Remember when your little one was still relatively little? When your back-to-school shopping trip was calculators and pencils and protractors – or when your own list included a Velcro binder and some colored pencils? You’ve come a long, long way since those days, my friend – and if the school your baby is heading back to is far enough that you’ll be making the return trip solo, you’d better add insurance onto that shopping list.
Today’s lists include things like laptops, drawing tablets, and the calculators our math teachers said we wouldn’t always have on hand!
What do all of these items have in common? You’ll definitely miss them if your student calls home to tell you they’re gone. The price tags on some of these items can easily be four figures. Some may have their own insurance, but if you buy refurbished or used products to cut costs, the cost of replacing them still adds up.
Many homeowners’ and renters’ policies commonly consider your college student’s dorm to be an extension of your home. In the event of a covered loss, coverage should extend – but, read your policy carefully as covered perils are usually limited. There’s a key coverage for this situation that some carriers provide and others will allow you to add via endorsement – Off Premises Theft. This covers your items if they are stolen outside of your home.
If a dorm room is an extension of your home for property, what about Personal Liability? Once again, your homeowners policy should respond to a lawsuit for injuries caused by your on-the-road scholar, whether through an accident or their neglect. (For example, if a visitor to the dorm trips over the laptop charger and falls, breaking a tooth.) As for Property Damage liability however, which responds to items belonging to someone else that are damaged by you, you should definitely consult your policy, as coverage is typically limited to damage caused by fire, smoke, or explosions.
Also, if you don’t already have a Personal Umbrella Policy, lets add that to your back-to-school shopping list, as it can help to provide additional coverage if your child is found to be at fault in an accident, and someone else files a lawsuit large enough to pay their own kid’s tuition.
Also, please remember to let your agent know where the car is now being garaged. If you’re being insured for a car the carrier believes is garaged in a small town in Upstate New York, but it ends up being stolen from a street in lower Manhattan on a school night, you’ll likely have some explaining to do at the time of a claim. Please give us a call today – or send an email – so we can review your policies and spot any gaps before Murphy’s Law can find them first.
Finally, if your student has opted out of dorming in favor of off-campus housing, please consider a renters policy. While your policy will extend to a dorm room, living off campus means that your baby bird has fully left the nest – at least from an insurance standpoint. (Even if their laundry comes home for regular visits.) A renters policy also reflects the fact that your young adult is now responsible for their own liability, and this is a big step toward protecting their own future.
If they’re also planning to re-register the car under their own name, please have them give us a call. There’s a long list of direct carriers offering the promise of “quick and easy” and trying to appeal to today’s youth with new apps and automatic systems (I saw three ads on TV in the last five minutes alone as I wrote this article!), but after all the advice you’ve given them over the years, don’t forget to add in a reminder that you get what you pay for, and working with an independent agent and establishing a relationship of your own is an important step towards protecting your future and your property.