Property Insurance for Students: Why you Need It

Written by  //  2012/10/02  //  Insurance, Student Living  //  1 Comment

If you just started your college career as a freshman, then you’re already more than aware that your back-to-school list wasn’t anything like it was in previous grade levels—plastic protractors, mechanical pencils, novelty notebooks, and fancy lunch kits were replaced by shiny laptops and desktop computers, e-readers and tablets, flat screen televisions, iPods, mini refrigerators and a new nifty smartphone to keep you in touch with your parents.

Collectively your new back-to-school supplies can cost you a small fortune, that’s why it’s extremely important that you make sure your assets are protected with some kind of property insurance. After all, you never know if an unexpected incident like theft, flooding, or some other kind of negligence (your roommate accidently leaves on a burning candle or hot plate) ruins all of your valuables.  And it happens more than you may think—when I was in college just a few short years ago my digital camera and iPod were stolen during a house party I hosted during my senior year.

Just a few months prior, my accident-prone friend left the window open before leaving out of town for the entire weekend. When she returned, her entire bedroom was soaked and her TV ruined due to the storm that passed through during the night.

Accidents happen all the time.

If I Live in a Dorm Room

If your parents already own homeowner’s insurance and you live in a <i>dorm room</i> then you probably don’t need to do anything (or spend any additional money) to make sure your property is insured. That’s because technically dorm room dwellers claim their parent’s home as their permanent place of residence. Since this is the case, your parent’s homeowner’s insurance can be extended to you—typically only at 10%, but it’s still better than nothing. Of course it’s smart to call to confirm that your parent’s homeowner’s insurance extends to your property as well. If it does, you need to know under what terms your items are protected as well as how to make a claim: will photos of the images suffice? Or do you need receipts etc.?

I Live in an Apartment

If you live in an-off campus apartment however, you cannot claim your parents’ residence as a permanent address. Therefore you must obtain renter’s insurance or property insurance to protect your belongings.  Luckily there are many inexpensive policies, many of which can be found doing a quick quota check on the internet.
When you choose a specific insurance provider, just make sure to read the policy carefully before signing on the dotted line—you want one that pays replacement costs as well as liability coverage.  You also want to be well informed about what is covered under what circumstances and what isn’t. You also want to investigate any discount possibilities to get a lower rate. Some insurance providers offer an additional 10% discount if you have a security system installed for example.

Added Safety Measures

That said, there are several different preventative measures you can take to make sure your property doesn’t get damaged or ruined in your living area or on campus even if you have insurance.  For starters, you need to make sure your doors are locked at all times. Don’t leave the door unlocked for a roommate—he or she needs to use the key. It’s equally important to not hide a spare key under the mat or some other place that it’s extremely obvious—this is the easiest way for a break-in to occur. 

If you decide to have visitors, it’s best to hide your most valuable items and even perhaps lock your bedroom dorm, especially if your friend brings someone over you don’t know. Always scout your apartment or dorm room before you leave to check for any potential fire hazards—make sure candles are blown out, stoves are turned off, and blow dryers, straighteners, and irons are unplugged. Also make sure windows are locked. Lastly, if you’re the type of student that likes to take short cat naps in the library before your next class, sleep with your book bag cradled in your arms not by your side, especially if you have a laptop or iPad in there.

Tracy Myers is a freelance writer and blogger who previously spent years working in the insurance industry. While her specialty is home insurance, she also likes to write about a broad spectrum of insurance-related topics such as healthcare and automotive insurance. Read more of her writing at www.homeinsurance.org. Stacy welcomes your comments below!

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One Comment on "Property Insurance for Students: Why you Need It"

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