Do College Students Need “Home” Insurance?

September 20, 2018 | Tower Hill Insurance

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If you have college students in your family, make sure they have the necessary insurance coverage while away from home.

It’s back-to-school time for kids of all ages. If you have college students in your family, make sure they have the necessary insurance coverage while away from home. Whether your college student lives in a dorm or off-campus, if you are providing financial support, then typically he/she is still insured under your homeowners (HO3) policy as a resident relative.

Even if your kids are attending a college out of state, as long as their legal residence is still considered your home, then there is insurance coverage for the following.

  • Personal Property. Furniture, a laptop computer, clothing, etc. in a dorm or off-campus — your student’s home away from home — would be covered for damage caused by one of the student moving in to her dormperils covered by the homeowners policy.  However, generally only 10 percent of your personal property coverage (Coverage C) amount is available for items located at the student’s dorm or off-campus residence. In other words, if your homeowner’s policy limit is $100,000 for personal property, then only 10 percent of that amount ($10,000) is available.  Keep in mind that theft coverage for personal property  applies only if your student has been at the college residence within the last 45 days. If he or she is spending a semester abroad — or has a gig as a band roadie all summer — check with your insurance agent to be sure that items left in the student’s residence will be covered.
  • Loss of Use. The Coverage D limit for loss of use is available to the student when personal property is covered. If your student’s college residence is temporarily uninhabitable due to hurricane damage or fire, the costs to rent another home for a few weeks or the rest of the semester can add up quickly. Loss of use coverage reimburses for these extra expenses, such as lodging, travel to campus, and meals.
  • Liability. The Coverage E limit for liability is available for your college student away from home, even worldwide. However, please be aware of what liability coverage may or may not cover along with any exclusions. For instance, generally there is no liability coverage included for damage caused to property rented or occupied by the insured (such as the apartment or dorm room itself). Play it safe and check with your insurance agent to be sure that you have in place the coverage that best fits your family’s individual situation.

Remember, if your home is no longer legally considered your college student’s residence bicycles on campus(e.g., their driver’s license address doesn’t match your home address), then they are not covered under your homeowners policy while away at school. We recommend consulting with your insurance agent to be sure that you have the coverage that best meets your family’s needs. And don’t forget to create a dorm or apartment inventory, along with photos and receipts of any valuable items.