Browsing Tag

student insurance

Other Student Life

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

Other Transition

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:

Other Transition

Living Off-Campus: What You Need to Know

April 12, 2019

Now that you are ending that “dreadful” year of living on-campus, I’m sure you are considering living off-campus. You’re sick of the small space, the hovering of the RA’s, having to use your keycard every time you go in and out of your residence hall, the limited amount of guests you can have over at any given time–the list goes on and on. The only logical thing you’ve been thinking about for awhile is “when can I finally move off-campus?”

Don’t worry, we all have this thought and are excited for what that entails, however, life is very different off-campus opposed to on-campus and there are definitely a few things you need to consider when making that decision.

Can You Afford It?

This is huge honestly. Though you are stoked to be living on your own with the ability to have get togethers whenever you want to, there is a pretty large price tag to come along with that. Living off-campus you need to consider what your rent will be, how much your bills are going to cost, whether your apartment comes furnished or not, how much your groceries will be each week, etc. Sometimes, the cost of living off-campus exceeds the cost of living on-campus. Be sure you consider all of these expenses first before moving.

Are you living with roommates or by yourself?

It can be tempting to live by yourself, but that experience should be saved for when you are finished with school. Living with roommates will probably be your best bet, as long as you pick and choose them wisely. It takes a certain human(s) to be a good roommate to share the expenses properly, understand your weird habits, and do their fair share of the cleaning. There wasn’t a need to worry about those things when living in the dorms, but outside of them, it is a whole new world.

How are you going to get to campus?

Commuting is something that we sometimes forget when moving off-campus. How are you going to get to class when you move off-campus? Hopefully, you find a place with good rent at a good size that is close enough to campus for you to walk or bike, but if not, you definitely need to think about the cost it will be for you to get a parking pass for your car or what the bus schedule is and the route it takes to get to campus. These can really be deal breakers depending on the location of the apartment/house you’re looking at.

Changes in your renters insurance

If you move off-campus, there can be some changes in your renters insurance coverage. The premium price might change, your landlord could want you to get higher limits, you have more stuff to cover so you might want to get higher limits anyway, etc. Regardless of your living situation if it is on-campus or off-campus, renters insurance is a must, but definitely for off-campus housing. You don’t want to be stuck with having to replace a bunch of stuff on your own if you come home from class one day to see that you were robbed and all of your stuff missing.

GradGuard offers renters insurance to students living off-campus as well as on-campus! You still get all the benefits like low deductibles and worldwide personal property coverage, so don’t forget to update your address or purchase a new policy when moving.

We hope this has helped you with your decision making! Remember that college is the time of your life and living off-campus is a great experience, just be sure you are prepared for it.

Other Student Life

Don’t Expect Your Homeowners Insurance or University to Replace a Stolen Computer or Backpack

March 7, 2019

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.

insurance-chart

Students living independently for the first time may mistakenly believe that their parents’ homeowners insurance will protect them.   There may be coverage for students who live on campus but in many cases, homeowners insurance contains high deductibles or eligibility requirements that may exclude certain claims, ultimately making it insufficient or inadequate for college students and their families.

Rental housing expert, Ben Hoglund, CPM, believes that it is incumbent upon student housing providers to educate their residents on the importance of adequate renters insurance protection. “They aren’t going to learn that in class,” proclaimed Hoglund.

Hoglund referenced a survey he conducted titled “Campus Housing Risk Mitigation Study” in which he researched the types, causes and monetary impact of property damage occurring on college campuses across the United States. The study also addressed student and housing provider awareness of available insurance products to mitigate these risks.

The findings show that:

  • 33% of respondents indicated that it is not their policy to require reimbursement for resident-caused fire or property damage in excess of $5,000.
  • Campus policies on required property insurance vary, with many schools having no requirement with regard to renters insurance.
  • 24% of respondents were not aware that some renters insurance products do not include both personal property and liability protections.
  • A majority of respondents estimated that less than 60% of their student residents are aware that they can be held financially responsible for damage to university property for which they are at fault. Vandalism, bicycle theft, and electronics theft are the most reported personal property losses by campus residents.

Due to higher insurance deductibles and low collection rates on resident damages, private sector housing providers have become proactive in their efforts to mitigate property financial losses caused by resident carelessness and negligence.

GradGuard offers renters insurance that covers personal property loss in the case of fire, certain natural disasters, theft, and vandalism, and provides personal liability protection for bodily injuries to another person or for damages to another person’s property if an incident occurs within the rented residence or elsewhere.  Check your policy for complete details and limitations, but in all cases get protected.

Other Safety

What To Do If Your Laptop is Stolen at College

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

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

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

File a Police Report

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

Change Your Passwords

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

Consider Identity Theft Protection

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

Check on Coverage

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

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

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

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

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.