Off to School
So your first born just moved 600 miles away. Wow, there’s a lot to think about in that statement. And not that you don’t have enough on your mind, but have you given any thought to how your homeowners insurance is affected?
When you think about your homeowners insurance, you probably first consider the coverage on your home itself. But a homeowners policy covers all the stuff in your house as well. But now your taking your son or daughter’s belongings and moving them to a dorm. Is their stuff still covered at the dorm? What about an off campus apartments? How about liability coverage? The answer is definitely maybe.
Who Gets Coverage on Your Homeowners Insurance?
So in order for your stuff to be covered on your homeowners insurance, you must be an ‘insured’ on the policy. (Apologies for going a little insurance nerdy here). A typical insurance policy will read as follows:
“a student enrolled in school full-time, as defined by the school, who was a resident of your household before moving out to attend school, provided the student is under the age of 24 and your relative.”
Okay so a freshman coming straight from high school is likely covered. However, if a student takes some time off of school, or enters into a graduate program, they could easily exceed the age limit. By the way, there’s an endorsement to take care of that situation.
How Much Stuff is Covered by Your Homeowners Insurance?
Now we know who is covered. But then we have to address how much coverage is provided by your homeowners insurance. Typically policies are limited to 10% of your property coverage to another location. Depending on your personal property limits, 10% may be more than enough. But if you have relatively low property limits 10% may not cut it. Check out a Dorm Checklist, the property can really add up. In that case you’ll want to add an endorsement to increase the off premises limit.
Now the homeowner’s policy does pretty good in providing coverage for theft, even granting a little more latitude on the off premises coverage for students. However, insurance giveth and insurance taketh away. Coverage for theft is excluded if the insured (the student) hasn’t been at school for 60 days. So between Fall and Spring semesters, you’re probably alright. However, toward the end of Summer break, your kid’s belongings are likely no longer covered for theft.
Should you consider a Renters Policy?
We’ve pointed out a couple of scenarios and how to address them within your existing homeowners policy. I think there’s a much better solution though. You can probably buy a renter’s policy for your scholar for $150.
You’re doing your homework on the subject now, but what happens if your child decides to drop a class to keep their GPA up. Now they may be considered part time by the school. All of the sudden they lose coverage on the homeowners policy and their belongings are unprotected. Moreover, they would no longer be covered for liability on your home policy. So instead of maybe just losing a few thousand dollars worth of stuff, they’re sued for half a million dollars. And you thought student loans were going to be your biggest concern.
So to recap
- The student must be under 24 for homeowners coverage to apply
- They must have moved directly from your household
- Also, they have to be a full time student
- He or she must be your relative
- And finally they must have been at their dorm or apartment within 60 days
- or forget everything else and just get a renter’s policy
We’d be happy to speak with you to help determine how to best protect yourself and your children. Not a customer yet? Call today to get competitive rates on homeowners insurance from our friendly and knowledgeable staff. We can’t wait to hear from you!
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