COLUMBUS — As college students get ready to pack their cars full of clothes, books and electronics to head back to campus, AAA recommends these students and their families also take time to ensure these belongings are protected by the right insurance.
“Full time college students living away from home should know they might have limited coverage under their parents’ insurance policies,” said Ed Conley, director, Insurance Sales and Financial Services for AAA Ohio Auto Club. “Before leaving for college, students should check to see what exactly is covered.”
Insuring Campus Living:
The risks of thieves, fires and other mishaps are very real on college campuses. The following tips can help protect students’ belongings and their parents’ wallets.
Dorms: Students living in dorms typically have most personal possessions covered through their parents’ homeowners insurance or renters insurance policies. However, expensive items, such as computers and other electronics, might be subject to coverage limits. Families should check with their insurance agent to determine if additional or separate coverage is needed.
Off Campus Housing: Those living off campus will no longer be covered by their parents’ policies. These students need a separate renters insurance policy to cover their belongings, and protect them from liability if someone is injured on the property.
Vehicles: Parents’ auto insurance policies may or may not cover a college student’s car. At minimum, you’ll need to update the garaging location. Discounts may be available for students with good grades or those attending school more than 100 miles away and leaving their car at home.
Burglaries make up about 50 percent of all on-campus crimes, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Creating an inventory of all belongings with estimated values can help a student determine how much coverage to buy and will serve as an easy-to-use record in the event of a loss.
It’s also important for students to proactively safeguard their belongings from theft:
- Lock doors: Even if it’s just a trip down the hall.
- Leave expensive jewelry at home: It’s not worth risking losing those items to a thief.
- Engrave electronic items: Engraving laptops, tablets, televisions and other electronic equipment with an easy-to-remember identifying number can help police track them if they’re stolen.
- Don’t leave belongings unattended: This is especially true for laptops, phones and tablets.
- Remain alert: If out after dark, walk in well-lit areas with other people around. When possible, walk with a friend.
Kimberly Schwind is a senior public relations manager at AAA Ohio Auto Club.