As college students return to campus to begin the new academic year, Insurance Commissioner Mike Consedine reminds families to create a "dorm room inventory" for insurance purposes.
"Many college students head to campus hauling a costly array of personal possessions," said Consedine. "You need to itemize what they are taking with them. Also, while homeowners insurance coverage for some valuables does travel with the student, policies may limit coverage for a student's off-premises belongings. It is important to learn your policy's specific coverages."
Having an up-to-date inventory will help determine how much insurance is necessary and may also help in settling the claim if there is a loss. Expensive computer and electronic equipment may also be subject to coverage limits. If the limits seem too low, parents may consider buying a special personal property floater, or an endorsement, for these items.
The student's possessions would be covered for the same disasters that are found in a standard homeowners policy. This would include fire, theft, vandalism and natural disasters such as a hurricane. The student would not be covered for typical college mishaps such as accidentally spilling coffee on an expensive electronic device.
Parents may want to look into stand-alone policies for desktop computers, laptops, tablets and iPads, and other electronics. These policies may provide coverage against accidental damage, liquid spills and other events not included under a standard homeowners policy.
Also, students who live in off-campus housing may not be covered by their parents' homeowners policy and may need to purchase separate renters insurance. Parents should contact their insurance agent or company representative to see if their homeowners or renters policy extends to off-campus living situations.