Is your child among the million of students heading back to college any day now? If so, you’re probably busy helping them gather all the things they need for life away from home.
One of the things that you’ll want to discuss with them before they go back to college is how to keep their car and their belongings safe and protected. Here are some answers to a few of the most common questions that parents of college students often ask us.
Are my child’s belongings covered by my homeowners policy when she goes back to college?
That’s a great question. Students also often take expensive items to school like laptops, bikes and TVs, which can be pricey to replace if damaged or stolen items. The good news is that most insurers’ homeowners policies are designed to cover your child if something is stolen or destroyed.
At Steffey Hatoway, specifically with our carrier Erie Insurance, full-time students under the age of 24 are automatically covered under their parents’ policy. Part-time students and/or students who are 24 and older may need to take out a renters insurance policy to protect themselves and their belongings.
Does insurance coverage differ if my child is living in a dorm versus an apartment?
Your children’s personal property is generally covered under your homeowners policy if they’re away from home. However, when students choose to live in an apartment, they should consider purchasing a separate renters insurance policy, which can provide for additional living expenses if an apartment becomes uninhabitable because of something like a fire.
What steps can my child take to safeguard her belongings?
It’s a good idea to talk with your child about this since more than 13,500 burglaries were reported on U.S. campuses in 2014. In addition to taking personal safety precautions, your child will also want to keep these tips in mind:
- Always lock the doors. Sounds obvious, but most dorm thefts occur during the day.
- Fireproof things. Don’t leave candles, cigarettes and grills—the most common causes of fires—unattended. To be extra safe, consider flameless candles, indoor grills and simply kicking the habit.
- Create a home inventory. It is much easier to submit a claim if you save all receipts from major purchases, make a detailed list of everything of value in your home, and photograph or videotape your possessions.
- Safeguard pricier items—or just leave them at home. Bikes, jewelry, watches and laptops are some of the biggest targets of theft. So be sure to lock them up or leave them at a trusted residence that doesn’t have a high level of foot traffic.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most insurers limit how much they will pay for theft of any one item (at Erie Insurance, the limit is $3,000). If a prized possession is worth more, you may want to add coverage.
You may also want to add identity theft coverage to your policy. At Erie Insurance, it’s automatically included in many policies and it helps a victim recover after identity theft or fraud.
Do I need to make any adjustments to my child’s auto coverage if she’s away at school?
Because you’ll have one less driver living at home when your son or daughter goes off to college, your household might get a discount if the child doesn’t take the car to college. If your child does take a car to school, review your coverage with an insurance agent to make sure he or she is properly insured.
Are college kids eligible for any discounts?
This is an important question to ask your insurance agent. Erie Insurance has a college student auto discount that applies to young, unmarried, full-time college students who spend most of the year away from home without the use of a vehicle. If you’re renting and buy your car insurance and your renters insurance together from Steffey Hatoway, you may be eligible for a multi-policy discount. Whether you’re in Indiana, Ohio, or Pennsylvania, please call us to ask how we can help make sure your child is protected while away at college.