Does your homeowner's insurance protect the valuables of your kids at college?
Parents have much to worry about when their kids go to college. While they can't protect their children from theft or careless accidents, parents can protect their kids' valuables through insurance. Plan ahead and avoid the risks of being caught unaware about the specifics of your homeowners insurance.
Insurance considerations should be at the top of your pre-college checklist. Contact your insurance agent to verify specifics about your policy and educate yourself about any coverage limitations. You may need to purchase additional coverage for your child's possessions, depending upon where your child will live at college.
There are a few qualifications for student coverage under a homeowners insurance policy. Your agent will want to know whether your child will be living on campus or in an off-campus apartment. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover your student's personal property in a dorm up to 10 percent of your Coverage C. In other words, $100,000 worth of personal property coverage for your home translates into a $10,000 worth of coverage for your student living in a dorm.
Take the time to sit down with your children and make a list of everything that will be moved to college. Then put a value on it. Carefully determine the maximum coverage limit provided by your homeowners insurance for your student and evaluate it against the total value of your child's belongings. You do not want to discover that the total value surpasses the maximum amount of allowable coverage.
Renters insurance can be either actual cash value insurance (original cost minus depreciation) or replacement cost insurance. Find out from your insurance agent which is better for you and your child.
Regardless of which type of insurance is used, parents are wise to caution their kids against taking expensive belongings with them to school. Wearing flashy jewelry or inviting dorm neighbors in to play the latest state-of-the-art video games may be inviting theft. If you are unsuccessful in convincing your children to leave their expensive toys at home, purchasing additional coverage for these items might be well worth the cost.
Be prepared and pay attention to insurance coverage details before your children leave for college. Do not assume that you have adequate coverage for your kids' possessions at school. Check with your agent to understand and evaluate all your insurance options for the best coverage for your child at college.