Heading off to college and moving away from home is an exciting time. Sometimes though, this is the first real experience students have with independence, and it comes with increased responsibility. Parents are no longer around 24-7 to remind or lecture about the time spent on the phone or gaming system. They are not available as an alarm to wake up for that early morning class or ask when the next assignment is due. They aren’t there to help problem solve either.
Students away from home may get caught up in the excitement of college life, new friends or a busy social schedule and forget that not everyone they encounter is honest or responsible. Crime exists everywhere- even on a college campus. Students bring many expensive belongings to their new home away from home – electronics such as laptops, smart phones, tablets, televisions and gaming systems are all items commonly found in a typical dorm room or student apartment. Students may have expensive watches or jewelry brought from home. They may also bring with them a vehicle or an expensive bicycle in order to navigate their new surroundings.
How do you protect these belongings while away at school? First, check with your local insurance agent to see if your valuables are covered under a homeowner’s policy. Some policies will extend coverage to college students living away from home. Another option is to purchase renters insurance. Renters insurance is designed to protect property owners in the event that belongings are stolen or even damaged in a fire. It will also provide liability coverage in the event someone is injured while visiting your apartment or dorm room.
Here are some suggestions to make sure your belongings are insured correctly:
•Check with your family’s insurance agent regarding your current insurance. Students who live on campus may have coverage available through their parents’ homeowners’ policy. Students living off campus may not be covered by their parents’ policy and should definitely look into purchasing renters insurance.
•Create an inventory of your belongings. Record the value of each item to determine the right amount of coverage needed in the event of a loss. It takes some time, but it’s worth it.
•Always lock dorm or apartment doors. Talk to your roommates and communicate the importance of keeping your belongings safe and secure. If your bedroom door has its own lock, use it. It is very easy to want to be neighborly and leave a door propped open or unlocked, but it is not wise or safe to do so.
•Conceal your valuables. Don’t leave any electronics or other valuables out in plain sight where they might easily be picked up and carried off. And remember… when taking pictures or video to post on social media, don’t make the mistake of advertising what you own or when you plan to be away from home.
•Secure your valuable electronics, such as laptops or TVs, to stable fixtures with locking mounts so they can’t be easily removed. Make sure to protect personal electronics with passwords to guard against access and discourage theft.
•Use a bicycle lock when you’re on campus. Steel or titanium locks are difficult to cut which will discourage theft. Reinforcing these locks with cable locks, threaded through the wheels, can provide an extra layer of security.
•Install or activate an alarm if you take a vehicle to campus. Insurance companies often offer discounts for vehicles equipped with anti-theft devices. Your parents will also be happy if you qualify for a Good Student discount, offered by many companies.
If you have any questions, your agent should always be happy to visit with you!