If you live in a dorm room, your stuff probably is covered by your parent’s homeowners or renters insurance policy. However, some policies might limit the amount of coverage to 10% of the total covered by the policy. So if your parents have $100,000 in insurance on their home, you might have $10,000 of coverage for everything in your dorm room.
It’s worth calling the company or insurance agent to make sure you have enough coverage. Some companies limit how much they’d pay to replace expensive computers, electronic equipment and jewelry. If the limits are too low, your parents might want to buy a special personal property rider or an endorsement. You also might consider buying a stand-alone insurance policy for your laptop or cell phone.
If you live off campus, you probably are not covered by your parents’ policy at all, and it would be worthwhile to buy your own renters insurance policy. A big mistake renters often make is assuming that their belongings are covered by their landlord’s insurance. Even a relatively minor fire can cause major damage to clothes and electronic equipment, and it would be your responsibility – not your landlord’s – to replace everything you lost in an apartment fire.
Before going off to college, the Insurance Information Institute recommends:
• Leave valuables at home. There’s no need to take a Rolex or diamonds to college. If you must bring them with you, keep them locked up, maybe even in a local safety deposit box.
• Create a dorm inventory. Having an upto-date inventory of your stuff will help insurance claims get settled faster if you are the victim of a theft or fire. You can access free home inventor software through www.KnowYourStuff.org
• Engrave electronics. By engraving computers, televisions and iPods with your name, license plate or other information, you make it harder for thiev to unload your stolen property and make it easier for police to trac stolen items down.