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Back to campus, insured and prepared

Back to campus, insured and prepared

It’s almost that time of the year again. Have you noticed that leaves have started to turn yellow? It’s time to get ready to go back to school.

Before heading off to campus, there are a few preparations you’ve probably already started. But didn’t you forget something? Perhaps an insurance policy?

Make the time to contact your insurance professional and find out how much coverage your homeowners or renters insurance policy will provide for your child’s personal possessions if they’ll be living in a dorm. If they will be living off-campus, renter’s insurance is essential.

Create a “college inventory,” a master list of items your student plans to bring to school, along with their estimated value. Having this list will help greatly in the event you will need to fill a claim following theft, fire, or other disaster.

Typically, homeowners and renter’s insurance include protection for a student’s personal belongings (TV, clothing, furniture) away from home, if they live on-campus. However, some policies might limit the amount of coverage to 10 percent of the total amount of the policy’s overall coverage for personal possessions. Most likely, the terms of the coverage would be the same as for the primary home or renter’s policy, ensuring protection from perils like theft or fire. Remember: like a traditional home insurance policy, mishaps like spilling tea on a computer are not included.

Some items, such as jewelry, expensive musical instruments, and sports equipment may be subject to dollar limits under standard homeowners and renters policies. For these the student may need additional coverage, in which case you should acquire a floater or endorsement. The stand-alone policies provide higher amounts and broader coverage. Have you heard of “mysterious disappearance”? it means that even if the item is lost, you may be able to file a claim.

If your student has been driving the family car and will attend a college that’s at least 100 miles from home, talk to your insurance company. You may be eligible for a discount on your auto insurance. And as incentive for good grades, many auto insurers also give a discount to students who maintain strong standing at school—usually at least a 3.0 grade point average. Be sure to notify the insurance company if the vehicle will be kept in another location.

You might also want to look into tuition insurance. This coverage refunds a portion of semester tuition and on-campus room and board when a student withdraws at any time during a semester due to a covered medical reason.