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Is Your High School Grad Heading Off to College? Make Sure They’re Protected [Updated]

August 4, 2016

You don’t have to go to college or university to know how expensive the tab can be. Not only is tuition an arm and a leg, but there are supplies and accommodation costs – rent, books, laptops, cellphones, entertainment systems, mini-fridges, clothing and more. When your high school grad heads off to college, all of these dorm room must-haves can add up quickly. How do you protect their assets from theft or damage when they’re no longer in your home?

Whether they are living on residence, renting a room or apartment, or staying in a house off-campus, you have a couple options when it comes to insuring your child’s belongings while they’re away at school. 

Home Insurance

On-campus residence fees do not include insurance. Luckily, if your child is living in a school dormitory, it is likely they will be covered under your home insurance policy. Home insurance policies typically cover dependents under the age of 21 who are temporarily living away from home and attending school. However, there may be a cap on the coverage—usually at 10 per cent of your home insurance coverage limit. It is always a good idea to speak with your insurance provider to confirm that your child’s possessions will be properly covered against theft or damage when they’re on campus.

Tenant Insurance

If your child is renting a room, apartment, or a home off campus, they will not likely be covered under your home insurance policy. The best option here is to purchase tenant insurance to cover the rental property. Tenant or “renter’s” insurance will protect your child’s assets with contents coverage.

There are two types of contents coverage in a tenant insurance policy. Pick the one that best suits the value of your child’s belongings. The first covers the actual cash value of your claim, reimbursing you for what the item was worth at the time it was stolen or damaged. The premiums for this type of coverage are generally cheaper. The second is replacement cost coverage, which is more expensive but takes into account how much it will cost to buy the lost or damaged items again. For students with expensive belongings like laptop computers, sports gear, or musical equipment, replacement cost coverage may provide more peace of mind.

And while we don’t condone rowdy college parties, tenant insurance provides liability coverage in the event something should happen on the property or someone is injured. The premium in total is a small fee in comparison to the cost of replacing items such as laptops that can cost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

Taking Inventory

Before you send your child off to school, take inventory of all of the items they’ll be taking with them and keep a record at home. List all your goods, including clothing and furniture, and estimate what it would cost to replace everything. It’s a good idea to save receipts as well. This way, you’ll have supporting evidence of what needs to be replaced and the value of each item in the event of a claim.

Other things to consider

  • If your child makes a claim under your home insurance policy, that claim goes on your record. If they have their own tenant insurance, it goes on their record.
  • Depending on the area where your child is going to school, your insurance company may not provide the most affordable tenant insurance rate. Compare rates to make sure your student is being smart by getting the best tenants insurance rate possible for their home-away-from home.