As your child leaves for college, one option for a little more peace of mind is insurance to protect your child’s possessions.

For about $150 per year, this insurance will protect against theft or damage caused by fire, lightning, smoke, vandalism, electrical surges, windstorms, hail, water damage from utilities or appliances, and more. The same insurance also provides liability protection for students living off-campus.

Here are some common questions and their answers:

Q: What kind of insurance does my student need?

A: Depending on your current insurance coverage, your student may need Renters Insurance. An added benefit of purchasing a Renters Insurance Policy in the student’s name is that any claims filed will not be on the record of your policy. Some insurers allow students rooming together off campus to purchase a joint Renters Insurance Policy.

Q: Does my Homeowners Policy cover my child?

A: Homeowners Insurance Policies typically cover the belongings of students younger than 26 who live away from home and are enrolled in classes. If you rely on a coverage extension from your policy, your student would have limited coverage on their possessions, as most policies limit the total amount of insurance coverage for personal possessions. Some possessions, like jewelry and electronics, may have coverage limits, and if your child lives off campus, the possibility exists that their personal property will not be covered by your Homeowners Policy.

Q: How much coverage would I need?

A: Ask your child to create an inventory of the items they have at college. An internet search will provide templates that your child can fill out and send home, and there are several free apps available as well. Back up this written list with photos and videos of valuables.

Q: How else can I protect my child’s belongings?

A: Aside from purchasing insurance, here are some additional tips for protecting your student:

  • Engrave their electronics and other possessions with their name and phone number, or mark items with a permanent marker. This is a simple action that can help police validate stolen items.
  • Keep digital copies of store receipts for high-ticket items.
  • Insist your student lock the door to the dorm room every time they leave. They should also store valuables out of sight as a habit.
  • If they have something really valuable that they can do without, it’s a good idea to leave it at home.
  • Tell them not to leave their backpack, laptop, or other possessions unattended.

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