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College students may be covered by parents' home insurance

August 21, 2015

With the summer coming to an end, many college students are looking forward to heading back to campus. At the same time, many of those students' parents are looking forward to seeing them off, but also wondering about what the school year will hold.

On average, there are over 11,000 incidents of theft in residence halls across the country annually. This is alarming, because students come to school prepared for everything important—they bring a laptop for classes and game systems for down time, or even expensive sports or band equipment. According to Frontline Insurance via Bankrate.com, the average student arrives on campus with approximately $10,000 worth of belongings in tow—clothes, books, electronics and everything else they deem important. Living in such tight quarters as a dorm room in a residence hall, it's no wonder these young adults are at risk for theft.

"The average student arrives on campus with $10,000 worth of belongings.”

As the school year comes closer, parents might wonder if their home insurance policy extends to the dorm room.

Depending on what a student's living situation is, parents might be able to cover some of these belongings with their home insurance policy.

Living on campus

Students living on campus are likely covered by their parent's home insurance policy as long as they still list their parent's home as their primary address. Parents should double check with their insurance provider to make sure. If an incident should happen, it's good to know what is covered and what isn't. Before students pack their bags, they should take photos of their most expensive items and make a list of the items along with their serial numbers. If a theft does happen, this will help with the insurance process.

Band and sporting equipment might work a little differently. With most policies, students are covered up to 10 percent of their parent's total insurance, but some policies will only insure these more expensive items up to a certain dollar amount. A floater or endorsement could be something to consider for very valuable items like this. These types of insurance policies will have broader coverage and could even cover the items if they are lost—not just stolen.

Living off campus

Students living in an off-campus apartment generally aren't covered under their parent's home insurance. Parents should ask their insurance provider to find out for sure. It isn't likely that they will, though, and should consider purchasing their own renter's insurance.

Studying abroad

Studying abroad is a great opportunity for college students to take advantage of. However, if a student's belongings are left in on-campus housing for 45 or more days, insurance may no longer apply. It would be a good idea for parents to make arrangements to pick up some of the most expensive or valuable items before their child leaves the country for an extended period of time.

There are many exceptions to these rules and not every policy is the same. The only way to find out if a student's belongings are covered by their parent's home insurance is to talk to the insurance provider. With that information, parents and students will be able to make informed decisions about how to insure the student's most valuable possessions.