Home Sweet College Home

Does Your College Student Need Renters Insurance?

by Thomas Walters // July - August - September 2023

Parents of children getting ready to head off to college, I know it’s a lot to take in. You’re filled with bittersweet emotions, having recently watched your children cross the stage to accept their high school diplomas, knowing you’ve prepared them for this next exciting chapter in life. They are eagerly shopping for laptops, stocking up on campus gear, and compiling their dorm supplies wish lists, while you’re mentally prepping yourself for that soon-to-arrive day when they leave the nest. But as a parent, you always worry, and one of your biggest concerns is making sure you can always protect your kids – no matter how old they are.

One of the most efficient ways to protect your child from life’s inevitable curveballs is with renter’s insurance. For college students, it’s important to have insurance coverage for their belongings, whether they are living in a dorm or an off-campus apartment. Depending on where they live, you may find that their personal property is covered by your insurance, while in other cases, you may need to purchase a renters insurance policy.

Do college students need renters insurance if they live in a college dorm? You’ll want to check with your insurance provider to make sure, but your college student may be partially covered by your policy. It is a good idea to know your policy’s coverage limits for personal property. Some policies limit coverage for belongings while they are away from the policyholder’s home. This is often referred to as “off-premises coverage.” For example, if your policy provides $100,000 worth of coverage for belongings, but limits that coverage to 10% for items that are off-premises, it may provide up to $10,000 for items away from their home, including belongings they bring to school. It’s also important to note that certain items, such as musical instruments or expensive jewelry, may have coverage limits. If the policy’s limits aren’t enough to cover the items your child will be bringing to school, you may be able to add scheduled personal property coverage to your homeowners or renters insurance policy to help cover certain valuable possessions.

Do they need renters insurance if they live off campus? For students who will be living in off-campus housing, be cautioned that insurance will probably not extend to the belongings they bring with them (although you’ll want to check with your agent to be certain). They may want to buy their own renters insurance policy to help pay to replace or repair their belongings if they are 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 one’s insurance policy. Read your policy to learn what risks it may cover, such as theft or fire.

A renters insurance policy also includes liability coverage, which may help prevent one from paying out of pocket if they are found legally responsible for someone else’s injuries or accidental damage to their property (including the landlord’s).

It may also be a good idea for your student to keep a home inventory – a checklist containing important information about their belongings, such as the items’ value, the date they bought them, any receipts they have, and the serial number and/or make and model (for electronics and appliances), all of which will be a big help if they need to make a claim. Home inventory apps offer an easy way to list those items and securely store information. If anything’s ever damaged, they’ll be able to retrieve that information quickly.

Hopefully your children and their stuff stay safe and sound while they are running to and from classes, but for extra peace of mind, check to see if your policy provides ample protection, or consider purchasing renters insurance to protect them and their things as they leave the nest.

Thomas Walters

Allstate agent and owner of Walters Insurance Agency.