Back to top

Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Getting Your Kids Ready for College: What Insurance Coverage Do They Need?

women packing for college .

As the parents of a college student, you probably have a lot on your mind. How will your child adjust to living away from home? Will they use that expensive meal plan or end up living off late night pizza? Will they figure out how to do laundry, or should you prepare for a giant suitcase of dirty clothes at Thanksgiving? What about the safety of your child’s belongings? Here are some helpful things you should know about your college student's personal property coverage needs:

What happens if my child’s property is stolen from their dorm room?

Unfortunately, theft is a very real risk on many college campuses. Even with heightened dorm security, there’s always a chance that a roommate or another student in the dorm could steal property. Many homeowner’s insurance policies will cover some student’s personal property in a dorm; however, coverage amounts are typically restricted to 10 percent of your coverage level. For example, if your policy offers $250,000 worth of personal property coverage, then your policy may only cover up to $25,000 worth of your child’s property in their dorm. Before they head off to college, conduct a full inventory of the items your son or daughter will be taking with them, including the model and serial numbers of their belongings in case they get stolen. While some items like bedding or toiletries are relatively inexpensive, a brand new video game system, an expensive guitar, a new speaker system, or other electronics could be an invitation for theft. Consumer Reports have some tips to help prevent theft; however, if your child doesn’t want to leave these electronics at home, talk to your insurance agent about whether you should purchase additional coverage for these products.

My child is living off-campus this year. Will they need a separate renters insurance policy?

If your child is living off-campus, you should check to see if you need to obtain a separate renters insurance policy to cover their personal items. Use an inventory checklist to make a list of all your child’s belongings and run this list by your agent. Also, renters insurance may not only cover your child’s belongings, but also provide them with liability insurance.

If my child’s computer is stolen, will it be replaced at full-value?

Understanding the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost coverage is key. Actual cash value coverage will reimburse you the dollar amount you would expect to get if you sold the computer today, taking into account wear and tear, age and use. For a brand new computer, the reimbursement amount would be closer to full value than if your child’s computer is a year or two old, due to depreciation.

Reimbursement cost coverage will reimburse you the costs to buy a comparable new laptop. While replacement cost coverage may cost a bit more, this coverage may be worth it if you’re worried about your child’s computer being stolen on campus.

Talk to your insurance agent to learn about the specifics of your homeowners policy and how it may cover your son or daughter’s personal property while they are at school.

Family in the kitchen.

Cover home, auto & more.

Encompass Insurance offers protection for the things that matter most.

Find an agent

The general information contained in The Encompass Blog is provided as a courtesy, and is for informational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this website are subject to periodic change without notice. Information provided on The Encompass Blog is not intended to replace official sources. Although attempts will be made to ensure that the information is accurate and timely, the information is presented "as is" and without warranties. Information contained on The Encompass Blog should not be mistaken for professional advice. Information contained herein should not be considered error-free and should not be used as the exclusive basis for decision-making. Use of website information is strictly voluntary and at the user's sole risk. We encourage you to obtain personal advice from qualified professionals when making decision regarding your specific situation.

Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers. The Encompass Blog does not monitor all linked resources and cannot guarantee their accuracy. Statements, views and opinions included in an independent provider's material are strictly those of the author(s). These views may not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of The Encompass Blog, the Encompass family of companies or its agents, officers or employees.

ECC Monitor: OK