College students across the country are embarking on the academic year ahead. Insurance coverage is likely to be the last thing on their minds.
But insurance is an important consideration. Dorm rooms can be a hot spot for thieves. In fact, according to U.S. Department of Education data, burglary is the most common type of crime reported on college campuses.
The good news is that a homeowners insurance policy can help cover college students. Here’s a closer look.
There are two major areas of homeowners insurance that pertain to students living away at college, said Fabio Faschi, Policygenius team lead for property and casualty insurance.
Policies typically cover a student’s personal property and also liability issues, such as damages the student may be held accountable for by another party.
Personal property coverage
Personal property coverage is self-explanatory, but be aware of some key points.
“This will cover such things as their clothes, electronics, books and even furniture,” said Faschi.
However, personal property coverage for a college student will typically max out at about 10% of your policy limit. In other words, if your policy insures your personal property up to $400,000, any household member living away at school would have their belongings covered up to a $40,000 limit, said Faschi.
When it comes to the liability portion of homeowners coverage, there are two different coverage limits that commonly apply to household students away at college.
The first is personal liability, which would most notably apply in the event of a lawsuit against the student for any damages they are being held responsible for.
“This can be anything from the student damaging the personal property of another student to accidentally burning down their campus library,” said Faschi. “Naturally, as long as the act was not intentional or criminal, then the insurance would help cover the damages.”
The second coverage area is medical payments to others.
“This is often considered goodwill coverage to help pay the medical costs of an injured guest on the premises or someone that was hurt by the actions of the insured without them having to sue you directly,” said Faschi.
Is renters insurance a better option?
You may want to consider whether it’s a better idea to have your student obtain their own renters insurance policy when heading off to college. But not every insurance company is willing to insure college students.
“As long as your agent has confirmed that coverage from your home insurance will apply to students away at college then it's likely in your best interest to simply utilize that same coverage rather than getting a renters policy,” said Faschi. “If, however, your carrier's home coverage either doesn't extend liability or severely limits personal property coverage to students, then you may need a renters policy to be properly protected.”
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