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Protecting Property

• Protecting Student Property •

We all have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for our own homes, personal property and liability to protect us against theft, fire and accidental injury. So what happens when your student is living away at college? On top of all the other expenses – tuition, room, board, dorm furnishings, new computer – do you need to buy more insurance to protect your student and your student’s belongings? That depends.

First, check your own homeowner’s insurance policy.  Many policies cover the personal property of students living away at school, particularly if they are living in on-campus housing. If you do have this coverage, it may be sufficient depending on the nature and amount of stuff you want protected. However, even if your own homeowner’s policy covers your student’s property at school, it likely will not cover accidental damage (i.e. coffee spilled on laptop), and your policy deductible may be high.

If you discover that your own policy either does not cover your student at school, or you are concerned that it is not enough coverage, there are many options for purchasing insurance for your student at affordable prices.

Renters Insurance:

Renters insurance is often used for off-campus housing and can offer protection for your student’s personal property as well as liability coverage, which comes in handy if someone falls and gets hurt at a party in your student’s apartment or if your student is sued for something that occurs in the apartment. A renters policy also provides benefits if a fire or other occurrence displaces your student and they need a place to stay.

You may want to first check with the landlord of your student’s off-campus housing to find out what insurance, if any, the property owner maintains. In most instances, the landlord carries insurance only for the structure and common areas and does not cover personal property inside the individual dwelling.

Other considerations when looking at renters insurance include whether the property is covered if it is accidentally damaged or if an item is stolen outside of the premises (i.e. laptop stolen from the library or backpack), or if a friend’s property in your student’s possession is protected. These are things you should ask an insurance agent when looking into renters insurance.

Personal Property Insurance:

There are a number of online companies that specialize in personal property insurance for college students, such as and These policies typically apply only to college students and generally do not include liability insurance. Some policies provide coverage for accidental damage and others do not, so read the fine print. And some policies cover the personal property as long as it is in the student’s possession, even if outside the premises. Premiums and deductibles are also generally low, making these policies very affordable.

Another option for insuring your student’s personal property at school is to add a rider to your existing homeowner’s policy for any items with a high replacement value (jewelry, computer). This can be a very inexpensive way to go if you are interested in insuring only a few precious items, particularly if you already carry a valuable items rider for your own property. Check with your insurance agent to see if this is something that can work for you.

Insuring our kid’s laptops, smartphones, textbooks, cameras, musical instruments, sports equipment, appliances and clothing is an important and real consideration. Take the time to discuss this with your student and insurance professional, and make an informed decision before something happens.

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Make sure your student creates and keeps a list of valuable possessions such as computers, electronics, jewelry, and musical instruments (with models and serial numbers, if possible) and takes photographs of these items, since proof of possession and a specific description of the property at issue will be required in the event a claim needs to be made.


Want to know more?

Renters Insurance for College Students (National Association of Insurance Commissioners)

What Parents Do Not Know Could Be Costly

Is renters insurance worth it for college students? by Angele Johnson (CNN Money)

Renters insurance helps protect college students by Cheryl Renee


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