off the floor, but you can easily scoot them out of the way to access other areas anytime you need to. Hardware stores carry wheels you can attach to furniture items, so you can even DIY your own rolling carts with baskets or shelves.

6. Use Magnets: Magnets are an inexpensive, accessible storage solution. You can attach magnets to just about anything and then store the magnetized items on metallic surfaces. You can use this trick for spices, hygiene supplies, towel hooks, and most lightweight items. If you have a large enough metallic surface, you can even attach magnets to a basket and make use of the storage potential of the exterior of a dorm refrigerator.

7. Pegboards: While pegboards may not be the most attractive items, they are an excellent space-saving solution and can be more chic than you might think. Pegboard hooks can be rearranged to allow space for even oddly shaped or sized items. A pegboard can be rearranged at will to meet your current storage needs, whether you changed to new products or the seasons changed. Pegboards are often lightweight enough to be mounted with sticky strips or magnets, so they can be used for storage in open wall space.

8. Eliminate Excess: You can open up dorm space by doing something as simple as getting rid of items you don’t use or need. Have you moved from your summer wardrobe to your winter wardrobe? See if you can store your warm weather clothes with a family member or friend. Maybe it’s a new semester and you don’t need all your textbooks anymore. Look into textbook buyback programs, selling your textbooks online, or offer them to a friend or underclassman who is entering the course you just completed. Anything you can do to clean up items that do nothing but take up space will help you make your dorm more comfortable.

Conclusion

DIY projects are a great way to make your dorm room your own creation and to unwind after long hours of schoolwork. DIY dorm room storage won’t just add to your aesthetic, either. Increasing storage in your dorm room will improve your mood, decrease your frustration and anxiety, and help you have more pleasant interactions with people, especially your roommate. 

Dorm living and college are both stressful enough on their own. A dirty, cluttered, chaotic environment will only increase your stress levels. Imagine how much more relaxed you’ll feel by having an open workspace for studying or enough open floor space to practice yoga or meditation. And of course, don’t forget to protect all of your stuff from the unexpected with renters insurance!

Student Life

The Best Streaming Device Options for College Students

January 8, 2021

Studying can be grueling. One sure-fire way to escape your frazzled brain is a few good hours of binge-watching your favorite series.

Many students make do using their laptop, tablet or even just their phone for watching TV. But, without breaking the bank, it’s possible to make this all-important down-time a little more comfortable.

To upgrade your setup in a worthwhile way, there are a few things to consider.

We’ve compiled a list of recommended streaming devices based on price, quality and usability features. 

Apple 4K

With a starting price of $179, the new Apple TV 4K might be a little unnecessarily pricey for your budget, unless the added features make it worth your while. Yes, you can get Airplay or Apple TV+ on other hardware, but this latest updated software allows for linking up to your PlayStation and Xbox controllers for an all-in-one entertainment device.

Between the Apple Arcade game streaming service and the vast extent of cloud gaming options, if you’re an Apple fan, this may be the most solid system choice moving forward. Certainly, when it comes to the number of titles available through one device, it’s unparalleled. In addition, for cable-powered apps it features a zero sign-on setup.

If you’re not an Apple lover, check out the best value-for-money Android TV boxes

NVIDIA Shield TV 4K

Before we get much more budget-friendly, let’s talk about the NVIDIA Shield TV 4K HDR streaming media player. This device will set you back around $200 and yes, its fantastic quality – but for such a hefty price tag you have to ask yourself, do you really need it? Unless you are a hardcore gamer and/or have a 4K TV, probably not. That said, it is arguably the best in its class – fast, voice-control enabled and with superior Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos surround sound. If quality is your thing and you can afford it, you won’t regret it.

Amazon 4K Fire TV Stick

This little Amazon Fire TV stick was certainly designed with ease of use in mind. With a recommended retail price of $62.97, this remote bundle comes with a new wi-fi antenna for optimized 4K Ultra HD streaming. That, added to its Alexa voice command capabilities, makes for a superior streaming experience.

Roku Streaming Stick

If you’re not much of a gamer and you really need a bargain, then this super affordable streaming option might be your best bet. The Roku Streaming Stick currently comes in at just $29.40 and is easily portable to boot. With supported internet services that include Netflix, HBO, Prime Video, Hulu with Live TV, Apple TV, Showtime, The Roku Channel, and Google Play, it’s a great all-rounder as well as Alexa voice-control friendly.

Micca Speck G2 1080 Portable Digital Media Player

The Micca Speck G2 is an affordable choice that has a portable-friendly design and is powerful enough to stream whatever you’re into. Supporting a wide range of connections and files, this device comes with a car power adapter and although not voice control enabled, has a full function remote control. For anyone worried about cost, at just $37.99 this little streamer might be all you need. 

Matricom G-Box Q (v3) Android Media Mini PC

With an Android OS, the Matricom G-Box Q² is well worth a mention. With a sleek, portable design, this fast-processing device is the closest thing to a PC that’s all play. Unlike many streaming devices, this is a full android computer designed for your living room, that is free from any restrictions. You can install and customize all your favorite apps and it also supports Amazon Prime video access. Priced at $77, it’s a lot for your money.

Final thoughts

These are just some of the streaming device options available and it’s well worth doing your homework before making your purchase. Not only do the prices differ considerably, but both the quality and applications for use do too, and it will pay off if you research the options based on your personal preferences. Happy streaming!

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 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.