It’s a pretty big deal – leaving the comfort of your forever home for your new college abode. Whether it’s the first time you’ve moved or the tenth, packing up your entire life is quite a job. Your clothes, gaming consoles, furniture, laptop, books, the list goes on.
The list really does go on! Have you ever taken a step back to think about how much money all of your possessions amount to? Your personal items are likely worth thousands of dollars. Whether you’re living in a dorm or an off-campus apartment, it’s important to make sure your personal property is covered.
What if I live in a dorm?
Often times the majority of your belongings should be covered under your parents homeowners or renters insurance policy if you’re living in a dorm. Double check with your local agent to make sure, but the National Association of Insurance Commissioners says that students who are younger than 26 and living on campus may be covered through their parents' policy.
It’s important to understand the policy’s coverage limits for personal property. There are some policies that may limit coverage for belongings while they are away from home, such as your property you’ve moved into your dorm. This is often referred to as “off-premises coverage”. For example, if your parents' policy provides $300,000 worth of coverage for belongings, but limits that coverage to 10 percent for items that are off-premises, it may provide up to $30,000 for items away from their home, including belongings you bring to school.
It’s also important to note that some items, such as antiques or expensive jewelry, may have coverage limits of their own. If these items don’t carry a high enough limit of coverage, your parents might consider adding scheduled personal property coverage to their homeowners policy to help protect certain valuable belongings.
What if I live off campus?
More often than not, if you’ll be living in off-campus housing, your parents’ insurance probably will not extend to the items you bring with you to school (always check with your agent to be certain). You might consider purchasing your own Renters Insurance Policy to help pay to repair or replace your property if it is stolen or damaged by a covered risk. A covered risk, often described as a "peril" in insurance terms, is a cause of damage that is covered by your insurance policy. Examine your policy to learn what risks it may cover, such as theft or fire.
An added perk of having your own Renters Insurance Policy is having liability coverage, which can help prevent you from paying out of pocket if you are found legally responsible for someone else's injuries or accidental damage to their property (including your landlord's).
Hopefully you never have to experience a loss to your personal property so you can focus on your academics, but it would probably be a good idea to keep a home inventory – it can be a huge help if you ever need to file a claim.