Moving back to school can be stressful. There’s the obvious upheaval of the move, but when you move into student accommodation there’s the added complexity of shared assets and resources. Whose is the TV? Whose is the coffee table? What about the kitchen appliances or even your expensive computer equipment? And who is responsible for taking out insurance?
Covering your stuff in student housing is thankfully easier than it might seem. The keys are to:
- Take an inventory
No, not because your housemates might try to grab your stuff (though in that unlikely event a signed inventory list might be helpful!), but because the inventory can help an insurance company validate your future claim.
- Get tenant insurance
You’d be surprised how easy it is to find cheap tenant insurance for students.
Tenant insurance can cover you for theft, or fire, and often even comes with protection for identify theft as well. If you are on a ground floor apartment you might need to consider optional flood insurance to bundle with your tenant insurance. And even if you are in a higher level, you should look into protection for your belongings in case of accidental flooding – for example if your roommate leaves their tie-dye equipment unattended and floods the laundry.
Who Has to Have Tenant Insurance?
Tenant insurance is sometimes mandated by landlords, and sometimes not. You should check with your student housing organization or landlord to find out what the rules are – if you don’t already know.
If you live in the same dorm as your friend, and they have insurance, you might think you’re covered. This isn’t usually the way it works.
It is wise for everyone to have their own tenant insurance policy – and no, you’re best-friends policy likely won’t cover your laptop if it’s damaged in a fire. It certainly won’t cover your identify theft problems.
Because tenant insurance is cheap, it’s worth it to get your own, whether you have to or not.
Will Tenant Insurance Cover me if I Have a Party?
Theft, vandalism, or even fire damage are all risks you take when you throw a rager. The good news is, most often insurance companies will pay claims resulting from accidental damage or even injuries incurred by people on your property.
Common sense is always important, and you will have trouble getting your claim through if you were breaking any laws.
Most student orgs have common areas specifically set aside for parties anyway, and besides… isn’t that what the university tavern is for?
You May Already Have Coverage for Your Student Under Your Home Insurance
In some cases, your home insurance may cover your child's insurance needs while they are away at school. You will need to contact your insurance agent or broker to find out if this is the case.
Make sure you know the details of the policy. In some cases you may only be covered for a specific time period. For example if your child chooses to stay in their new dwelling after the school year has ended, you may need to purchase another policy to maintain coverage. There may also be age limits or coverage limits. Your insurance professional can review your policy and answer these questions for you.
A Wise Investment
If you’re a parent, purchasing tenant insurance while your child is away at school is an important way to secure your financial situation and protect yourself and your child from the cost of replacing their personal belongings if they are lost or damaged.
Even if you’re a student, with a limited budget, the cost is inexpensive, often between $100-$150 dollars per year for a basic package. When you consider the potential cost of replacing invaluable items, it makes sense to purchase the protection for your peace of mind.
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