What your kid will pack off to college bears no resemblance to what you took. Today’s college-bound teens are leaving home with a pricey inventory of electronic equipment and sports gear. Here are some tips and basic info to make sure those valuables are protected.
Since theft is not unheard of in college dorms, check your homeowners’ insurance or your renters’ insurance policy. Your child’s campus dorm room may qualify as an extension of your home in the eyes of your insurance provider, which means all the possessions kept there are covered, usually up to 10% of your total personal property limit. For example, if your homeowners’ insurance policy is written for $100,000, your child’s dorm property would be covered up to $10,000, minus your deductible. Some of the more costly items, like an expensive sound system or computer, may need an additional rider. If your child is taking an expensive bicycle to college, check your homeowners’ policy or renters’ policy about taking out a floater. This ensures that the cost of repairs to a damaged bike are covered. Read your policy or ask your agent to be sure you have adequate coverage in the event of theft or damage.
Before your child leaves home, make a written inventory of everything he’s taking with him. Even better, use your digital camera to make a visual record. This will be invaluable in the event your child has to file a claim. You should also invest in an inexpensive engraving pen and etch your child’s drivers license number and state of residence on the items. If the stolen property is recovered, it will make it easier for the cops to notify your child. Do not, however, etch a social security number on anything. In an age of identity theft, this is no longer a wise idea.
Discourage your child from taking expensive or irreplaceable items such as jewelry or heirlooms. Your should also advise your child against carry large amounts of cash.
Be aware that your homeowners’ insurance policy will not cover your child’s possession if he or she is living off-campus. In that case, take out a separate renters’ insurance policy, which will offer both theft and liability coverage. You can find affordable, even cheap renters’ insurance policies online for as little as $15 to $30 a month.