Dear Parents Whose Children Are Living Away from Home,
The day is bittersweet, but move-in time is fast approaching for many college and university students. That may mean you are going to start having to help your child begin packing everything from their toothbrush to their health card. It can be easy to forget the little things, like garbage bags or extra socks, but one major thing that is often overlooked is the need for Tenants Insurance.
Can My Home Insurance Cover My Child?
It depends. Technically, you may be able to cover your child under your own home insurance policy, but remember that any claims they have will directly impact your future rates. For example, if your child’s moving away is only temporary, they may be able to still have insurance under your home policy. However, if your child’s new landlord requires them to have tenant’s insurance, you may not have an option to include them under your insurance. Tenant’s insurance is only a small added cost per month, so it won’t break the bank – even for a student with a tight budget.
What is Tenant’s Insurance for Students?
Tenant’s insurance or renter’s insurance for students offers coverage for 3 major components. You may want to review these with your child to ensure they understand the bare bones:
Personal Property Coverage
A very important component of Tenants Insurance is Personal Property Coverage, which helps to cover the cost of replacing your child’s belongings if they are lost or damaged by one of the “perils” listed on their policy. For example, if their TV and laptop were stolen or if their clothing and furniture were ruined in a fire, this coverage would compensate them for the cost of replacing these items. However, they will only be compensated up to the maximum policy limit, even if the replacement cost is greater than that. So, take the time to review your coverage limits with your child and decide the amount of coverage they will need before they depart to ensure their policy limits are adequate for their living situation.
Another type of protection offered by a standard Tenants Insurance policy is Liability Coverage. If your child were to injure a third party, damage a third party’s property, or if a third party was injured on your child’s property they would be covered under your insurance policy. For example, if your child were to cause accidental but significant damage to their dorm or suite while they were living there they could file a claim to be covered for the damage. Additionally, they would have coverage if their friend fell on their icy front steps while visiting your basement apartment or if their roommate slipped on the puddle of water they left on the bathroom floor.
Additional Living Expenses
If your child’s apartment or dorm burnt down, Additional Living Expenses would cover the cost of temporary relocation. Additional costs such as hotel bills or food would be compensated for based on the average amount that your child spent before they were displaced. This coverage helps to ensure that they can continue to live the lifestyle they are accustomed to during this difficult time.
Your child should consider purchasing Tenants Insurance if they will be:
Staying On Campus
Students who will be living in on-campus residences this fall should consider purchasing Tenants Insurance while they’re living away from home. These policies protect your student if they face damages such as stolen property, fire, water damage, or other types of losses while living in residence. It is very rare (almost non-existent) that the educational institute they are staying at will cover the cost of replacing their things in the event of a loss. In fact, most colleges/universities have insurance coverage on their dormitories, which only covers the cost of replacing the building (and their own furniture) – not the cost of replacing a student’s possessions. With tenant’s insurance, they would simply file a claim if their belongings were damaged by a ‘valid’ reason listed on their policy.
Renting or Leasing a Home
If your student is not staying on campus and are instead renting or leasing a home or apartment during the school year, consider the following: their landlord’s insurance policy, much like those of the colleges/universities your child will be attending, will not cover the cost of replacing their belongings if they are damaged or destroyed. Tenant’s insurance is important to have in this situation to avoid a total loss if the building they are staying in is damaged or destroyed.
Living with Other People
If your child is staying with roommates throughout the semester or living in a house with a few of their friends throughout the year – make sure they don’t forget to get insurance. When they are living with other people there is an increased risk of damage to your property compared to the risk when living alone.
Remember – If your child is living with other people, their insurance policy does not extend to your child. Their policy will cover the cost of replacing only their belongings, despite your child and them both living under the same roof. Also, check to see if your homeowner’s insurance policy will extend its liability coverage to your child’s belongings while you are away at school before purchasing a tenants policy.
Don’t forget to make sure your child has enough coverage! Contact your broker to find out if your policy will cover the cost of replacing all of your belongings in the event of a loss. For more information about extending your Tenants Insurance coverage, contact Excalibur Insurance at 1-888-298-7343.