college

Coverage for Your College Student's Stuff

Your homeowners insurance should cover your child's possessions while he or she is at school, but there may be limits. Here are the rules.

My son is going off to college this fall. Will my homeowners insurance cover his stuff? He’s living in a dorm this year but will probably move to an off-campus apartment for his sophomore year.

Your homeowners insurance should cover your student’s possessions if he lives in a dorm, and it may provide coverage if he lives in an off-campus apartment, as long as his primary residence is still your home. The rules vary a lot by insurer; most require the child to be a full-time student and under age 24.

Some insurers cap the coverage at college at 10% of the possessions coverage in your homeowners policy. So if you have a $200,000 policy on your home with 50% of that amount, or $100,000, for contents, your kid’s coverage at college may be limited to $10,000. The liability limits are usually the same as they are for your home.

If you’d like higher coverage limits (or if your insurer doesn’t cover your son’s apartment after he moves off campus), consider a renters insurance policy. Those policies generally cost just $150 to $200 per year, says Melanie Loiselle-Mongeon, an independent insurance agent in Pawtucket, R.I. If your kid has roommates (who aren’t related to each other), each person needs to get a separate renters policy. Many college kids don’t realize how many valuable possessions they have -- say, a computer, a printer, a smart phone, an iPad and a TV, in addition to furniture and clothes. The cost of replacing them can quickly add up, so being sure you have coverage is a smart idea.

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