Covering Your Kids While They Are Away at College

With summer coming to an end, it’s back-to-school season and students around the nation are heading to college for the first time. Along with leaving home comes a significant amount of anxiety for parents. You can help offset some of that uneasiness by making sure your kids are properly insured while they are living in a dormitory or off-campus apartment. It’s not always consistent when your kids will be covered by your home insurance and when they will need to have their own policy, so taking the time now to review your home insurance policy will help you make the right decision when sending your kids off to school.

According to a recent story by USA Today, personal property insurance is often overlooked by parents in the commotion of kids leaving for college. However, it’s an important detail to remember, given that kids today are going to university with more electronic gadgetry than any prior generation of students. All of this equipment is expensive to replace and can also cause a disruption for your children in their studies if they are the victims of theft.

Many home insurance policies will cover your kids while they are at college if they are normally still residents of your household when not at school. In other words, if your children still live in your house when school’s not in session, they’re usually covered when school is in session as well. Review your home insurance policy carefully, particularly the sections that describe “who is an insured” and what is considered to be an “insured location.” These two portions of the policy will define whether or not your children, while temporarily residing offsite, are considered insureds and whether their property is insured. You also need to review the coverage for what most home insurance policies identify as “electronic data processing equipment,” which are essentially computers. The coverage can be confusing because there is frequently an exclusion for such equipment when it’s not at home, but the exclusion sometimes doesn’t apply when it belongs to students at college.

If your child is living off campus in a rental, you need to also review your policy in light of that arrangement, as it may be treated differently than a dormitory. If so, contact your insurance company and explain the situation to them. You may need to purchase a separate renter’s policy for your child, or it may be possible to simply add the location to your existing policy.

The issue of campus security is not a new one. The U.S. Department of Education has extensive statistical information on campus safety and theft is one of the key areas they track. By visiting their website, you can request data for an individual campus or multiple schools at one time. Doing your homework before your child heads to school will help them have a successful college experience with less worry on your part no matter where they go to school – Columbus, Fort Worth, Sacramento, Charlotte, Kansas City – it shouldn’t make a difference!

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