Sending your kid off to college can be a pretty chaotic and emotional time. As a parent, you never stop worrying about your child’s safety, especially while they’re away at school and living on their own. You want to know your child is safe and protected while you’re not there, whether they’re a first-year college student moving into a dorm room or starting their senior year and moving into an off-campus apartment with roommates.
Insurance coverage is probably the last thing on your mind while you’re helping your child pack up their worldly possessions for college, but it can help ensure that those worldly possessions are protected, plus other benefits! Knowing that your child is covered under your insurance policy or a renters insurance policy of their own is just one more thing that can help you sleep better at night.
But do college students need renters insurance? Or are they covered through your insurance policy? It depends. Keep reading to learn whether getting renters insurance should be a part of your college student’s back-to-school to-do list.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover College Students?
You may be wondering whether your college student needs renters insurance if they live in a dorm room or other on-campus housing. Fortunately, most homeowners insurance policies extend coverage to students who are:
- Listed as a dependent on your homeowners or renters insurance policy
- Enrolled as a full-time student
- Related to you
- Under the age of 26
However, some policies extend that coverage to college students only if they live in a dorm room or on-campus housing. If your student lives in off-campus housing, it would be wise to look into a renters insurance policy to ensure they’re adequately protected.
What Homeowners Insurance Coverages Protect My Student?
The coverages on your existing homeowners insurance policy generally extend to your college student while they’re away at school. These include:
- Personal liability coverage. If a visitor is injured inside your child’s dorm room and wants to sue, or your child accidentally damages school property, personal liability coverage can kick in to pay for damages. It can even pay for legal expenses in the event of a lawsuit.
- Medical payments to others. If a visitor is injured inside your child’s dorm room, this coverage can help pay for the other party’s medical expenses.
- Personal property coverage. If your child’s belongings are stolen or damaged by a covered loss, personal property coverage can help pay to replace them.
Limits for homeowners coverages vary from provider to provider. While your policy’s personal liability limits tend to remain the same while your child is away at school, personal property limits are usually handled differently. Most homeowners insurance policies cap coverage for personal property if belongings are away from the policyholder’s home.
For example, your homeowners insurance policy may provide $50,000 worth of coverage for personal property, but cap that coverage at 10% for belongings that are away from home. In other words, if your child’s brand new laptop and expensive digital camera are stolen from their dorm room, you may only get up to 10% for coverage after paying your deductible.
Do You Need Renters Insurance If You Live Off-Campus?
You’ll want to check with your provider to know for sure, but if your child lives in off-campus housing, such as an apartment, condo or house, your homeowners insurance policy does not likely cover their belongings.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming your child has nothing worth insuring. Many college students have a trove of pricey personal belongings—things like electronics, sporting equipment and musical instruments—that add up to thousands of dollars.
So, if your child’s laptop and digital camera are swiped from their off-campus apartment, your insurance policy wouldn’t cover the loss. That’s where renters insurance can help. A policy in your child’s name ensures that the belongings in their off-campus rental are protected from a covered loss, up to the policy’s limits.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Renters insurance provides coverage in three areas:
- Personal property coverage protects the value of your child’s personal belongings from a covered peril, such as fire, smoke damage, or theft.
- Personal liability coverage protects your child if a claim or lawsuit is ever filed against them for accidental damage or injury to a visitor.
- Additional living expenses coverage can pay for temporary housing, meals, and other expenses if your child’s rental is damaged by a covered peril and they have to live elsewhere while it’s repaired.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
Renters insurance is more affordable than many people realize. The average cost of renters insurance is between $15 and $30 per month, depending on the size and location of your child’s rental, as well as the value of their belongings.
Plus, Personal Express offers several discounts to help you save more on renters insurance. For instance, your child can save money for having protective devices in their rental, like a smoke detector or deadbolt, by being a good student, and by bundling their renters insurance and auto insurance policies.
Our Homegrown Pros can help parents and students navigate this new stage of life and help you determine whether your homeowners insurance coverage is sufficient for your student, or if it’d be a good idea for your child to take out a renters insurance policy. Learn more about your options and get a free renters insurance quote by visiting your local Personal Express office or calling 1-800-499-3612.