Getting Ready To Go Away to School?
Does your homeowners policy cover your son or daughter while away at college?
According to the ISO Homeowners Policy (special form), a student is considered an “insured” if:
- under the age of 24; and
- your relative; and
- enrolled in school full time, as defined by the school; and
- who was a resident of your household before leaving to attend school.
An extension for older children pursuing higher education can often be obtained from the insurance company upon request.
How will your student’s belongings be covered?
Since children away at school are an “insured” on their parent’s homeowners policy, they will be covered for property they bring to school, subject to certain policy limitations.
What are the property coverage limitations?
The policy states the limit of liability for personal property usually located at an “insured’s” residence, other than the “residence premises,” is 10 percent of the limit of liability for Coverage C, or $1,000, whichever is greater.
The limit of liability for Coverage C is the limit you purchased for all of your personal property, which is shown on your policy. If this limit is shown as $70,000, then the limit for your children’s property at school would be $7,000.
Theft of property located at school is covered as long as your child has been there at any time during a specified number of days before the loss (typically, 60 or 90 days).
In addition, all of the normal personal property policy limitations would apply to the collegiate away at school. These limitations are called special limits of liability and limit coverage to specified amounts for such property as money, jewelry and tickets (e.g., airline tickets). Some insurance companies have a special limit for computers. A limit also applies to the unauthorized use of credit cards and fund-transfer cards.
What about liability coverage?
Children away at school are covered for bodily injury or property damage they cause to others when held legally liable for their actions. Included is the liability children have for a hazardous condition in the dorm room, since this location is automatically covered as a premises not owned by an “insured;” and where an “insured” is temporarily residing.
However, your children are not covered for liability they incur from unlawfully furnishing alcohol to others who become involved in an auto accident.
Is there any other coverage you should obtain?
Because of the special limitations and restrictions for certain kinds of property, you may want to consider purchasing specific coverage for scheduled items.
Besides establishing accurate values for these items and insuring their full value without limitation, this will broaden the events that are covered and eliminate deductibles.
Considering the widespread use of social media, your children should be covered for liability they incur due to oral or written material that libels someone or violates their right of privacy. This kind of liability is included in “personal injury” coverage, generally available as an endorsement to the homeowners policy.
Is there anything else you should do?
Have your collegiate take a careful inventory of everything they are taking with them, including make, model and serial numbers, where applicable.
It also would be a good idea to invest in locks where appropriate (laptops) to further protect their belongings.
Don’t forget to let the insurance company know if your child is away at school more than 100 miles from home without custody of an insured vehicle, because you may be eligible for an auto insurance discount.