Remind your clients to protect their collegians’ contents
No doubt you have clients that will be spending Labor Day on the road, taking college students back to campus. If you haven’t already done so, now’s the perfect time to remind those empty-nesting parents that their college kids may need additional contents coverage.
While carriers’ policies may vary a little state-by-state, most homeowners’ contracts do include some contents coverage for college students – but it’s limited. And if they’re living off campus, the chances are even greater that specific losses may not be fully covered.
- Typically the student’s contents are covered if the student is under age 24, parents still claim them on federal tax forms, and their permanent residence remains the same as the covering homeowners’ (in other words, they’ll be home on holidays and in the summer). Some carriers also state that the student must be full-time status.
- However the coverage limits can be quite low, usually between $1,000 – $3,000. Other carriers offer 10 percent of the homeowners’ current contents coverage.
- Limited coverage may apply to high-priced items such as computers, tablets and bicycles.
- Students living in off campus apartments may nor may not be covered, and most likely need an HO4 policy to cover not only contents but also liability.
Most college students head back to school with nearly $10,000 in belongings including higher-priced computers, tablets and other electronics (TVs, stereos, game systems). Other big-ticket items include sports equipment and textbooks; even costs for clothing and décor can add up quickly.
Every year there’s an average of 40,000 thefts on campus. The most commonly snatched items include cash, credit and debit cards, jewelry, books and bikes. Electronics such as laptops, tablets, smart phones also rate high on the list of thieves, because these items can be resold.
Provide these tips to your homeowners to share with their collegians, to keep their belongings safe:
- Homeowners should notify their agent if their child is moving off campus so you can help them obtain the coverage they need.
- Students should use their smart phones to create a photographic inventory of their possessions.
- Create a list of serial numbers for electronics; scan receipts for textbooks and other items purchased on campus; email all to parents for safe offsite recordkeeping.
- Students should lock their doors every time they leave their dorm rooms, and never leave valuables in plain sight.
- If students live in off-campus apartments and parents secure tenants coverage, ensure students know what their liability coverage does and does not cover. Throwing a big party in their apartment may not seem like such a great idea after all, especially when they understand the risk involved.
While parents can’t keep college kids under their wing forever – they CAN help their students stay safer at school.