Personal Property Coverage in College Depends on Living Arrangements

It’s that time of year again: Colorado’s colleges and universities are back in session for the fall semester. And area college students are branching out on their own, whether they’re commuting from home to University of Colorado Denver, or living on-campus at nearby Fort Collins — recently named one of the fastest-growing college towns.

Higher education is a time of development and discovery, and the excitement in the air is palpable. So many changes are afoot. Whether you’re aware of it or not, those changes may include how your homeowners insurance might cover your student—and all their possessions—while they’re away at school.

Making sure your teen has adequate personal-property coverage is going to be a major concern. After all, students are heading off to school with ever-increasing numbers of high-cost electronic devices—think iPads, iPhones, laptops, desktop computers and flat-screen TVs. Will your policy cover these items in the event of loss, theft, fire or storms? According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the coverage depends on where your son or daughter will be living.

Protecting Personal Property On Campus

If your teen is living in on-campus housing and maintaining a full-time class schedule, your homeowners policy is likely to cover their belongings, at least up to a certain amount. The following tips can help you ensure that your scholar’s stuff is covered on campus.

  • Take inventory of the possessions your student is taking to school. An online tool can help you collect the proper details and categorize the items.
  • Estimate the total value of those items.
  • Talk to your agent, who can help you determine your existing policy’s total coverage amount and how much applies to a college student living in the dorms. Since certain items might be subject to dollar limits under some homeowners and renters insurance policies, you’ll need to decide if you should arrange to have a personal-property floater or endorsement to provide a higher amount of insurance and broader coverage for those items.
  • You also might consider obtaining stand-alone policies for specific items, as they can provide coverage for events (accidental damage, including spills) that aren’t typically covered under the standard homeowners or renters insurance policy.

Protecting Personal Property Off Campus

If your teen has decided to rent an apartment or house in one of the neighborhoods close to campus (or if he or she has dropped to a part-time schedule to accommodate employment), he’ll need his own renters insurance policy. A landlord’s insurance might cover damages to the apartment building, but it will not provide coverage for your teen’s belongings if they’re lost, stolen or damaged. The following coverages are available with a renters insurance policy.

  • Liability coverage, which offers protection in the event someone is injured in your teen’s apartment or rental home.
  • Personal property protection. You’ll need to choose between replacement cost, which allows you to replace the lost/damaged items at actual market value; or cash value, which covers the actual value of the lost/damaged items, minus depreciation. With the latter, bear in mind that you’ll likely have to contribute your own funds to replace the items.

Protecting Your Young Driver

Parents also need to be aware that having a student in college can affect car insurance. For starters, if your teen was insured to drive the family car but is now attending school more than 100 miles away sans car, you may be eligible for a discount, according to the I.I.I. If they’ll drive the car during summers or holiday breaks, talk with your agent to determine the best coverage.


Recommended by the Editors:

Contact a Denver-area Allstate Agent to discuss personal property coverage as part of your homeowners or renters insurance.

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