Does Homeowners Insurance Cover College Students?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover College Students?

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Your homeowners insurance covers your child in most cases while they're away at college. The child must be younger than 24 and live on campus as a full-time student. If they don't fit the criteria, your child will have to purchase their own renters insurance.

You may also choose to purchase additional coverage even if your homeowners insurance extends to your child. They can buy renters insurance or dorm insurance, or you can expand the coverage limits on your existing homeowners policy.

How does homeowners insurance cover students?

Your homeowners insurance extends 10% of its coverage limits to college students who live away from the insured property. To qualify for this coverage, your student needs to live on campus as a full-time student and be younger than 24.

For instance, a policy with $250,000 of personal property protection covers your student at school for up to $25,000 of personal property protection.

If you're worried that 10% of your coverage isn't enough for your child's belongings, you can increase your policy's limit. You could also attach endorsements to certain items or groups of items. This is relevant if your student plans to take a lot of jewelry or expensive electronic equipment to school, since insurers often place coverage caps on these items.

Homeowners insurance or renters insurance for college students?

Although your homeowners insurance may cover some of your child's belongings, the higher deductibles and potential premium increases make it less suitable than renters insurance.

For that reason, it might be best for your child to purchase their own renters insurance policy as they head to college.

Take a look at one example. Let's say your homeowners insurance policy comes with a $1,000 deductible, and your child's $350 tablet is stolen. They wouldn't be able to file a claim for the tablet because the price falls under the deductible amount.

Even if you can file a homeowners insurance claim, the benefits may be outweighed by the fact that doing so will probably increase your premiums. The average price of homeowners insurance is already $1,089 per year, but it's even more expensive in disaster-prone states like Texas and Florida. If filing a claim for a broken laptop or bicycle causes your homeowners premiums to increase in the future, it might not be worth it.

Should I use my homeowners insurance to cover my college student?
Benefits
  • No additional cost of purchasing another policy
  • Extends 10% of your property's coverage as long as the student lives on campus
  • The policy remains useful during summer months
Considerations
  • You can't make claims on items that cost less than your deductible
  • Any claims you make will likely cause your premiums to increase
  • Your own insurance score could be negatively affected if your student has to make a claim

Renters insurance policies, on the other hand, are significantly cheaper than homeowners insurance, at an average of $187 per year. Renters policies also carry the same additional coverages as your existing homeowners insurance. If your student purchases a policy, they would get the full amount of personal property and liability protection.

But keep in mind: Even if your renters deductible is lower than the one on your homeowners policy, it may still be difficult to file a claim on smaller purchases.

For example, if a student's renters insurance carries a $500 deductible, they still won't be able to replace a stolen $350 tablet.

For this reason, it could be a good idea to purchase dorm insurance instead of using your home insurance for your student.

Should college students purchase dorm insurance?

Dorm insurance might be a better option than a renters insurance policy if your child doesn't have very much property, or if you can find a low-cost policy that includes liability coverage.

Dorm insurance often includes personal property protection, but you might be able to buy liability insurance as well. These policies come with small adjustable deductibles that are usually below $100. The low deductibles make these policies more attractive than renters insurance policies, as long as you don't need the extra coverage.

Policies from providers like GradGuard are the best option for dorm insurance because they typically combine cheap prices with very low deductibles, along with options for personal liability coverage.

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