While some stores already are filling shelves with holiday decorations, soon-to-be college or trade school students are making lists and buying things they will need to outfit their new dorm room or apartment.
As items are checked off the list and stacked in corner to be moved to school, it will become noticeable there is a considerable amount of money tied up in these belongings, said Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension family resource management assistant specialist.
“Years ago, students arrived on campus with a couple of suitcases full of clothes, a few pairs of shoes and a boom box. Today they arrive with computers, smart phones, refrigerators, microwaves and other expensive gadgets worth thousands of dollars. Bicycles, band instruments and sports equipment also should be included. Add furniture to the list if the student will be living off campus and needs to furnish a house or apartment,” Clampet said. “To help protect your investment, you’ll need to make sure these items are covered by an insurance policy.”
There are several options for coverage, including your homeowner’s policy, a renter’s policy, dorm insurance or a homeowner’s policy floater.
Clampet said your homeowner’s policy typically covers the child’s property while he or she is living on campus at no extra cost.
“Keep in mind the coverage is about 10 percent of your limit on the contents of your home,” she said. “For example, if your policy covers up to $50,000 in losses, your student’s belongings are covered for up to $5,000.”
Another option is a renter’s policy. These policies are quite affordable at $10 to $20 per month on average, depending on the amount of coverage needed. This policy is necessary if your student is living off campus.
Be sure to check on a dorm insurance policy. Typically, deductibles can be as low as $25 versus the $500 to $1,500 on home insurance policies. On average, a $5,000 policy with a $25 deductible will cost about $140 per year.
A homeowner’s policy floater, or endorsement, is necessary if you want to make sure very high value possessions, such as computers, are covered.
The threat to your student’s belongings is relatively small. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, in 2015 there were only about 90 burglaries and robberies for every 100,000 students enrolled in institutions of higher learning.
“Check into all coverage possibilities and make note of premiums and deductibles,” Clampet said. “It can be hard enough on parents when their children fly the nest, but knowing their belongings are adequately covered can help bring some peace of mind.”