Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Your College Student’s Belongings?
With fall fast approaching, school bells will soon be heard by children and parents alike. Those who have children going to college have no doubt purchased a new laptop, bedding for those oddly shaped and oh-so-comfortable dorm beds, TVs, stereos, and countless other “necessities” to make their son or daughter’s home away from home that much more comfortable. So what happens if one or more of these items are stolen, or damaged in a fire?
If your child is moving into a dorm room, then fear not-your homeowner’s policy will cover your children’s belongings as they would cover yours in your own home (limitations may apply). A dorm room is considered a residence premises and therefore your child will have coverage for their belongings, but will be subjected to a cap of 10% of the policy limit. Homeowner’s policies have worldwide coverage on contents, so if a dryer fire starts and causes the dorm to go up in flames, then your child’s belongings should be covered. If their items are stolen, then coverage applies up to the policy limitations for theft.
So where is the problem? The problem arises when your son or daughter decides that they no longer want to live on campus and want to get an apartment with their friends. If they rent an apartment then that could be viewed by the insurance company as their residence, even if their legal address is still your home. Any damage to, or theft of their belongings while living in an apartment may not be covered, depending upon how the homeowner’s insurance carrier views the child’s living situation. In order to be sure their items are protected, they should purchase a renter’s policy. This policy is designed specifically for those people who rent apartments. The policy provides coverage for their contents for fire theft, water damage, etc. It works the same way a homeowner’s policy does but takes away all of the unnecessary dwelling coverages since they do not own the property.
It also provides a much more important, but often overlooked coverage; liability coverage. Coverage for property damage and bodily injury to others is a very important coverage to have, no matter what your age. Let’s face it; most college kids do stupid things. Hey, it’s part of being young, but these things can end in lawsuits. With a renter’s policy your child will not only have coverage if they are found guilty of negligence or liable for property damage or bodily injury to another party, but will also provide them with an attorney and will pay for all reasonable legal fees as well. For an additional price, personal injury coverage can be added. This is very important in today’s social media-driven world. If he or she slanders another after a fight and posts it on Facebook, then a lawsuit could result if the person he or she was slandering feels that their reputation was falsely sullied as a result.
So, before you pack up your son or daughter and ship them off to college, be sure to protect them and their belongings the way you so prudently protect yours. Are there any stories you would like to share? If so leave them in the comments section below.