As millions of students pack bags, crates and trunks with their most valuable possessions and head to colleges and universities this fall, many probably aren't thinking about what might happen after they arrive. With a full load of classes, exams and social events on their minds, students may not give much thought about protecting their clothes, electronic gadgets and other valuables in their college homes away from home - but they should.
Whether a student lives in a fraternity or sorority house, a college dorm or somewhere off campus, protecting their possessions against disasters, damage and theft should be an assignment that's completed before showing up at school. Students might think they're covered under their parents' policies, but it's important to clear up any uncertainty and get some definite answers on proper insurance coverage. "What you learn in class is very important, but it's equally important for students to fully understand how their valuables are protected before bringing them to campus," said Tim Cox, Territorial Product Manager for Allstate's Midwest Region.
Allstate has answers to some popular questions among college students and their parents:
Are college students covered under their parents' homeowners policies?
Students who live in campus dormitories, fraternity or sorority housing, are covered under their parents' Allstate homeowners, renters, condominium or manufactured home policies. This coverage also applies for students who attend out-of-state colleges. There is no extra cost for this extended personal property protection for college students and contents are covered 100 percent up to the inside limits and amounts stated in the policy. However, highly valuable items may require their own protection in order to recover their full value.
What are scheduled personal property endorsements?
If students want to have any highly valued items with them at school, such as jewelry, electronic devices, musical instruments, etc., it's a good idea to make sure they have proper insurance coverage in order to recoup the full value of these types of items if they disappear or get damaged. A scheduled personal property endorsement allows you to protect specific, high value items without having them affect any policy limits. For example, coverage for electronic data processing equipment may be limited to $2,500, depending on the policy. But a laptop computer loaded with the latest software and wireless Internet gadgets may be worth more. However, with a scheduled personal property endorsement, you may increase the amount of coverage on a particular item, without impacting coverage limits that may apply to other items.
What if I rent an apartment?
For students who choose to pay rent for off campus, non-university related housing, it's recommended that they secure their own renters insurance policies for proper coverage of their valuables. Coverage of personal property, for those not living in student dormitories, fraternity or sorority housing, may be limited to only 10 percent when personal property is located at a residence other than the one stated in an Allstate homeowners policy. "If you're living in an apartment off campus while at school, it's really important to have your own renters insurance to provide the same type of full protection other renters and home owners enjoy," Cox said.
Would my fraternity or sorority house have its own insurance?
A fraternity or sorority may have its own commercial insurance policy to protect against structural damage caused by severe weather, fire, etc. Depending on the policy, it might not apply to the personal contents of students living in the house.
Your home at school should enjoy the same protection as your permanent home. Your path towards earning a college degree should be free and clear of pitfalls resulting from damage or theft of personal items that make your home away from home a special place. Having the proper level of coverage on your most prized possessions is a lesson that may pay off long after you've left the classroom.
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